It’s safe to say that smartphones are here to stay and have impacted the world in a tremendous way. In fact, saying anything else would be incorrect. Recent surveys found that 77% of the total population in America owns a smartphone. Yes, that includes your 90-year-old grandma. When the age range is limited to those under 30, the number spikes to a whopping 92%. So, it’s no wonder that there is such a large demand for apps. Regardless of who’s using the phone, apps make it more productive, more valuable, and more fun.
But is there a difference between Apple’s iPhone users and Android users? The answer is yes, for several different reasons. Some of them might surprise you. If you’re looking to develop an app for your brand, or are an app developer yourself, then pay close attention. These differences may be key to ensuring a successful app launch.
First, we must look at the basic breakdown of smartphone devices and their users. With Apple iOS and Android soaking up a massive 99.6% of the market worldwide, we can effectively examine just those two operating systems.
Android, developed and owned by Google, runs on many different devices from different manufacturers. Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, and more, all have smartphones on the market running Android OS. These range from top-of-the-line products like the Galaxy line from Samsung, to “budget phones” costing as little as $70. In total, around 72% of the world’s smartphones run some version of Android. Android phones download their apps from the Google Play Store, which currently has 3,600,000+ apps.
Apple’s iOS runs only on products made and sold by Apple. That means the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. If you own an Apple product, you know that it doesn’t play nice with others. Most of Apple’s products are very limited in terms of customization and are often higher up in terms of price. iPhones get their apps from the built-in Apple App Store, which currently has 2,100,000+ apps.
When it comes to determining whether a person buys an Android or Apple device, money is one of the most influential factors. Generally, Apple products cost more than Android products. The gap can vary depending on whether the Android phone is high-end or low-end, but in almost all instances the price of an iPhone is higher than that of an Android.
This fact seems to influence the estimate that iOS users earn at least $100,000 in annual income. They also tend to be early adopters of new technology and want more from their phone. Since Apple has close control over customization, many iOS users turn to apps for expanding what their phone is capable of. These factors make Apple users much more likely to spend money in-app and to buy more paid apps in the first place; key factor for app developers when determining where to launch an app.
Android users tend to be more price-conscious when it comes to their apps. Since there are such varying demographics because of a wide-range of product pricing, it is hard to judge overall trends in purchases. However, the majority of people who own Android phones live in developing countries. This impacts the purchasing of apps because credit cards are much less commonly used in other countries, especially those still developing.
Brand Loyalty Influences App Choices
Since 92% of Apple users say they would buy another iPhone, they are generally considered to have high brand loyalty. By comparison, only 77% of Android users say they would return for their next phone. This brand loyalty increases the amount that Apple users spend on their apps. Since they are loyal to their phone, they will likely be loyal to their apps and willing to spend more.
Along with brand loyalty, iPhone users tend to be much more engaged with their phone. On average, an iPhone user spends 26 minutes per day on their phone than Android users. They also use their device for more tasks, especially mobile commerce. These facts may also drive up the amount iPhone users spend on their apps and within them.
It should be noted that the Apple Store’s greater overall amount spent could be due to the fact that iOS apps are generally more expensive than their Android counterparts. In 2013, the average price for an iPhone app (factoring in free apps) was 19 cents, while the average price of an Android app was just 6 cents. In addition, many popular apps, like Angry Birds, are free on the Google Play Store, but are paid apps in the iOS App Store.
Changing Recent Trends
Although the numbers we’ve discussed already are from recent studies, technology moves fast. In fact, the trends in smartphone app use between Apple and Android users are changing already. Recent trends indicate that the gap between how much different users spend on apps is quickly closing. For example, 74% of apps in the iOS App Store were paid apps in 2008. Now, that number has flipped so that 78% of apps are free. At the same time, the Google Play Store has started to see an uptick in paid app sales. This can be attributed to the use of pre-paid gift cards that are more accessible to users in developing nations and foreign countries than credit cards may be.
In addition, user satisfaction has risen for both iOS and Android. This number once served as a key differentiator to determine app spending, but now it is nearly equal between the two groups. Recent surveys find users for both platforms to have about an 81% satisfaction rating.
Why Does It Matter?
At the end of the day, users will continue to use the platform they find most useful and most appealing. As app developers and businesses seek to launch an app, it is important to keep in mind that users of iOS and Android are very different. They spend differently, download apps differently, and look for different features in their apps. All of this is important to keep in mind when determining which platform to build for and how to market your apps.