Mobile Devices

May 05, 2014

Does Less Shopping Mean Less Phone Value?

A recent report from Boopsie Analytics raised a few eyebrows, and took on a report that came out of no less than Business Insider which suggested that Android devices weren't exactly well-received in the market, and were being used primarily as “dumb-phones.” But the Boopsie Analytics report suggests that it's not the amount of shopping done via such devices that makes a phone a smartphone, but rather, several other factors that contribute to the idea of a phone's overall intelligence, so to speak.

The Business Insider report started with one basic premise, backed up by statistics from IBM. Not only were fewer users turning to Android devices to shop, but those who did spent less on average. Those who used iOS represented 23 percent of online sales, while Android users turned in just 4.6 percent. Average orders were similarly skewed toward iOS, with an average around $100 as compared to Android's roughly $50 order. With this idea in mind, Business Insider then reportedly advanced the idea that Android users are essentially missing a whole aspect of smartphone technology, reducing the devices to, essentially, dumb-phones. This is where Boopsie Analytics stepped in to rebut.

Indeed, Boopsie Analytics didn't rebut very hard. It actually shared some points in common with the Business Insider analysis, noting that Boopsie Analytics library apps were downloaded by iOS devices in the majority—57 percent—of events. But Boopsie Analytics also noted that the number of downloads and library queries coming from Android devices were likewise on the rise, and even represented 39 percent of downloads as it stood. Tony Medrano, Boopsie Analytics' CEO, offered up some numbers to help cement the point. While iOS users made around 186 queries per user on average, Android users chipped in 129 queries.

Thus the point becomes clearer, as indeed, Android users do buy less with mobile devices, and said users also chip in fewer public library searches. This provides a useful jumping-off point for marketers, while at the same time underscoring one key point: less is not none. Essentially, while it's true that iOS users are doing more shopping and spending more money and doing more searches, Android users aren't simply using devices to talk, making such devices inherently more than just “dumb-phones.” Granted, marketers are probably going to focus attention on iOS users for the foreseeable future—going where the money is; a basic standard of online marketing operations—but those who ignore Android devices, and Android users, do so at no small level of risk. Indeed, Android devices are often lower-cost, so it could be that Android users are particularly budget-sensitive, which would account for less shopping being done. After all, Android users certainly turn to app stores for apps, to Internet browsers to make needed connections, play games, and perform a host of other functions, so calling Android devices dumb-phones because there's less shopping being done is something of an oversimplification of the overall market.

The key takeaway here, though, is that Android devices really can't be dismissed as just feature phones with delusions of grandeur. The devices offer some serious possibilities for those ready to take advantage, and either way, are certainly more than just basic platforms for voice communication, even if less shopping overall is taking place on the platform.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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