Gustavo Jabbaz

1 Aug 2016

Why iOS web traffic is still higher than Android

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Why iOS web traffic is still higher than Android

Ever since Apple released the iPhone in 2007, it has dominated the web traffic for mobile devices. It is only in the last quarter of 2015 that Android devices surpassed iOS ones on global website traffic, although by a small margin.
In North America, Apple's iPhone is still the dominant one, even though there are close to three times more Android-powered devices out there. Logic would dictate that the reverse should be true, all smartphones can surf the web.

Taken from The Mobile Web Report Q4 2015 by DeviceAtlas

There isn't an apparent reason as to why people with iPhones tend to browse the web more than Android users. I found that most of the explanations revolve around user experience. iPhones' iOS provides better web experience, and some reports prove the point.

One of the reports; Chitika Insights produce a report in 2014 (Full Report) which shows an impressive statistic; app traffic is higher than web traffic for Android phones and the opposite for iPhones. Below is an extract of the report with their explanation for this discrepancy.

"It’s likely that Apple users, in aggregate, are simply more likely to use their browser throughout the course of a given day. Safari has regularly earned praise for its functionality on mobile, and, perhaps more importantly, Apple makes it the default browser for any link clicked on an iOS device. This familiarity may predispose iPhone users to more often trust in their browser when performing tasks, as opposed to finding and using an associated app." Full article.

Wired Magazine has a different answer in an article from 2013. They thought age and user behaviour were the factors:
"iOS users skew slightly younger than Android device owners. 19 percent of iOS owners fall in the 18-24 year old age bracket; 16 percent of Android owners do. Perhaps culturally, these folks tend to be obsessively glued to their touchscreens every waking and non-waking moment of the day more so than older mobile device users. 
Android owners also seem to use their devices more on the go, while iOS users will settle in for long sessions on their smartphone. Two-thirds of online activity on Android phones is conducted over a cellular connection, Comscore found, while more than half of all time spent online on iPhones happens over WiFi. 
Unsurprisingly then, Android users regularly consume more data than their iOS-using peers. With this in mind, it makes particular sense that Android users would watch less high-bandwidth video than iOS device owners." Full article.

The age gap seems more significant today, and for the "user behaviour" part, although all phones are faster than they were then, there are a lot of underpowered Android phones out there.

Which brings me to the next points, hardware, and OS. Apple has had a limited number of models available to the consumer at any giving time, which all of them share the same OS. Even the lowest model iPhone is a powerful device. Another contributing factor is that the iPhone owner is more likely to upgrade to the newly released version.

On the other hand, Android has many different manufacturers with different models that try to appeal to the full economic spectrum. The majority of Android smartphones are low-value phones or entry phones, which they can't compete with an iPhone for User Experience. There is also the fact that Google allows phone manufacturers to modify the OS to fit their business needs. This practice enables Android to have massive adoption, but it also created the fracturing of Andriod. Today there are many different versions of Android on various phones. Not all Android smartphone are equal.

Another interesting fact is that it seems that iPhone owners tend to spend more online. Even on the desktop, people with more income tend to use the web more; this could be another reason why iPhone owners spend more time surfing.

"According to a report from IBM Commerce, nearly 40% of all online traffic the day after Thanksgiving came from iOS, Apple's mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads. 
Only 17.3% came from Android. 
But that's not all: 27.7% of all online sales came from iOS devices, and only 8.3% came from phones and tablets running Android. 
iOS users also spent and averaged $125.83, significantly more money than Android users, who spent $107.60, according to IBM." Full article.
Taken from Tech Insider article

Apple is known for the care place in every detail of their products. User Experience is where Apple products excel, the iPhone is no exception. From the very beginning, Apple knew that the web was the ultimate destination, and they made sure every link in any app or email would open Safari in one smooth flow. Having tried Andriod products, I have to agree with the critics the web experience is not as seamless.

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