Should Android vs. iOS user behavior dictate your app development strategy?

It’s no secret that the number of smartphones is growing fast worldwide and mobile apps are an essential part of all mobile devices. Most mobile phone users make great use of the programs their mobile devices have because they facilitate their everyday activities. While smartphones are offering more functions than ever, and manufacturers are looking for new ways to improve them, it’s understandable that software developers place their bets on creating mobile apps. The latest US Mobile App Survey from comScore states that a user interacts with around 20 apps in a month.

If you are planning to start your career in the world of app development, it crucial for you to identify users’ behavior. You need to know your prospective clients and to identify the types of apps they download. And most importantly you need to know what operating system they prefer for their mobile devices. You need to find out how their behavior differs according to the OS they use, because certain apps are suitable for an iOS user, and different ones for an Android one. Their choice of operating system doesn’t influence only the product you deliver but also your business goals.

Statistics show that more than 97% of mobile devices worldwide use Android or Apple, therefore you have to determine the one your clients prefer. When creating an app you need to offer your users a solution to a specific issue they are dealing with. By understanding how the operating system influences their behavior you are able to develop an app that addresses their particular problems. This article shows the most important differences between iOS and Android user behavior to help you decide what platform would work better for you.

Device capabilities

Every user has certain requirements for the mobile device they are using. iOS and Android devices come with different features that affect the user experience and influence the reasons why they prefer one of them. The user’s experience is affected by areas like app approval, notifications, OS updates, and other similar features. And last but not least, for the user to feel comfortable to use one of the two operating systems, it’s essential they to find easy to use the mobile operating platform.

For example, Apple users prefer its operating system because developers have to meet a set strict of regulations their apps to be accepted to the App Store. On the other hand, Android developers benefit from great freedom when it comes to creating an app and submitting it to the Play Store. Apple users choose iOS because they prefer a direct approach and they are accustomed to using the same UX on all devices. But the apps available in the Google Play store are easy to install. Both operating systems come with their benefits and drawbacks so according to the device the user prefers, one of them is more suitable than the other is.

App engagement and retention

Android vs. iOS user behavior differs in the way they interact and view content. Because they engage with more content for a longer period, iOS users are also named “power users”. Slickdeals conducted a survey to find the average time iOS and Android users spend on their devices. The conclusions are that Android ones spend 3 hours and 42 minutes, while iOS users 4 hours and 54 minutes. When building an app it’s important to know that Android users are 5 times more likely to pay for the apps they use, especially if they are part of one of the following categories: anti-virus, productivity, performance or utility.

iOS has a higher acquisition rate than Android because its apps contain versatile content. But Android surpasses Apple in terms of registration. According to the goals you establish for your app, you should determine what platform is more suitable for it. Do you want to engage clients for a long period of time? Or do you want to gain huge revenue? iOS vs Android development is a topic you should discuss with your software development team to figure out what option works better.

User demographics

At present, Android devices hold more than two-thirds of the market. The biggest reason is that Android is the main system used on the devices sold in lower-income and developing states. Mobile phone users from North America, Japan and the UK prefer Apple, especially the ones with a high income and education. They interact more with their phones apps and they tend to spend more to install and upgrade apps.

Income is one of the factors that influence the choice of operating system, Android users make around $37,000 a year, and iOS ones around $53.231. Apple users don’t spend only on tech, they are also more likely to spend on things that influence their self-image, from cosmetics to clothing and beauty treatments. Android devices are more popular among men, so if you want to create an app that generates revenue you should choose this OS because men are more likely to make in-app purchases.

Consumer spending behavior

When developing apps, it’s essential to find out how each OS user is likely to pay for the apps they use. Even if the app revenue experienced great growth in 2018, there’s still a gap between the sums Android and Apple users are willing to spend. Statistics show that in 2018 the Google Play Store made around $25 billion profit, while Apple’s App Store more than $46 billion.

As stated before, Apple users are more likely to spend on items that influence their image, and this includes, phones, apps, cosmetics, clothes and tourism services. This piece of information is important when you intend to develop an app that should generate revenue. Android apps are profitable because they include advertising.

The best solution would be to create an app that runs on both platforms. But because most of the times this is not an option, you have to consider all the above facts and to decide what factors are more important for you. Proper consideration should help you.

Photograph by Cristiano Betta