When companies in the retail industry decide to implement or develop a mobile strategy there are a variety of factors they need to consider. For most, developing across all platforms may not make financial or business sense. It is therefore vital to invest time in thinking about the right OS for your business. Choosing the relevant operating platform is key to the success of any mobile development and in this consumer focused industry, CIOs must take into consideration the patterns of usage amongst different platform users.

In tech, typically, the more people using your platform the better it will do. Therefore considering market share is a key factor in deciding on the platform that could provide the best ROI. According to comScore, in the US, Android holds the title with 52% of the smartphone market, with iOS representing 42%. In the UK, Android’s presence is even higher with 60.6% market share compared to that of iOS at 28.1%. Despite this, when apps launch, it’s often on iOS. Considering that monetisation is key with many deployments of apps, some may question why you’d target 12% of the global market, versus 82%.
Research conducted by IBM over the cyber weekend should reveal why iOS is a good bet for many developers.

In the shadow of the busiest weekend for online shopping, IBM tracked online holiday shopping habits of consumers over 8,000 brands, with a specific look into the use of mobile devices. According to IBM, 52.1% of all traffic to shopping sites came from mobile devices converting to 32.3% sales. Compared with last year, this has been an increase in both numbers of nearly 25%. When considering the amount of shopping being done via the mobile phone, it’s evident that retailers who aren’t mobilised are losing out. The use of mobile in the retail industry is most definitely on the up.

It is very interesting to see the difference in iOS and Android usage and spend. Out of the 32.3% of mobile sales, 24.3% came from iOS users who spent 24.3% more than Android users, which accounted for just 5.8% of sales. To put that into perspective, iOS was quadruple that of Android.

These statistics, although focused primarily on online shopping for this one holiday of the year, could help to indicate the potential returns on investment when developing for iOS over other platforms. Although Android holds the majority market share, what’s most important boils down to usage and spend. IBM’s research has shown that iOS users are more likely to browse the web, purchase apps and buy online.This makes them lucrative customers for the companies behind the app.

From a purely enterprise perspective these factors may not influence the impact of your app in terms of your employees and what you want the app the achieve. However, when thinking about your mobile strategy, companies need to consider how usage differs on different platforms and the influence that may have on its success.

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