Recently, IBM released their post Black Friday analytics report. As always, it includes some interesting takeaways around devices and platforms used for Black Friday e-commerce. Before digging into the report, I thought this tweet from Benedict Evans was insightful in context.
Tablets functioning more like PCs in the home rather than mobile devices should be obvious for those who use them. However, this observation has some interesting implications. In particular, it further validates that tablets are more like PCs than smartphones in many aspects of usage. This chart is one I’d like to dig into a little more.
Note that tablets represent a fairly small percentage of website traffic compared to smartphones. Yet, they have higher conversion rates and much higher average order values. Furthermore, more consumers made a purchase on a tablet than a smartphone. As a percentage of sales tablets made up 16% of purchases where smartphones made up 11.8%. Both the conversation rate and the average order value of tablets are more in line with PCs than with smartphones. The picture this data paints is how that many users do quite a bit of browsing/research on their smartphones but then move to their preferred purchasing platform — either the tablet or the PC — to complete the transaction. The low percentage of traffic from tablets is perhaps representative of the smaller installed base vs smartphones and PCs in the US. It also could suggest that, after consumers decided what they wanted, they moved to the tablet to complete the purchase.
While the picture painted from Black Friday of tablets and smartphones is interesting, I’m not sure this dynamic continues forever. By next year, I believe Touch ID-equipped smartphones will have a larger impact on the Black Friday device e-commerce landscape. Apple is working to eliminate payment friction in both the physical and the digital world and, by next year, my sense is the large US installed base of Touch ID-equipped iPhones may shift this picture quite a bit.
For now, the IBM report paints a non-surprising picture of iOS vs. Android users when it comes to online purchasing.
It’s worth noting the above chart is not a breakdown of iPhone vs. Android smartphone users but the platform as a whole. Which means iPad is playing into these statistics as well. Some key stats from the report:
- Average Order Value: iOS users averaged $121.86 per order compared to $98.07 for Android users, a difference of 24.3%.
- Online Traffic: iOS traffic accounted for 34.2% of total online traffic, more than double that of Android, which drove 15% of all online traffic.
- Online Sales: iOS sales accounted for 21.9% of total online sales, nearly quadruple that of Android, which drove 5.8% of all online sales.
One other stat that stood out was that average page views on Android devices were higher than on iOS devices. This is interesting because the installed base in the US of iPhones and iPads is quite a bit higher than Android phones and tablets. While on a monthly average basis iOS leads Android in US in web browsing, it didn’t on Black Friday. Some have suggested this means Android users are more “window shoppers” than iOS users. While that could be true, it could also mean more iOS users were out shopping at physical retail stores, thus spending less time browsing. The disparity between Android purchases and the high average page views could also suggest Android customers are a bit more calculated, possibly even frugal, than their iOS counterparts. Meaning, they are more selective in what they purchase, even though they do roughly the same amount of research.
The picture painted here of iOS vs. Android users is not surprising and likely the gap in spending between iOS and Android users will increase over the next year and should be evident in the data this time next year.
Lastly, the dominance of the PC for e-commerce still shines. It led in every category for online purchasing. This shows the trust and comfort level many in the US have in making purchases on the PC. While this isn’t terribly surprising, what struck me is how different this picture is with regard to the PC and e-commerce in the US vs. other regions I study, particularly markets like India and China. E-commerce from mobile devices is dramatically higher in those markets than the US and I believe it has everything to do with, for now, the high PC penetration and comfort level with PCs in the US. Which, as I will flesh out more at a later time, is potentially a roadblock keeping the US from progressing to the mobile reality the rest of the world is living in. Perhaps this is just a matter of time, but the centrality of the PC in the US may be a negative compared to innovative things happening in markets where the mobile is the center of consumer’s universe.