Spending Less is not Dumb: A Case for Android Devices

Monday, May 5

Using proprietary data from Boopsie Analytics(™), Boopsie looks at the Business Insider claim that Android phones are being used as “dumbphones”.


Worldwide Smartphone Market, 4Q 2013Sunnyvale, CA – May 5, 2014 – In January, Business Insider posted an article titled “Google’s Dirty Secret Android Phones Are Basically Used As Dumbphones”. They proposed that since users shopped less while on their Android devices, those devices are nothing better than conventional ‘dumbphones’. Data from Boopsie Analytics™ supports the statistics that library apps are being downloaded less frequently on Android than on Apple devices. However, eCommerce spending shouldn’t be an end-all metric to determine whether a phone is seen as a smartphone.

The Business Insider article used statistics from IBM to bolster their argument that since Android users aren’t using their smartphones to shop, then they are missing out on the ‘smartphone’ aspect of their devices. Apple users made 23% of online sales as compared to Android’s 4.6%. Not only are Apple users shopping more, they are spending more as well; iOS users are spending nearly $100 per order as compared to Android users spending less than $50.

Globally, Androids dominate the market; in Q4 2013, 78.1% of smartphones worldwide ran on an Android operating system. In comparison, the Apple operating system only accounted for 17.6% of the market share. A potential draw to the Android operating system: Android devices typically cost less than Apple devices, but feature similar functionalities.

Downloads of Boopsie Apps by Device Type

A recent Boopsie Analytics study supports the analysis from the Business Insider article. Downloads of Boopsie library apps are dominated by iPhones and iPads (iOS devices), which accounted for nearly 57% of the app downloads between October 2013 and March 2014. 39% of the downloads are being made on an Android device (which includes all Android-based phones, tablets and Kindle Fires). Given the relative difference in the number of users, that means iOS users are 3.6 times more likely to download a Boopsie library app than their Android counterparts. We can see that Android devices are at least being downloaded to access their local library apps, although not as often as on Apple devices. In comparison, app downloads onto Windows 8 devices represent 3.72% of total app downloads and BlackBerry’s RIM represent 0.31%.

“While our libraries’ apps are more often being downloaded onto iOS devices, we’re seeing the number of Android downloads increase consistently,” says Boopsie CEO Tony Medrano. “iOS users of our library apps queried library databases 186 times per user, while Android users still queried library databases 129 times per user, on average, during Q1 of 2014. Even though Android users are less active than iOS users, the relatively high level of usage for free public library services refutes the claim that Androids are used as ‘dumbphones’.”

“This data sheds some light upon the nature of Android vs. iOS users,” says Advisory Board member Dr. Michael Housman. “Not only do iOS users tend to purchase more with their smartphones but they also appear to be more avid readers and users of free public library services. Not only is this interesting insight but it’s also valuable information for the developers of mobile applications that seek to target consumers for their goods and services.”

About Boopsie

Boopsie, Inc. was founded in Silicon Valley in 2006. We are the industry-leading mobile platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider for over 2,500 library locations worldwide. Boopsie’s library-branded mobile apps for libraries are affordable, easy to deploy and maintain, and enable libraries of all types and sizes to quickly acquire new users and increase circulation. Our mobile apps are fully hosted and maintained by our customer service organization. We build native mobile apps for libraries on Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8, Windows Mobile, Windows 8, Kindle Fire, and BlackBerry platforms. Boopsie enables 24/7 remote library access via the user’s device of choice. Visit our website for more information about Boopsie’s mobile apps for libraries.