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Owners of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) mobile devices spent more money shopping online on Black Friday than did owners of devices powered by Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) Android, according to analytics data from IBM and Adobe (via Business Insider). Apple's mobile devices accounted for more Internet traffic than those running Google's mobile operating system, while the average Apple user spent more money.
The favored device among shoppers was Apple's iPad -- according to Adobe, iPads alone generated $417 million in sales, while Android-based tablets accounted for just $42 million in sales. Though this might be seen as further evidence of Apple's dominance of the mobile market in the U.S., it seems most troubling for Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) , whose entire tablet strategy is centered around using its devices to drive sales.
Apple remains in control of the U.S. market
Although Apple's share of the global smartphone market has dwindled in recent quarters, now down under 13%, the iPhone-maker has remained in control of the United States. Android-powered devices account for a larger proportion of the U.S. handset market than Apple's iPhone, but the gap is much smaller -- about 52% to 40%. Probably because of Android's fragmentation, developers continue to favor Apple's mobile operating system, releasing their apps for Apple's platform before eventually porting them to Android.
Moreover, IBM and Adobe's data suggests that Apple has the more affluent, tech savvy users -- the sort of users app developers desire the most. While it's still possible that owners of Android-powered handsets are wealthier or more willing to purchase things online, they certainly didn't show it on Black Friday: According to IBM's data, owners of Apple devices spent about 21% more on average, while Apple's devices generated more than twice as much Internet traffic.
Amazon sells its hardware near cost to drive sales
While this data may seem disheartening for Google's Android, it's potentially worse for Amazon. A large chunk of the millions spent online during Black Friday was probably spent on Amazon's website, but the retailer would probably prefer that customers bought from its website using one of its mobile devices, such as the new Kindle Fire HDX.
Since it introduced the first Kindle Fire in 2011, Amazon has sold the tablets at around breakeven; Amazon admits it isn't out to make money on the devices (unlike Apple) but rather to generate sales -- Amazon's store is heavily tied to the Kindle Fire's interface. The 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX costs just $229, far cheaper than Apple's $400 competing iPad Mini with Retina display. In fact, Amazon has started handing out its newest Kindles for free, letting customers try them for 30 days, and only charging them if they don't return the devices. Although they run a heavily modified version of Android, Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets are some of the most popular Android-based tablets in the United States and accounted for more than half the Android tablet usage in the United States last year.
Ultimately, getting the sale is more important to Amazon than what device it comes from, but the iPad's dominance of online shopping suggests that Amazon's tablet strategy may not be working as well as planned.
Google has its work cut out for it
Google, too, obviously has a way to go before Android becomes the dominant mobile operating system in the United States. Last week, Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt, observed that many of his friends were making the switch to Android. That may have been true among Schmidt's social circle, but in the aggregate, Americans still seem loyal to Apple. Statistics like IBM's and Adobe's only further cement that notion -- Android has the raw numbers on its side, but Apple's platform remains the preferred mobile experience.
At least for now, Apple remains on top in the United States.
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