iOS vs Android Conversion Rates and Revenue per Session Converging

moovwebMoovweb has an informative article on how iOS vs Android conversion rates and revenue per session are converging. iOS used to convert at significantly higher rates and have a higher average spend but the differences are now starting to be much less significant…

“The difference in e-commerce conversion rates between Android and iOS decreased by 75% year-over-year in Q1. The Android-iOS conversion rate gap is now a mere 5%.”

iosvsandroidconversionratesThe difference in revenue per session is now only 9%, down from 15% a year ago.

Mobile OS Switchers

cirpThere’s some interesting new research by CIRP (pdf) that shows people are more likely to switch from iOS to Android (20% of users) than Android to iOS (16%). The net flow is in a different direction than the media (or Apple?) had us expect and the actual percentages are higher than I had expected. The CIRP report says that changes in OS happen more often when users change carriers. It seems people are not so loyal about their mobile OS after all.

cirployaltysmall

Device upgraders and OS switchers bring extra challenges for developers. For some apps, you might want to consider how users might migrate data to their new devices. This might go beyond normal OS app backup schemes if you also wish to also support OS switchers. You might also like to think about in-app purchased items but in most cases if the user changes OS they won’t expect to keep purchased. Exceptions are usually subscriptions, like Spotify or Evernote, where the user will expect to continue with their subscription.

Latest Android Installed Base

opensignalOpenSignal have a new version of their study into Android Fragmentation. It’s the multi-coloured graphic, that I won’t be reproducing here, you often see when some blogger starts talking about fragmentation. Instead, I find the variation of OS version market share over time to be more interesting as it helps define what minimum version to target for new projects…

androidfragmentation

I believe this data to be more useful than declared device shipments as it a) represents the installed base and b) tells us the Android version. It’s also useful to compare with Google’s own dashboard.

It has been the case for a while now that there’s no point supporting pre Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Having worked on many past projects that had to go down to 2.3, this is great relief as it simplifies development and testing. Despite the hype over fragmentation, carefully selecting test devices that cover all the Android versions (v4.03 and later), top brands, dpi bands and main screen sizes is usually sufficient on most projects.

There are still a few outlying ‘strange’ current devices to consider. For example, there’s the Samsung Galaxy Pocket 2 that runs Android 4.4.2 yet only has a ldpi 240×320 screen. I find it’s a useful device to test apps at the lowest end of the device spectrum.

Mass Market Misdirection

bgrThere’s an article at BGR on how pranksters who run the YouTube account Dit Is Normaal loaded Android onto a fake iPhone and asked people what they thought of the new iOS 9. The video is entertaining and shows how people, even Apple and Samsung fans, were easily mislead. As BGR says…

“There are plenty of people out there, however, who don’t pay all that much attention to these things and who buy iPhones on the basis of Apple’s brand power.”

The video concludes with the message…

“It doesn’t matter what Apple release because people are going to think it’s prettier, bigger and better than the competition anyway.”

That might be so. However, if it were possible to put iOS on an Samsung device I am sure the mass market would be equally mislead.

For developers, this is more of a lesson that the mass market of people that use smartphones, and hence our apps, don’t have the same attention to detail as those of us who are, as BGR says, “really into technology”. It would be good to do a study to see if all the design elements (e.g. new navigation schemes, animations, Material design) we put into apps make any difference to real users or are just tech nonsense. Remember, only ten years ago, it was perceived wisdom that phones without hardware keyboards would never be popular because of lack of haptic feedback and smudged screens.

New Developer Economics Report

developereconomicsThe latest 9th version of VisionMobile’s Developer Economics report is now available, based on a survey of 13,000 developers, that covers desktop, IoT and cloud services as well as mobile.

There’s a very interesting chart showing what mobile developers are currently working on…

deveconomicsplatformsblog

VisionMobile conclude that “iOS-only, or even iOS-first, may no longer make sense”. 37% of all mobile developers target both iOS and Android, increasing to 44% when hobbyists and explorers are excluded. The report also says… “Android remains by far the most popular platform overall; targeted by 71% of all mobile developers”.

iOS vs Android Revenue and Download Performance

openxcellOpenxcell has a useful roundup comparing Android and iOS for those developers trying to decide between iOS and Android. The summary is…

“Developers, who are primarily interested in ‘making big revenues’, target iOS and those who prioritise ‘wider audience’ over revenue, target Android. But as much as it is about your ‘primary’ interest, it is also about the audience you want to cater to and the investment you need to put in to make an app for Android or iOS.”

I think the comment about ‘the audience you want to cater to’ is the most important part. If you can, survey your prospective users and determine what devices they own. It’s not about what phone you, your marketing manager, your sales manager, your app UI designer owns – think about your end users and put in the appropriate effort into supporting the particular phones models, not just the OS platform, that are actually being used by end users in your industry.

Mobile and Retail

criteoCriteo has a great free report and slides on the State of Mobile Commerce Q2 2015. The slides include some very useful country specific data towards the end of  the presentation.

Takeaways include…

  • Mobile is very significant in all retail categories with 1 in 3 transactions being in fashion and luxury.
  • The majority of transactions come from smartphones as opposed to tablets.
  • In the US, iPhone makes up 66% of transactions compared to 5.6% for Android.
  • Quality apps can currently generate up to 42% of mobile transactions for sellers.
  • Cross device shopping is important and makes up 40% of purchases in the US.
  • Android produces more transactions in many countries…

androidecommerce

iOS vs Android Across Countries

mobiforgeMobiForge has a great post on ‘25 mobile market statistics that you should know in 2015‘ subdivided into Mobile Hardware Statistics, M-Commerce & Banking, User Behaviour, Mobile Software and Mobile Networks.

The most useful statistic for mobile developers is iOS vs Android across countries…

androidvsiosbycountry

However, the data comes from DeviceAtlas. This means the data is based on web usage which might (or might not) skew the data. However, it’s probably a more useful way of measuring the user base than shipments because it gives the installed base which takes account of the cumulative affect of shipments/replacements.