Although iOS and Android devices are immensely popular with consumers worldwide, selecting the right mobile platform to connect with consumers while on the move is easier said than done. Nevertheless evaluating various parameters including budget allocation, timeframe, scalability, functionality, business needs and market segmentation provide valuable insights that go a long way in determining the success of a mobile application. Every platform has its own pros and cons, and determining the apt mobile operating system that effectively serves the current and future needs of an organization entails a thorough analysis of the type of business and its ecosystem.
Studies suggest that albeit Android devices outnumber Apple devices, almost three quarters of shopping is done via iOS platform. According to a report from Citrix, iOS was the most chosen platform in business arena, with a 62 % share of the enterprise market, while Android had a 35 % share at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013. iOS gained 2% over the third quarter of 2012 and was the most preferred platform amid companies that interact with customers one-on-one, comprising retail stores and restaurants. Conversely, Android was the favourite among mobile field service firms that included transportation and utilities businesses. Besides, app analytics firm AppAnnie estimated that while Google Play grew at a faster pace when compared to Apple's App Store in terms of both downloads and revenues, iOS leads, when it comes to annual revenue.
iOS devices comprise 37.8% of the overall US smartphone market whereas Android devices encompass a whopping 52.3% share of the market. Android OS caters to a large number of devices that differ in terms of cost, features and make, whereas iOS platform is restricted to iPhone and iPad devices. Considering these figures, companies can settle on the ideal platform depending on the size, type and segment of the target market they intend to reach. Besides considering the numbers, marketers also need to decipher which operating system aligns well with the overall marketing strategy.
Considering the vast Android user base, analyzing the trends and behavior of consumers using a wide range of devices becomes a challenging task. On the contrary, analyzing consumer preferences and likes of the relatively smaller and high-end customers of iOS devices is easier to comprehend. As a result, businesses contemplating to develop a mobile app need to mull over the lifestyle preferences of their shoppers before getting into the app marketplace.
Single Platform or Both
Companies across the globe have recognized the value of mobile apps across different domains both as efficiency tools for staff and as engagement conduits for shoppers. Although each platform offers its own set of advantages and shortcomings, companies that can afford big budget investment can think about investing in both the platforms to harness the benefits of best of the both worlds. However smaller firms can decide on the right mobile platform after examining the benefits of each platform and the app development approach involved i.e. native, web or hybrid applications.