ÜberMobile


In iOS vs. Android, Does Market Share Matter?

In iOS vs. Android, Does Market Share Matter?

Summary: If we look at mobile devices as razors, and add-on services at the blades, then market share may not mean dominance.

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TOPICS: UberMobile
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On the topic of which mobile operating system is better, you can’t go long before discussing market share. But does market share really matter?

With the rise of app stores, it seems to me that mobile wallets (both for Google, and now it seems also for Apple and other post-purchase services are a better measure how much your users spend. And isn’t that a better success metric?

So who spends the most? During the holiday shopping season, iOS users outspent others. They also gave more in charity donations, as this press release explains, “Donations from mobile devices have overwhelmingly come from Apple users, who have donated a staggering £4.4 million using their iPhone or iPad.”

And it isn’t just on mobile OSes that you see the difference. Take Humble Bundle, a website where you pay what you want for ‘digital creations’ (including books, games, etc.), and the site splits your payment between developers and charity. There is a marked difference between platforms. Here’s a snap from my account for the current Bundle X. Compare Windows, Max and Linux users in the list on the left.

Humble

No question that Android has, and will likely continue to have, a bigger ‘market share’ than iOS, especially as Android moves to non-phone devices like laptops, tablets, and gaming consoles (OUYA, GameStick, etc.).

But perhaps rather than only counting raw numbers, we should start looking at average revenue per user, or ARPU.

Once we take the wallets, app sales, etc. into account, it’s clear that we’re talking about the ‘razor blade’ business model, so ARPU starts to be more important than sheer volume of devices. If that’s the case, then iOS customers appear to be more valuable—and that may be what wins in the end.

Topic: UberMobile

About

Diarmuid Mallon is the Director, Global Marketing Solutions & Programs – Mobile, which includes the SAP Mobile Services division and SAP Mobile solutions. He has worked in the mobile industry since 1996. Follow him here at ÜberMobile and @diarmuidmallon.

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12 comments
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  • iDevice doesn't account for real iLife

    The notion that iOS users donate more "using their iPhone or iPad" doesn't take into account classical forms of donating; I donated over $200 this past holiday season, but not a dime "using my Android device," I used traditional forms of writing checks. What research is available for classic forms of donating and mobile platforms?
    nicknormal
  • Perhaps iOS device users can afford to donate more

    The users of iOS devices pay a premium for a fully fleshed out hardware and software ecosystem. If they were solely concerned about saving money, they'd probably just take the cheap plastic Android phones that are given away free with a contract. In other words, they are financially able to afford to be more generous. Considering the overall market share is greater for Android, this makes the difference in generosity even more noticeable.

    Also, I don't know what a chart about Windows, Mac, and Linux users has to do with your premise on iOS versus Android. It's entirely irrelevant.
    BillDem
    • LOL

      -"The users of iOS devices pay a premium for a fully fleshed out hardware and software ecosystem. If they were solely concerned about saving money, they'd probably just take the cheap plastic Android phones that are given away free with a contract. In other words, they are financially able to afford to be more generous. "-

      BS. If iOS users are so rich, carriers wouldn't need to heavily subsidize the platform to get anything other than negligible handset sales... Almost all of Apple's iPhone market share comes from those few markets where they are using $450 phone subsidies to make the upfront price of the iPhone the same as cheap phones sold in developing markets. iOS users aren't richer....they're simply the more wasteful users of credit cards...
      eMJayy
  • iDevices are Macs

    iDevices are really Macs running on a different architecture, with a different UI layer.
    varase
  • And Android is Linux

    And Android is Linux running on a different architecture, with a different UI layer. It looks like Android users chose to pay more per purchase but there were fewer Android users of Humble Bumble. This says more about Humble Bumble's popularity on Android than it does about the genorisity of Android users. So if the author is trying to say that iOs is better because its users gave more he should recheck the numbers.
    robert_rowe@...
  • What a crock!

    ARPU * 6 users is less than ARPU *600 users!!
    Mike@...
  • Total rubbish

    How is success of a mobile os measured by who spends more on charitable donations?! Ridiculous.
    Mike Guerdon
  • Bottom Line

    http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-the-difference-in-developer-revenue-between-android-and-ios-2013-11

    All you iOS/Mac/Apple haters can point to this-and-that "other" piece of data. The bottom line is what matters -- iOS users are better sources of revenue *per user* than Android users. Refute that if you can. (And I don't deny that Google Play is helping to close the gap, but the gap is still big.)
    alboulley
  • Android vs iPhone BS

    Another piece of twisted logic? Perhaps true but irrelevant. Poorer nations, where I would think that android systems far outsell apple systems, have less money to contribute!
    lvr181
  • Market share matters

    Ask

    Novell
    Beta max
    Palm
    BlackBerry
    Nokia
    Chrysler
    Macintosh computers

    Writing is on the wall.
    Uralbas
  • iOS people just like to spend money

    I have seen over and over again, people who like Apple products have no problem spending money. Even broke iOS people will spent money on a new iPad rather than find an economical alternative that does the same thing. The platform is more of a religion, while Android users are more practical, more tech savy and will find a way to do it free rather than clicking on a paid app. It is a matter of how long the Apple religion continues, does it grow or shrink. The definition of success is relative. I think Android is successful because I can get what I need done at a much better profit, to ME. To me that makes a platform successful, not that it has managed to extract the most profit from me. Maybe that is why it is growing.
    PaulKuehnel
  • Market Share doesn't matter

    In above article you discussed about market share of iOS and Android. I beg to differ. Android offers wide range of choice from many manufacturers and iOS comes with premium tag of Apple. Even Windows Mobile OS has little market share but they have their own loyal users. So market share is not much of a significant factor. It is a matter of personal choice that one prefers a particular operating system.
    Think you have an idea and want mobile app development in these platforms? Connect us at... http://www.techcronus.com/services/opensource-development.html
    harshraj