Android market share has risen around the world over the past few years. Android smartphones are now more popular than the iPhone in most major markets, while Android tablets and the iPad continue to battle closely.
The mobile OS war is far from over, and Android and Apple frequently exchange victories in different categories.
But one category where Android has never won is ‘web usage’. Apple fans love to throw around the ‘usage’ statistic which shows that Apple users use their handsets more than Android users.
That same usage statistic is also used to justify why developers prefer iOS app development over Android app development.
The most important metric for usage is the percentage of online sales. In this study, for example, iOS users outspent Android users on Christmas day by approximately 5 to 1. That’s a big gap.
Basically, ‘web usage’ comes down to these two metrics:
-Amount of online sales generated
-Time spent browsing the web
Apple users like to throw around these numbers and act superior. Tim Cook recently did an anti-Android interview with Bloomberg Businessweek where he bragged about how Apple devices were being used to change the world and “enrich lives” while Androids were being left in drawers.
That’s baloney. Here’s why that ‘web usage’ victory isn’t as honest as some Apple fans think.
Why the ‘web usage’ statistic is wrong
Multiple Androids for multiple purposes
There are all sorts of different Android devices on the market. Some Androids are designed for kids, while others only connect to wireless networks. Some Androids – like the Kindle – can only be used to read books.
There are hundreds of Android manufacturers with all sorts of different types of products. Apple, meanwhile, is the world’s only iOS manufacturer and its products are all used in a similar way.
There are more low-cost Android handsets
Apple has made a living off of selling premium electronics to premium customers. The only way to find a cheap iPhone is to buy a used iPhone. You can regularly find Android smartphones and tablets for under $100, and many carriers offer them for free on 2 year contracts (free iPhone offers on contracts sometimes exist for older models, but very rarely).
The same person who buys a $100 Android tablet isn’t going to spend $500 on app micro-transactions.
Too much focus on visiting websites and shopping
According to the ‘web usage’ statistic, there are two important things people do on their mobile devices: visit websites and buy things off websites.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t do much shopping on any of my mobile devices, and I spend more time on my Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit apps than I do on the web browser.
Basically, there are an unlimited number of things to do on your Android that don’t involve shopping or visiting websites. On tablets, especially, people spend more time watching videos and playing games than they do on anything else.
Solution? Compare high-end Androids to iPhones
The real issue here is that we’re not comparing apples to apples, so to speak. We need to measure web usage when comparing the iPhone 5 with the HTC One, Galaxy S4, Note 3, and other high-end devices.
We also need to use better metrics to measure the amount of enjoyment a user gets out of their device. The number of website visits and the amount of shopping purchases are too general and inaccurate and don’t accurately represent the average usage of neither Apple users nor Android users.
These Androids are purchased by consumers with extra spending money – not the budget-conscious users who gravitate towards cheaper tablets and smartphones and then rarely use them for purchases.
Show me a study where high-end Android smartphones are compared with the latest iPhones and I would bet that the web usage ‘victory’ becomes much more of a tie.