That’s an astounding number. By comparison, the iPhone 4 had a 1.7% return rate in 2010. If true, it would mean that the Android platform is much smaller than we previously thought.
The reason would simply be that people don’t like the Android phones they buy after they realise they’re not like their friends’ iPhones.
This all seems hard to believe from one report from one source. Android and iPhones are pretty similar in terms of functionality these days. Arguably some Android phones now have superior hardware to the year-plus old iPhone 4. Anecdotally, we don’t know anyone who returned their Android phones or are significantly dissatisfied with them. Most of the “normals” we know who have an Android phones traded up from a “dumbphone” and so are very happy with the smartphone features like full web browsing and apps instead of griping about how supposedly less elegant they are than iPhones.
Still, if the figure is true — or even smaller, like 20% — that’s a potential game changer. It would mean Android is much, much smaller than we thought.