iPhone vs iPad App Use Across Psychographic Segments


If you’re an online business that offers or is thinking about offering mobile apps, you’re faced with the question of which platforms and devices to build for. Despite Android’s market share, iOS devices typically drive more ecommerce traffic and sales, and data shows iOS owners are more engaged with shopping apps.

While many mobile strategies prioritize iOS, the decision must also be made whether to develop iPhone apps, iPad apps or both. Understanding usage context for each device (in front of the TV, lying in bed, running errands, etc) is useful, but insight into which customer segments tend to use which device apps for what activities may help you decide which devices to support and what features belong in their respective apps.

Flurry mobile analytics measures app usage on nearly 400 million iOS devices, and has created a set of psychographic segments for device owners based on app usage. (A single user may fall into several segments, the segment / device usage depends on what’s used more for what activity). More information on their methodology available here.


Device use context

Though both are considered “mobile,” smartphones are used more often on-the-go, while tablets are used more in the home or office. So the personas that skew towards smartphone use are not surprising. “Value shoppers” are mobile-couponing and showrooming, “new moms” are enjoying less lean-back time with iPad. Parenting and education activities and apps for small business owners, moms and pet owners lend themselves toward tablets.

Considerations for mobile commerce

  • Different devices are used for different online activities — not just within apps. An optimized tablet site experience is especially important for some industries / markets.
  • Mobile apps and site features should match the use context of each device. For example, store locator as a call-to-action is more important on smartphones than tablets. Localized push notifications may be less effective on tablets. Your home page may benefit from less merchandising (browse behavior) on smartphones than tablets, focusing more on search and navigation menus.
  • Android and iOS users are not the same. Flurry tracks many platforms and notes psychographic segments differ amongst Android and iOS users, thus Android users were excluded from this sample.


The “mommy market,” for example, is more likely to use iOS than Android. Prioritization of platform investment for native apps should consider your target market’s bent towards one or the other. (Hint: use your own mobile site traffic, revenue and conversion rates as your data source).

Next post, we’ll examine the general differences between iOS and Android users. Stay tuned.

Reprinted by permission.

About the author: Linda Bustos

As Director of Ecommerce Research at Elastic Path, Linda Bustos works with some of the world’s largest companies to help improve conversion rates and profitability on the Web. In addition to writing the Get Elastic blog since 2007, Linda’s articles have appeared in Mobile Marketer, CMO Magazine, E-Marketing + Commerce, and Search Marketing Standard. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, including XCommerce, Conversion Conference, and Affiliate Management Days.

In 2010, Linda earned a spot on the DMNews Top 30 Direct Marketers Under 30 list. She has served as faculty for the Banff New Media Institute’s Career Accelerator Program and Marketing Profs University, and has appeared as one of the Top 100 Influential Marketers of the year in 2008 and 2009. Prior to joining Elastic Path, Linda worked agency-side, specializing in usability and SEO.

You are seconds away from signing up for the hottest list in New York Tech!

Join the millions and keep up with the stories shaping entrepreneurship. Sign up today.