by Elliott Clarkson, Head of App Development

IBM and Adobe tracked iOS vs Android on Black Friday…and iOS wins hands down.

To put this all in context, in between staring at Twitter I spend my day at work waxing lyrical to people about why iOS apps can be great e-commerce tools and why they should let us design and build one for them. And when I talk to people about building them an e-commerce iOS app the subject of also building an Android app always – ALWAYS – comes up. Usually, it goes a bit like this:
Them: “So, do you build Android apps too?”


Even when I’m talking to someone on the phone the audible sigh and muttered “ohforfu…” I let out usually gives my exasperation away.

To coin a phrase: Android, bloody Android.

Before I get an onslaught of abuse from Android fans, let me say this. I know there’s millions of Android Devices out there and I know Android has a bigger chunk than Apple – bigger by about 10%, actually – of the smartphone market. I know Android needs taking notice of. I know, I know, I know…trust me; I know.

Thing is, I don’t care.

When you’re talking about iOS and Android for e-commerce the conversation shouldn’t be about how many of what device people use. It should be how many people use the device for something tangible. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, said it best in a recent interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

“Does a unit of market share matter if it’s not being used?”

See, when I’m asking someone to trust me that any money they spend on an e-commerce app will be worth it I can’t, in good confidence, say that an Android app will be. But I can say an iPad app will be worth it because there are lots of independently sourced and collated statistics and case studies that say so.

The latest is a string of reports taken from the Black Friday sales in the USA, notably studies by IBM and Adobe.

I won’t suggest you read IBM’s study in its entirety because it’s pretty detailed, but for the case in hand – iOS vs. Android – here’s a nice, succinct summary:

IBM tracked “millions of transactions and terabytes of data from approximately 800 U.S. retail websites” on Thanksgiving and Black Friday and, on average, iOS users spent $127.92 per order on Black Friday compared to $105.20 per order for Android users. Pretty compelling? Check this out. In total, iOS traffic accounted for 28.2% of all online traffic, compared to 11.4% for Android and iOS sales accounted for 18.1% of all online sales, compared to 3.5% for Android.

18.1% for iOS compared to just 3.5% for Android…that’s huge. There might be a 10% gap in the smartphone market, but there’s an absolute chasm in what matters to e-commerce.

If that study isn’t compelling enough, here’s a summary of what Adobe found:

Adobe tracked 400 million visits to more than 2,000 US retailers websites on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Based on that, iOS devices were accountable for more than $543 million dollars in online sales (of which, notably, 77% was accountable to iPad) whilst Android devices were responsible for $148 million in online sales. Don’t get me wrong Android fans, $148m is nothing to sniff at…but it’s £395m less than iOS did.

One of the other things I always suggest when talking about e-commerce apps is to focus on building a really great iPad app. Again, Adobe proved me right. iPad drove the vast majority of online sales with $417 million while iPhones were responsible for $126 million. In comparison, Android phones generated $106 million whilst Android tablets pulled in a measly $42 million in online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

So, iOS was responsible for 70% more sales than Android and, even more compellingly, iPad was responsible for 90% more sales than Android tablets.

To wrap things up, I’ll continue to feel confident when I sigh at the thought of building someone an Android based e-commerce app. It’s not worth the money. But for iPad? Absolutely. Do it. Don’t even think about it. Be one of the people reaping the rewards of giving their customers a way to buy that they will and want to use.


If you’d like to find out more about the e-commerce apps that we build, just click here or watch the video:

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