One-Quarter of Smartphone Owners Spurn Cases

If you own a case to protect your fancy-pants smartphone, you're in the majority, but if you don't, you're not as alone as you might think. According to a recent study from the NPD Group, 25 percent of smartphone owners see no need for cases — especially those who own Android phones.

The NPD Group, which gathers analytics on retail behavior, surveyed more than 3,200 smartphone owners over age 13. It found that of the quarter of smartphone owners who go caseless, 70 percent owned an Android phone while only 20 percent owned an iPhone.

Reasons for letting their phones go bare differ dramatically between Android and iPhone users. In general, Android users believed that they would not drop or damage their phones, while iPhone owners believed a case would make their devices too bulky.

MORE: Top 10 Cases for Apple iPhone 5s and 5c

Neither Android nor iPhone aficionados believed, in general, that case prices were prohibitive. iPhone users liked the look of their phones without cases to protect them, while Android users were a little more ambivalent about caseless aesthetics.

Of the remaining 75 percent of smartphone owners who did invest in cases, iPhone users were far ahead of their Android counterparts. While 87 percent of iPhone users owned a case, only 66 percent of Android users did. As for other devices, like Windows Phone and BlackBerry models, only 58 percent bothered with a case.

There are a number of reasons why iPhone users are so much more attached to their cases, but one of the simplest explanations is that iPhones are standardized, whereas Android phones are not.

It's easy to find a case that you like when every manufacturer can target the same device. When there are hundreds of phones available in slightly different styles and conformations, owners are often lucky to find cases that fit at all, much less ones personalized to their tastes.

Android users may also simply be less attached to their phones. While 27 percent of iPhone users want cases that provide maximum protection at all costs, only 13 percent of Android owners feel the same way. iPhone users are also more likely to buy multiple cases, and use cases as fashion statements.

Although the NPD survey did not touch on screens, this could also be a factor in why Android users are so much less protective of their devices. iPhones use glass screens, which are prone to fractures, whereas Android phones tend to use more durable materials, such as Gorilla Glass. A good drop may damage the screen, but won't usually total the phone's display.

Whichever phone you use, investing in a case is not a bad idea. It takes only one good drop to wreck both the look and functionality of your expensive device, and if you're willing to trawl big sites like Amazon and eBay, you can find a case for just about any model.

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Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.