iPad and iPhone Own Black Friday Mobile Shopping...Again

Another Black Friday has come and gone, and once again Apple's iOS devices were by far the most popular devices for mobile shopping, crushing Android. According to IBM, mobile traffic and sales increased, with iPhones and iPads accounting for almost all of it.

IBM "tracked millions of transactions and terabytes of data from approximately 800 U.S. retail websites." The computing giant then analyzed that traffic and issued a report called "Black Friday Report 2013."

According to the report, mobile traffic accounted for 39.7 percent of all online traffic, up some 34 percent from Black Friday 2012. Purchases made on mobile devices increased to 21.8 percent of all online sales, an even sharper increase of 43 year-over-year.

Interestingly, smartphone traffic, at 24.9 percent, was higher than tablet traffic, which represented 14.2 percent of total traffic. At the same time, purchases made from tablets represented 14.4 percent of online sales, while purchases made from smartphones were much smaller, at 7.2 percent.

In addition, "tablet users averaged 15 percent more per order than smartphone users, spending on average US$132.75 versus $115.63 for smartphone users."

IBM Black Friday Report Chart

iOS vs. Android

It's when IBM breaks all this data down by mobile platform that things become—or stay—interesting. According to the report, iOS owners spent more per order—$127.92 per order—than owners of Android devices, who spent $105.20 per order.

iOS devices accounted for 28.2 of all online traffic, compared to 11.4 percent for Android devices. Purchases made from iOS devices accounted for 18.1 percent of all online sales, while sales from Android devices accounted for less than a quarter of that, at 3.5 percent of all online sales.

This is consistent with prior years and every other metric on the planet that shows Android devices don't get used for much even though they outsell Apple's iOS devices by as much as 4:1. It continues to beg the question, what the heck do they do with all those Android devices?

While even low end Android devices become inevitably more capable, IBM's report is another bullet point showing that those low end devices are little more than feature phones to their owners. On the tablet side, it just seems like no one uses them for much of anything.

When will that change? We've seen these usage patterns since they've been watched by companies like IBM and other research firms. Android has grown to take a greater and greater share of the sales pie, but usage lags worse than every online game server on update day.