Apple’s devices dominate mobile shopping this holiday

by Phil Hornshaw

There might be a whole lot more Android devices out there in the world – Google says it’s activating some 700,000 every day – but it’s Apple's iOS platform owners who use their devices the most for mobile shopping, by a huge margin.

According to a story from Apple Insider, users on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches account for 92 percent of the mobile shopping market. On average, iOS users also spend more than their Google Android-owning counterparts by about 19 percent. Average orders to retailers from iOS users come in at about $123, while Android users spend more around $101 on average per order.

The numbers come from a study released on Friday by market research firm RichRelevance. The study covered some 3.4 billion online shopping sessions that didn’t use desktop computers, taking place between April and December 2011. Not only did Apple’s devices account for the most shopping sessions and the most money spent, they amount of shopping done on the devices also increased in 2011. RichRelevance reports iOS mobile shopping grew from 88 in April to 92 percent in December.

We heard back around the U.S. shopping “holiday,” Black Friday, that mobile shopping was expected to set new records this year across all platforms. In the run up to “Cyber Monday,” the Monday following Thanksgiving that’s known for big sales among online retailers, mobile users surveyed by Wakefield Research reported being much more apt to use their smartphones and tablets to search for gifts and purchase them for the holidays. The survey reported that 70 percent of respondents said they already had purchased gifts using their devices, or they had planned to. RichRelevance’s bear out that survey, finding that Thanksgiving was the most busy time for mobile shopping. It saw a 40 percent increase in mobile sales during the Holiday, which accounted for 24 percent of all online sales during the same period.

Convenience and a growing comfort level among users with their mobile devices seemed to be behind the increase in willingness to use them for shopping, although some still reported having concerns about security with their devices.

RichRelevance’s study finds that mobile shopping has been increasing throughout 2011, with mobile sales account for 3.74 percent of total retail sales in December – leaping from 1.87 percent of total sales in April. Retailers also saw an increase in hits on their websites from mobile browsing: users on mobile devices accounted for 18 percent of retailer website traffic by December, increasing from 9 percent in April.

It was already apparent that mobile devices are affording their users a lot of easy ways to spend money conveniently, but the fact that Apple’s platform is so dominant in the sphere says a lot about the way iOS and Android are still racing hard in lots of different arenas. There might be a whole lot more Android users worldwide than there are iOS users, but Apple’s platform is still a leader in a lot of other ways. This attracts advertisers and app developers to the platform, even if it isn’t the world’s most popular.