IOS vs. Android: What to expect in 2014

Android Kit Kat

Android users are less active than iOS ones

While holiday mobile usage trends underscore iOS continued strength in supporting engagement, the increasingly robust Android user base points to the growing urgency surrounding the need to finally solve the equation for driving meaningful interactions with these users.

While iOS got a nice boost over the holidays thanks to the popularity of Apple devices as gifts and for shopping, overall Apples role in mobile will continue to take a hit next year as other devices increasingly capture the attention of consumers. At the same time, Android which already has a 52.2 percent market share in smartphones, according to comScore is likely to continue to gain steam, presenting a challenge for marketers given that Android users tend to be less active.

Christmas day was clearly an Apple day based on Mixpanel’s data, said Nicole Leverich, director of corporate communications at Mixpanel. But looking ahead to 2014, we believe that overall it’s going to be an Android year with iOS continuing to win in tablets.

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The biggest difference we’ll see in 2014 is not in the OS, but in the devices, she said. By the end of 2014 there will be a much greater diversity of devices and form factors- phones, phablets and tablets -that have high levels of consumer activity.

As activity on Android continues to increase there will be an even greater range of devices from Samsung and others that marketers will need to make sure they reach consumers on.

Android-enhanced PCs
Android could get a significant boost next year if recent reports are correct that several PC manufacturers will introduce desktop and laptop computers next year that run both Windows and Android as a way to bring touch-enabled app experiences to these devices.

Microsoft attempted something similar with its Windows 8 operating system, but it was not well received in the market.

However, Android so far cannot compete with Apple in terms of driving user interactions.

For example, iOS devices accounted for 23 percent of all ecommerce orders on Christmas Day, according to IBM, while Android devices accounted for just 4.6 percent. IOS customers also spent significantly more per order than Android shoppers.

This will be the challenge for marketers and developers as Android’s influence continues to grow – how to create apps, ads and other content for Android devices that will encourage users to engage. This is imperative if they want to be able to interact with a wide swath of mobile usersas the Apple audience is becoming an inccreasinglyniche-based one of high-end users.

A happy Christmas
According to new data from Mixpanel, there has been a clear shift toward iOS over the last month, with iPads dominating 79 percent of tablet activity on Christmas Day, up from 74 percent on Thanksgiving.

Additionally, of people using iOS devices, 31 percent of data on Christmas Day was generated from iPads, up from 19 percent on Thanksgiving.

In terms of mobile activity overall, 73 percent of all Christmas Day activity came from iOS devices – up 3 percent from Thanksgiving – and 27 percent came from Android, which is down from 29 percent on Thanksgiving.

Tablets once again put in a strong performance over Christmas, pointing to their popularity as gifts.

Wi-Fi tablets, in particular, had a good year with activations more than six times greater on Christmas Day, according to new data from Flurry Analytics.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire had the largest bump in activations on Christmas Day, at 24 times a typical December day. This points to the popularity of the Kindle Fire as a gift; however, the jump is off a small base.

Samsung is catching up
On Christmas Day, Apple devices experienced 2.3 times more activations compared to 1.9 times for Samsung. However, the gap between the two brands narrowed this year compared to previous years, according to Flurry.

In general, device activations were up 63 percent on Christmas Day compared to an average day in the first three weeks of December, according to Flurry. This points to the popularity of mobile devices as Christmas gifts, with recipients quick to activate their new devices.

Overall, the volume of activations on Christmas Day is lower than last year, pointing to the increased penetration for smartphones and tablets.

While it’s already a mobile first world for marketers, activity on Christmas day showed just how domanant mobile devices – and especially mobile apps – have become in consumers lives, Ms. Leverich said.

On Christmas Day, a whopping 90 percent of activity was generated in mobile apps, she said.

There continues to be a big opportunity for marketers to break outside of the box of traditional online ads and find new ways to engage with consumers in apps.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

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