iPhone users still make purchases (as a percentage of other activities) than do users on other platforms, according to new numbers released by Forrester Research. But like almost all mobile stats these days, it's not clear that these figures suggest any kind of a meaningful change.
First, let's look at the Forrester numbers. They said that 69 percent of U.S. iPhone users use their devices to make purchases, according to the research firm's survey of 53,427 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who have at least one cell phone that they use actively, according to an Internet Retailer report. Android owners came in second place with 53 percent, followed by BlackBerry with 35 percent and Windows with 32 percent.
What that doesn't detail is how many dollars were spent. In making platform decisions, the difference between 69 and 53 is big or small depending on the dollars. If those iPhone users spent an average of $25 and if those Android users spent closer to $110, then those percentages look very different.
Another stat from that Forrester report looks at percentage of time spent doing purchase research, with 86 percent of iPhone users doing so, followed by 76 percent of Android users, 57 percent of BlackBerry and 47 percent of Windows owners.
What these numbers do cumulatively reflect is a continuation of a trend that has been going on for several years: iPhone users are generally more involved with e-commerce and therefore are going to spend more of their time doing all kinds of e-commerce activities: research, browsing, shopping, buying and returning.
Much of this is the historic nature of iPhone users. They are more inclined to rush to buy the latest phone, to upgrade the fastest and to be interested in taking as many trials as possible, to play with whatever cutting edge functionality Apple has conned (excuse me, persuaded) them into wanting. When retailers have run trials, iPhone users have typically been very disproportionately represented. This is why the stats of how many shoppers own iPhones versus Android is important, but it has to be put into context about what those users have generally done with those phones.
The downside of these stats speaks to longevity or permanence of this trend. That's why it's noteworthy that Forrester is still seeing these numbers. There's a perfectly reasonable argument that as the mobile commerce novelty wears off and shopping becomes more routine and less play-like, the activity stats will start to more closely resemble the installed base stats. In other words, Apple's dominance could start to melt.
On the other hand, if the kind of people that are drawn to iPhones are also drawn to experimentation, then the so-called iPhone-effect might last a lot longer.
- See Internet Retailer story
Mobile Point Of Sale Is Growing Fast And Turning Up Surprises
Starbucks Weighs In On "Download Mobile App Vs. Get Customers In-Store" Debate. And The App Won
Peapod's QR Train Station Grocery Trial Shows Mobile Bias