iOS Platform Of Choice For Shoppers, All But Biggest Companies Focus On iOS And Android

Apple retains the top spot when it comes for uses making actual purchases on their mobile devices, according to a new Forrester report. iOS shoppers are around 30 percent more likely to make a purchase on their device, and about 15 percent more likely to do product research on their smartphones and tablets than Android users, the survey of 58,000 U.S. respondents found.

But despite the discrepancy, companies are still targeting both platforms en masse. The survey also found that 99 percent of ebusiness professionals surveyed during the study intended to launch either a native or hybrid iOS app by the end of 2013, and 96 percent were also targeting the same for Android. Beyond Goole and Apple, however, there’s a very steep drop off in interest, and only larger companies with big budgets are really looking further afield at companies and platforms like BlackBerry and Windows Mobile.

That’s because around 41 percent of ebusiness pros have only $500,000 or less to spend on their mobile budgets, and 56 percent have less than $1 million. That money can only go so far, and still pales in comparison to general marketing budgets, and even budgets devoted to general web-facing property. This alone is a prime reason why cross-platform solutions will continue to succeed, even as developers debate the merits of cross-platform technologies like HTML5 vs. native tools.

And while the market appears unified between Apple and Google, that actually belies a fair amount of fragmentation that occupies sufficient developer time and resources within those two larger camps, Forrester points out. Developing for either iOS or Android is a much more resource-intensive affair than it once was, despite efforts made by both companies to encourage users to upgrade and to make it easier to build software compatible across OS versions and device particulars.

In some ways, fragmentation is actually a boon to both Apple and Google in terms of helping them maintain their platform advantage. The more resources developers have to devote to catering to those top two platforms, the fewer they have available to spread out on a third or fourth horse, to the continued detriment of smaller players like BlackBerry and Microsoft. It’s easy to paint fragmentation as a problem, and in terms of developer time and spend, it definitely is, but holding on to the market lead may be an unintended consequence for the mobile top dogs.