iPhone and iPad once again lead web usage metrics, this time for Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales

iPhone and iPad once again lead web usage metrics, this time for Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales

Continuing the confusing trend of Android dominating in market share but iOS continuing to lead -- by huge margin -- in mobile web usage share, both Apple's iPhone and the iPad reportedly eclipsed Google's Android in Thanksgiving and Black Friday online shopping use over the last few days. This according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmarks:

Mobile Shopping: Mobile purchases soared with 24 percent of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer's site, up from 14.3 percent in 2011. Mobile sales exceeded 16 percent, up from 9.8 percent in 2011.

The iPad Factor: The iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smartphone, reaching nearly 10 percent of online shopping. This was followed by iPhone at 8.7 percent and Android 5.5 percent. The iPad dominated tablet traffic at 88.3 percent followed by the Barnes and Noble Nook at 3.1 percent, Amazon Kindle at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy at 1.8 percent.

We've seen this again and again, iOS web usage reports that dwarf the competition. Tablets, of course, are understandable. Apple is the market leader. The iPhone, however, while often the best selling phone in many markets, doesn't outsell all other phones -- or all Android phones -- combined in the market.

So what explains the discrepancy? Do people upgrading from feature phones to a cheap or big screen Android simply keep using it as a feature phone and not bother with things like web browsers? Is the web browsing experience on Android somehow less discoverable or enjoyable? Do expert users simply not care to use the web?

None of those explanations make sense. Chrome on Android is easy to find and easy to use. So why aren't Android users using it?

Maybe that's the wrong question. Maybe the right question is why are iPhone and iPad users using the web so much? What is it about Apple's products that make using the web so much more discoverable and enjoyable?

IBM via Fortune:

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone and iPad once again lead web usage metrics, this time for Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales


I know how I personally affect these metrics. I have an Amdroid phone that I use occasionally for web surfing when I'm out and about but I use my ipad almost all of the time. I take it anywhere I go and since most places have wifi I'm good to go.i use Chrome on the iPad so my bookmarks all sync between the phone, desktop and iPad but I obviously prefer using the Internet on a 9.7 inch ipad over a 4.3 inch phone. I am surprised by the iPhone numbers though, I would much rather use my phone than my iPod touch. My phone has a bigger and much better screen than the iPod. Maybe Android users really are just using them as glorified feature phones, in which case the carriers are hosing them for data plans they aren't using.

*Do people upgrading from feature phones to a cheap Android simply keep using it as a feature phone*... this explanations make a perfect sense... RENE...since those devices are poured in tons at no costs... those became literally the new dump phones... because those people don't actually need any smart phone.... nor they can handle the complexity of andrOS....

I can't speakfir others, but my 2year old Droid X is god-awlful slow to load any web page with any browser, even when on the same WiFi connection as my iPad2. (My iTouch 3 is as bad if not worse.)

One of those metrics that no one really cares about except iPhone users trying to make themselves feel ok about the fact that android is completely dominating worldwide.

+1 this is a perfect example of all-the-world hatting nasty androFreak... ready to die for their's pathetic religion... NO DUDE... androsweet is not completely dominating the world... and NO there is no archangel living in Larry's multi Bio$ mansion ...

Aka, its ok we have less market share, at least we spend more money buying things in the sales. And its pretty obvious android users are more money concious anyway.

Do you have any idea how stupid that makes you sound?

These metrics show that people use their iPhones to do a significantly higher amount of web surfing than people using android phones. Web browsing consists of a huge percentage of phone usage, so it shows that it's very likely that android phones do have a massive market share, but don't have the majority of their features used. Unless there's some group of magic apps that people on Android use instead of web browsing. I look at the phones most providers sell, and generally there's 1 iPhone at however much, then a SLEW of android phones for, generally, free and maybe a couple basic phones that are the same price. Basically, anyone getting a phone is likely to pick an android phone due to the fact that you're getting more than a basic phone at an equal price. All of my nieces and nephews that are on a restricted budget have various android phones. It's the only logical decision.

Simply put, android has a bigger market share, but they're not used as consistently and AS a full smartphone as the iPhones are.

That doesn't mean Android phones are bad, not at all. I think competition is amazing and I'm blown away by what Android phones are doing, but these endless knocks against the iPhones and the ENDLESS touting of "we haz MARKET SHARE BEASTED!" Doesn't have the same kick looking at these percentages.

I feel like a lot of ipad users may not have any other device to go on the internet so that could be why you see such a huge difference in traffic. I'm sure a lot of us know someone or know someone who knows someone that ended up deciding to just buy an ipad instead of a computer for whatever reason.

a year and a half ago when i purchased my first ipad 2 I had a laptop and a desktop PC. I gradually started using the ipad more and more, then i bought one for my wife and another one for my mom, sold mom's laptop and threw my old desktop PC to the garbage. now all of us use ipads and iphones basically 99% of the time. rarely i go back to my laptop for some occasional pc stuff. iPads btw helped us to significantly lower down the electricity bills. So yeah it depends what you really use your pc for. if internet and email mostly then many people tend to buy ipads. so you are correct, lots of ipad users simply dont have any other devices, because well... ipad is really all what they need.

As always the graphic for the article is wrong, there is no way the android segment is 50% of the iPhone segment, more like 20% in your image.

Maybe most of android phone user realized how difficult to type and browse the Internet even on their huge super amoled LCD screen or they easily get bored with their complicated android phone and begin to wonder "Did I bought the wrong phone?". Haha.

Maybe next time you make fun of someone based on their choice in devices you will use proper spelling and grammar. Now run along and live your sad life judging people based on electronic goods.

Haha! Looks like some one just stepped in her dog poop. Definitely a typical fandroid grammar police who polluted this website. Shhh.. go play outside. Lol.

LoL - keep holding onto these stats, just like those iphone market share numbers, tablet market share numbers, number of apps, etc. etc.. Just setting yourself up for your dreams to be crushed again. Keep grasping for those straws :P

Actually, I think your questions are pretty satisfying reasons:
"Do people upgrading from feature phones to a cheap or big screen Android simply keep using it as a feature phone and not bother with things like web browsers?"
- I'd say the answer is yes to a large extent. The experience browsing on most phones has been so horrible, people don't use it. I used 'smart phones' for years beginning with the Palm Treos and until the iOS devices, they simply weren't worth the frustration. Even if this is now different, I'd guess old habits die hard. Plus, Android is installed on all sorts of crazy devices which aren't that conducive to use, even if the browser is decent. Then, do you even want to get me started on the horrible cellular contracts? (When you've got 250 or 500 MB of data, you don't do a lot of browsing).

"Is the web browsing experience on Android somehow less discoverable or enjoyable?"
- Answered above, but I think it's more the devices themselves which are often the problem.

"Do expert users simply not care to use the web?"
- Even if they do, there aren't enough of them. Like it or not, us tech geeks make up a pretty small percentage of smart-phone and tablet users.... especially on Android!

Then, there is the factor that a lot of Android devices were pushed out as freebies for signing up for things like cable tv or internet access. Most of those ended up in storage bins. Usage is what matters, not 'shipped.' Those of us who have been in tech a long time might see some parallels here with Windows. The number of 'shipped' windows units always was WAY higher than those actually in use.

"Then, there is the factor that a lot of Android devices were pushed out as freebies for signing up for things like cable tv or internet access."


Sure, Android has the market share. It's no question why, they give away their devices. When you can get an android phone for free on a year contract, people just wanting a phone are of course going to go there. Fiscally picking a cheap, old android phone, especially when it's for younger people, over an iPhone, is abundantly clear.

Just because something has tons of market share doesn't mean it's better.

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Many good comments and possible reasons have already been listed here. I'd add an observation of people I know who have Android devices - they often seem reluctant to pull their devices out and do a quick online check for something. I'll use my iPhone any time, any where, to look up anything, at the drop of a hat. I see other iOS users act similarly, more so than many of the Android users.

Another observation is that I am not a techy-geeky person, not at all. But I actually USE my iPhone as a tool to do things, to get things done, like a hand-held pc. I use a wide assortment of apps to accomplish these things. Many of the Android users I know do very little with their devices, other than phone calls, texting, email, and some pictures. But often very little else. I've never understood this. Especially since the devices seem quite capable, especially the newer models with the newest 2 versions of Android OS.

It might be because as someone noted, you can get an Android for the same cost as a "feature phone", including free. So a lot of people are doing that and other than maybe games, aren't straying too far outside of what they're used to with lesser phones.

ok. Good for them i guess. This sort of metric is not something i have or will pay much attention to. But ok.

I think Rene glossed over the real reason. Android users who upgraded from feature phones don't really use their smartphones for anything more than they used their feature phones. These are the buyers who upgraded for little or no cost and "why did they buy a smartphone?". They buy the Android either a) because they know they are supposed to upgrade to a smartphone or b) the guy in the store sold it to them. They still text and talk, but have little clue (or interest) about mobile web. I work with a lot of Android users who have no idea how to change settings on their phones. These are the friends who turn to us to ask questions about their tech devices. My standard reply is that I've never owned an Android, but i can figure out most simple devices. A few seconds later, I already know more about their device than they ever will and I've taught them how to use it. I'll bet this scenario is familiar to many iMore readers. :-) iPhone users certainly are not all knowledgeable, but they tend to be a little more involved with their devices.