iOS Dominates Mobile Conversions and Other 2017 Stats

Mobile has taken control of traffic.

Around the world, mobile has surpassed desktop - and in 2018 shoppers will use their mobile devices more than ever. According to 
comScore, the average shopper in the US spends 71% of their digital time on mobile.

Mobile Traffic Per Country

Unfortunately, most studies lump all mobile users together.

Here's the thing...

Not all mobile users are created equal. As tracking tools and advertising platforms mature, we have an opportunity to do more than segment based on mobile or desktop.

We looked at mobile traffic in two major ways. First, has mobile continued it’s march toward traffic dominance in 2017? Second, can we maximize ROI through better mobile segmentation.

Key Takeaways

Mobile traffic continues to grow. Instead of simply focusing on “mobile” as a whole, eCommerce stores ought to look at ways to further segment these audiences.

The truth is…
iOS and Android shoppers act differently.

While the gap between the two is closing, iOS customers still go through on their purchases almost three times as often as their Android counterparts.

To maximize return on advertising spend, eCommerce marketers should create separate campaigns for Android and iOS shoppers. It is imperative that eCommerce stores test this segmentation for themselves, as each store is unique.

The Data: Where we got it and how we cleaned it

This study looked at over 1.4 billion sessions, from 2015 - 2017. To make the data as accurate as possible, we included the most recent companies in each year.

Unfortunately, this means that not all companies are the same from year to year.

Lastly, while some studies lump tablet and phone usage into a single "mobile" metric -  we do not. We separate tablets out into its own distinct category where we include the data. For most analysis, we took out tablet sessions to highlight the differences between mobile and desktop.

Why you need to improve mobile campaigns in 2018

​Mobile Continues to Conquer Traffic

The shift to mobile is an unrelenting march. We charted the three major device types (phones, tablets, and computers) from 2015- 2017.

In January 2015, mobile accounted for 19.47% of total traffic. That month, desktop traffic was 346.97% the size of mobile - accounting for 67.57% of customer’s shopping sessions.

That quickly began to change.

In 2015, mobile traffic grew 48.83% while computer traffic dipped 12%.

At the beginning of 2017, customer’s shopped on phones 38.76% of the time. Four months later, sessions on phones eclipsed computers for the first time. 


Today, phones account for 50.48% of all eCommerce traffic. Meanwhile, computers’ share has plummeted from a commanding 67.57% to 41.47% - a 63% drop in three years.

Mobile Conversion Rates Increased by 123% Since 2015

As mobile traffic has grown, more brands have put in efforts to increase conversions from mobile traffic.

The increase has been substantial. The earliest data from our study shows that mobile traffic was only converting at .5%. Since, conversion rates have almost tripled! 

​But mobile still converts substantially lower than desktop

Unfortunately, despite the improvements eCommerce stores are still struggling to convert mobile shoppers at the same rate as desktop ones.

At the start of 2015, a shopper using a computer was 366% more likely to buy during their session than a shopper on a mobile device. However, as more and more brands began focusing on mobile interactions, conversion rates on mobile devices sky-rocketed.

From 2015-2017, mobile eCommerce conversion rates increased 123%.

Despite brands’ progress on mobile, shoppers still convert at a significantly lower rate. Computer shoppers are still almost twice as likely to complete their purchase on a desktop session.​​​​

Key Takeaways

​As the mobile tidal wave continues it is more important than ever to focus on mobile interactions. Instead of leveling off, shoppers are relying ​more than ever on mobile devices. 


We expect this trend to continue through 2018.

Maximizing ROI from Mobile Campaigns

There are abundant resources on how to create and improve mobile campaigns.

Unfortunately, most of these articles treat mobile as a single homogenous group. However, today’s tracking and ad platforms can further segment mobile traffic in two significant ways.

First, we can segment mobile by the operating system the device is using (iOS vs Android).
Second, we can segment mobile by the actual device being used (iPhone X, Note 8, Pixel 2, etc.)

This study will focus on the first approach - segmenting mobile traffic by operating system. We look forward to continuing this study using the second approach for further refinement. 

​Which Platform has a higher average conversion rate?

Shoppers on iOS convert at incredibly higher rates than Android customers. While conversion rates increase steadily for both groups, iOS outperforms Android at every period.

However, Android is closing the gap.

At the start of 2016, iOS outperformed Android by 213%. One year later, that lead has shrunk to 160%. By the start of 2018, Android will perform it’s best relative to iOS.

Apple shoppers will still convert (on average) 149% more, but the trend is going towards parity.

Which Platform Sells More Items/Cart

Interestingly, while iOS converts a much higher percentage of sessions into purchases, the average number of items per purchase is much closer. Our data shows that Android purchases actually outperformed iOS purchases until the second half of 2017 where Android numbers plummeted.


This is in contrast to a few other studies.

For example, study from MOZ shows that Apple users spend almost 3x as much per transaction. 

Although shoppers may buy similar amounts, the conversion rate differences still point to platform segmentation as a massive opportunity. 

Next Steps

As you prepare your mobile strategy for this year, recognize that customer eCommerce behavior continues to move toward mobile.

Mobile should be an integral part in your personalization strategy.

Current best practices include:

  • Relevant First Offers - All pages, but especially the home page, should be tailored to fit customer's known category, brand, or product affinities. 
  • Specific Recommendations- Last month we looked at how successfully implemented product recommendations almost double sales and quadruple conversion rates. 
  • Cross Platform - Shoppers should be able to pickup their session between computers and mobile seamlessly.

This, of course, is just an introduction to obtaining success on mobile. To learn how Barilliance helps eCommerce brands succeed in this changing environment, request a demo here.