Your Business Focus: iOS vs Android

Few different researches are showing us that the purchase and usage behavior of consumers on each mobile operating system is different.

If you didn't know until now, here are some facts:

  • iOS users buy more stuff, use more apps and browse more webpages.
  • Android users simply, don’t buy so much.
  • ​Android (famously) has far more users.

The early trends in mobile commerce (iOS and Android specifically) lead us to a simple conclusion: iOS is for selling product, while Android is better for advertising.
This means different things for different businesses.

Businesses and mobile developers must be aware of this fact, in order to allocate their resources to each platform. While this conclusion isn’t exhaustive, it mirrors the way Google manages Android, and Apple manages iOS.

Android: Place Ads And Get Reach

If online and mobile sales are a marginal part of your business, but you spend a lot on advertising, then you can’t ignore Android.

If your brand has no reasonable expectation that users will buy your product online, Android is an unprecedented advertising opportunity. This makes even more sense if you consider that Google has architected Android to maximize reach.

The OS is free, and any OEM can customize and release Android based devices. Why Android is free? Because if more people have internet access, they’ll search for more stuff, and Google, as the default search service, stands to benefit.

Google can gather more data and sell more ads against those searches. So, if Google’s primary goal with Android is to sell more ads, why shouldn’t yours be? That’s what it’s made for!


iOS Is Your Store: Users Come There To Buy

For ecommerce businesses, iOS is already a force. In 6 short years, categories as varied as hotels, apparel, alcohol, and family goods have transitioned nearly half their revenues to mobile. Most of these sales come from iPhone or iPad users.

Retailers like Tea Collection and are seeing massive growth in mobile web sales, while companies like HauteLook and Gilt are seeing massive growth in mobile app sales. Most of this growth is coming from iOS – I’ve yet to encounter a single e-commerce case where Android makes up more than 15% of mobile sales.

In contrast to Android which monetizes with ads, the iOS and iPhone/iPad ecosystem profits from from it’s users. Users buy devices, accessories, and apps. The thing is, that on the iOS App Store, you can’t even download a free app without verifying your credit card! 

iOS has been built with strong trust in mind. Apple users buy more digital goods, buy more offline goods, Apple has every user’s credit card. That's a huge advantage.

“33% of our traffic comes from iOS and 5% comes from Android.”
- Sarah Knup, Head of Marketing & Strategy, Tea Collection

Apple, with iOS, has assembled a demographic that likes to buy online, and buys in growing numbers. On the other side, Android has assembled three times as many activations as iOS. So what you do depends on your business.

If your business depends on consumer advertising coupled with offline sales, then you should weight your Android strategy towards getting more eyeballs and making your brand ubiquitous, whether that means an developing or sponsoring apps, mobile sites or landing pages, mobile ads, or anything else.

Of course, iOS – with ~500m devices activated, it can’t be ignored about advertising. This just means that if your goal is purely reach, Android gets you better results for the same amount of money.

If online sales are a large or fast growing part of your business then you’ll probably have to invest much more heavily in iOS. Your competitors already are, and they’re seeing real results.

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