Which smartphone shopper is worth more - an Android shopper or an iOS shopper? The short answer is iOS.

Although Android has over 80% of the global smartphone market, according to IDC, Android users contribute a lower percentage of traffic and revenue to total online sales. These operating system based differences in shopping behavior are well-documented. And they have been very apparent this holiday season.

According to IBM, from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, iOS devices generated twice the traffic of Android devices. And iOS devices contributed to four times the sales.

Adobe reported that over Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Android drove 21% of mobile sales revenue. Meanwhile iOS users drove 79% - close to 4 times the revenue.

But we wondered: are all iOS shoppers using their iPhones more valuable than Android shoppers? We took a closer look at the numbers in our Mobile Holiday Shopping Report.

We found that generally the accepted differences between iOS shoppers and Android shoppers held true. From Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, the sites in our report posted 3 iOS sessions for every** 2** Android sessions.

More importantly, iOS shoppers had a higher conversion rate, converting at 1.18% versus 1.04% for Android shoppers. This combination of higher traffic and higher conversion rate led to iOS shoppers contributing about twice the revenue of Android shoppers.

Having confirmed the general consensus, we decided to dig deeper. And what we found is the data becomes more nuanced as you dig.

First of all, the Android operating system shows greater fragmentation than the iOS. Would this lead to different conversion rates based on Android version? And would older versions of Android correspond with lower conversions?

We sifted through the data and found that indeed the newer the Android version, the higher the conversion rate. And Android 5.0 devices had a conversion rate that was 1.07 times the conversion rate of iOS.

Secondly, the Android operating system is available on a large array of phones, from various manufacturers. These manufacturers offer their phones in a range of price points - from free-with-contract LG phones to phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 which will set you back over $200.

Does the manufacturer therefore play a role in the conversion rate? We found that it does. The highest conversion rate was for Samsung phones, which had a 1.1% conversion rate, versus a .87% conversion rate for LG.


by Anis Salvesen