People using ink supplies to print photos and other information from a smartphone may find it is easer to stick to their existing operating system (OS) when they upgrade their handset.

Global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel Dominic Sunnebo explained that, unlike in the past, buying a new device involves more that simply copying numbers over.

"They might synchronise their email account, they might have an instant messenger account and actually changing becomes increasingly difficult, because the barriers become greater and greater," he explained.

Many people may also have paid for apps that are not able to be transferred between different OS platforms, Mr Sunnebo continued.

The expert stated this is an area in which Apple has an advantage as its iOS system – which is available across its product line – can make it easy for people to sync up different devices.

Recent data from Kantar Worldpanel revealed three-quarters of people who purchased the new iPhone 4S handset in October were upgrading from an earlier smartphone from Apple.