Developing mobile apps is vital to the success of modern businesses. However, one thing many companies debate is whether to develop apps for iOS devices, Android devices, or both, with a cross-platform app.
If you are unfamiliar with the two dominant mobile operating systems and their respective market share, your business should review key market data and consumer spending trends before beginning development.
This post will explore the differences between Android users and iOS users. You might be surprised to learn that mobile operating systems offer your business exclusive features and advantages.
Choosing the right mobile operating system platform for software development is critical to outpacing your competitors and increasing the total revenue generated by your application.
iOS Vs. Android Devices: The Two Dominant Operating Systems
iOS and Android are the two dominant mobile operating systems. Essentially, these operating systems have a duopoly over the mobile OS market.
When developing software, it is essential to know global market statistics and the preferences of your target customers. So let’s explore key facets of these mobile operating systems, including the following:
- Market share
- Technical considerations
- User demographics
As first reported by Counterpoint Research, in the second quarter of 2022, Apple devices captured a larger share of the mobile operating system market than Android in the US for the first time in over a decade.
However, in the global mobile operating system market, Apple commands roughly 28 percent, while Android phones account for nearly 70 percent of the mobile operating system market share.
While Android dominates in terms of global market share, the strong trend of choosing the iPhone over Android has been reflected in the global market share over the past four years.
Not only has the iPhone recaptured dominance in the US smartphone market, but it has also eroded Android’s global dominance. Android had nearly 80 percent of the global market share four years ago. This figure has dropped by about 10 percent in less than five years.
Android smartphones control a larger market share, but iOS apps are far better at generating revenue. Despite a significant disadvantage in the global stats regarding the active installed base of users, iOS applications generate nearly double the revenue of Android apps.
In the latest global stats from Sensor Tower, iOS applications generated over 87 billion dollars of revenue in 2021 compared to just under 48 billion from Android.
The iOS market share might be smaller, but it is far more profitable than Android. Apple’s revenue dominance is even more interesting when you consider that iPhone users only have about 1.6 million applications to choose from, when an Android user has over 3.5 million to choose from.
Understanding each platform’s technical features will be helpful as it speaks to the type of user most likely to choose each operating system and device.
The most significant difference between these mobile operating systems is hardware manufacturers. Apple continues to retain firm control over its platforms and technologies. As a result, the only devices running iOS are manufactured by Apple such as the iPhone 14 or Apple Watch.
On the other hand, an Android device might be manufactured by companies including Samsung, Google, LG, and Motorola. While Androids share an operating system, the quality of devices can vary drastically between manufacturers.
For example, the Google Pixel is significantly different than the Samsung Galaxy but they are both Android.
Apple doesn’t have this issue, so it can build a stronger brand presence and control every aspect of its operating system platform. Both iOS and Android have their own digital stores for applications.
Android developers have fewer limitations and standards to meet. The Google Play Store offers users more apps, but the Apple App Store is more tightly regulated and demands iOS developers adhere to strict standards.
As a result, while there may be fewer options on the App Store, the quality of the applications offered on the store exceeds that of the Play Store.
However, the App Store’s tight standards also mean the app approval process takes longer.
Although, many would argue that tight standards and strict requirements are why the App Store far outpaces the Play Store in revenue and in-app purchases despite holding significantly less market share.
One final important technical consideration of the Android mobile operating system is that it is more customizable than iOS. As a result, users have more control over their Android smartphone than an iPhone user.
Many users enjoy the greater customization access Android offers and are willing to choose a Samsung device over iPhone. While Samsung is Apple’s primary device competitor, recent global stats show that Apple’s approach is arguably more successful.
We’ve covered some statistics and technical aspects of Android vs. iOS, and while these are helpful, user demographics are the most valuable data to support one platform over the other.
Luckily, the mobile operating system market only offers two real choices. For some businesses, an Android app will be more beneficial than an iOS version and vice versa.
While demographic data will support one option over the other, it is important to note that demographic information of this kind is fluid, varies by country, changes over time, and is subject to many variables we can’t even begin to measure.
Bearing that in mind, the following demographic data and trends come from various studies and sources, including Counterpoint Research, Mercator Advisory Group, Slickdeals, Statista, and Sensor Tower.
Here are the critical mobile operating system market takeaways from these recent demographic studies:
- On average, iPhone users earn more than Android users
- People with iPhones tend to spend more on technologies, beauty products, and clothing
- Apple dominates the premium smartphone market (on smartphones valued at over $400, iOS has 57% of the market, and on smartphones valued at $1000 or more, iOS has 78% of the market)
- In the United States, iPhones are more popular with younger people aged 18-34, and Android is more popular with older generations
- Apple users feel more secure than Android users, even though there is no clear consensus from security experts on which platform is more secure
- iPhone users spend more on purchases and app subscriptions than Android users
The mobile operating system market is interesting because one option is chosen by significantly more people worldwide than the other. Still, the other option produces significantly more revenue for businesses and developers.
Statistics help us understand trends and market conditions. However, when it comes to consumer technologies, statistics can be misleading.
Yes, iOS generates more revenue on average, but that doesn’t mean your organization’s target audience is using the latest iOS device or Apple Watch. If your target market is primarily using Android smartphones, it will be far more profitable to develop an Android app.
Your organization must use consumer trends and statistics to inform its decision-making process, not lead it. Strong user and market research is far more important and valuable to the direction of your project and business than general market statistics.
Comparing iPhone and Android users is critical to the mobile app development process. Your organization should understand who its target audience is and what technologies they are most likely to use.
If you want to learn more about how iPhone and Android compare, reach out to an experienced mobile app development partner for greater clarity and insight.