People who own iPhones are much more likely to research buying decisions, comparison shop, and actually purchase things on their devices than are mobile users on Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone devices, according to a new study by Forrester which polled over 50,000 mobile device owners. 85% of iOS device-toting adults 18 or older use their iPhones for shopping-related research, and 69% percent have pulled the trigger and actually bought something.
76% of survey respondents who are on Android devices said they use their phones to conduct research, and only 53% claimed to have actually made a purchase. Users on RIM’s BlackBerry and Microsoft’s Windows devices were even less likely to have done either activity. And while mobile banking still hasn’t seen very widespread adoption (only 18% of respondents had even done any mobile banking at all), Apple users also reported the highest engagement, with people more likely to check bank balances, use mobile banking apps and websites, transfer funds and deposit checks via their phone’s camera on iPhones than on other hardware.
Maybe most notable about these results isn’t the fact that Apple users are most likely to engage in mobile shopping activity, but that the gap between them researching and actually transacting is much smaller than it is on Android. Combined with the research around online banking, it seems to show a platform that manages to engender more trust around the sharing of secure financial information than others out there.
What’s the upshot? When combined with Forrester’s research on the demographic breakdown of mobile platform users, which shows iPhone users as the youngest and most wealthy, this should be setting off alarms for online retailers. Apple’s mobile audience appears not only to be prime targets in terms of affluence, but also in how prepared they are to spend that money via mobile transactions. In other words, they represent the perfect storm for marketers and retailers looking to maximize the value of their sales channels.
Of course, that could be generating a recursive loop: High-quality retailers see these kinds of numbers and target iOS, which means iOS has a higher share of reputable apps that drive e-commerce transactions, and so on. But Apple’s platform also has a better reputation for security thanks to the highly regulated App Store, and that might also help users feel more comfortable with spending money and conducting banking activities on iOS.
Whatever the reason, this is a key competitive advantage for Apple, and one that helps explain why when the New York Times releases a web app, it still goes out of its way to note that it’s for iPad devices specifically. So long as Apple can maintain a reputation for being the mobile money pot, factors like market share will have less of an overall impact on their continued success.