Thanks to an parade of headlines suggesting Android's domination (especially related to platform market share) and Samsung marketing's skillfully asserting that Apple just isn't cool any more, it's easy for consumers to assume that Apple is quickly losing the war to Android. But this just isn't the case. A look at new e-commerce data delivers some perspective on the issue.
The value of market share
There's no real debate that iOS is losing market share to Android. In the U.S. and China, Android's market share soared from 48% and 70%, respectively, to 53% and 78%, according to just-released data from Kantar Worldpanel covering the periods of August through October in 2012 and 2013. In fact, Apple is suffering dwindling worldwide market share in both tablets and smartphones.
Acknowledging the onslaught of Android devices in unit market share in a Bloomberg Businessweek interview in September, Apple CEO Tim Cook countered with his common spiel on how usage statistics don't express the same enthusiasm for the Google-powered mobile operating system: "Does a unit of market share matter if it's not being used?" Cook asked rhetorically. "For us, it matters that people use our products. We really want to enrich people's lives, and you can't enrich somebody's life if the product is in the drawer," he continued.
On Black Friday, iOS proved to be the winning platform once again, according to data from IBM. iOS users, on average, spent $127.92 per order, compared to Android users' $105.20. Even more astonishing, iOS accounted for 18.1% of all online sales compared to Android at just 3.5%. Bearing in mind the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel that says Android dominates 53% of recent U.S. smartphone sales, with Apple at just 40.8%, there's an enormous disconnect between Android market share and e-commerce usage on the platform.
The bigger picture
Sure, Apple is losing market share to Android. But Cook is right: a unit of far-less-used market share isn't as valuable. Likewise, investors shouldn't give a unit of Android market share the same respect they give iOS market share. So take Android domination headlines with a grain of salt. Apple is still holding its own. In fact, the company raked in a whopping $37 billion in net income in fiscal 2013.
Usage stats, like this one from IBM, matter. This little stat is another reason for Apple investors to remain confident. With usage numbers still remarkably impressive, Apple looks set to continue to remain a leader in smartphones and tablets for years to come.
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