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iOS Dominates Mobile Shopping

The mobile commerce scene has been buzzing since the most recent Black Friday. There were several stories that arose out of the data during the notorious shopping season. For example, the iPad was responsible for 88% of the tablet traffic over the weekend (despite dropping to 50.4% market share in Q3

The biggest story by far was a bit more “macro” in perspective. 77% of mobile traffic came from iOS devices despite Android holding 52.5% of smartphone subscribers compared to iOS’ 34.3%

Here’s a graph from Asymco displaying the device usage breakdown

smartphone users

While some of the difference can be excused away by the iPads dominant market share there is still an undeniable discrepancy. It’s lead some to ask “why are Android users less engaged than iOS users.”

It’s a great question too. Unfortunately there is no definitive answer yet. GigaOm cited several possibilities as to why this could be. The two that made the most sense in my perspective were as follows

#1 Some Android users are just graduating up from a feature phone and really don’t understand all they can do with their device. Considering the declining number of feature phone options, it’s possible that people are graduating to cheap Android devices, but just still talk and text on them, something Daring Fireball’s John Gruber mentioned before.

This makes sense because not all Android users are using phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3. Some of these android phones are more akin to smartphone tech from a couple of years ago. On the flip side, iOS users all have the same level of functionality.

#2 Jason Grisby of Cloud Four recently wrote that the gap doesn’t exist when looking at web traffic over cellular. It’s only when you examine iOS and Android traffic over Wi-Fi that a usage gap emerges. He believes that Android users might not be aware of the availability of Wi-Fi networks through their device or are in lower income brackets and have less access to Wi-Fi networks.

Again, a perfect example of difference in demographics. iOS devices cost the same no matter where you look. Some Android phones can be purchased for as little as $50 with a contract.


mobile devices on black friday

Right now iOS remains the king of mobile commerce. But will that last? Only time will tell obviously. But the trends appear to suggest it may not.

Have you used your mobile device to do some shopping this season? Which platform was it? Do you have any theories on why iOS remains the mobile commerce king? Let us know in the comments below.

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