We have heard numerous times that Android users don’t invest in apps like iOS users, and now a new study is showing that Android users aren’t spending as much time purchasing goods through mobile. According to IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark, U.S. Black Friday online sales grew by 17.4% over last year, and mobile online sales made up 24% of the traffic. Of this traffic, 13% came from phones and 11% from tablets. In looking at the phone traffic, iOS devices represented about 67% of the traffic, while Android made up roughly 33%. It gets worse with tablets as the iPad represented about 88% of the traffic. What’s even more interesting is that iOS is actually growing at a pretty good rate. Back in 2010, Android represented 1.43% of the Black Friday shopping traffic, and now it’s 4.92%. In looking at iOS, it was 3.85% back in 2010, but now it’s 18.46%.
How is this possible when you consider the growth that Android has enjoyed over the last 2 years? This is what Horace Dediu is calling the “Android Engagement Paradox”. Other than it sounding like the name of a “Big Bang Theory” episode, it appears to be seriously real. Take a look at the images below. The left image shows the growth of Android phones as opposed to the iPhone. The right one shows the percentage of traffic per device.
Two years ago, iPhone users were two times more engaged than Android users and now it’s three times more. Not only that, the percentage of traffic per Android device has dropped. For tablets the results are similar and expected since the iPad has dominated that market for so long.
This is only one area of engagement, but as I mentioned, developers seem to agree when it comes to app purchases as well. So as far a pure device sales, there’s no argument that Android wins, but are Apple devices likely to generate more dollars? Google has recognized Android’s short-comings in this area and made some changes like re-introducing the Android Market as the Play Store and recently they added Google Wallet support for mobile. The real question is why is this paradox happening? Maybe Android’s growth has come from consumers who were unlikely to buy a smartphone, but chose to because of the price was right, and as a result, they aren’t into using it to the fullest extent. Anyone else have any ideas?