Three Marketing Tactics for Grabbing the Attention of the Emerging Apple Demographic


By Charles Nicholls
Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, SeeWhy

When Orbitz admitted that it ranks products differently for Mac users, citing 20-30% higher average order values, much comment was made about the difference between Mac and PC customers. But new research shows that this is only half the story. When you factor in mobile devices, the new Apple demographic begins to have significant implications for marketers.

Apple mobile customers dominate mobile commerce, especially on tablets. Analysis of 21m mobile ecommerce transactions by SeeWhy in February and March shows that Apple customers are fundamentally different from Android customers. Some 89% of mobile ecommerce sales were on iOS, with 70% of total mobile sales coming from iPad alone.

Remember that there are significantly more Android devices than iOS devices, so this shouldn’t be the case if Android customers were the same. In fact, Android should drive more mobile sales.

Digging into this in more detail by looking at web traffic sources, we see that Android usage is higher than iOS over cellular, but iOS usage is much higher over WiFi, which suggests that Android users have less access to WiFi (or aren’t using it). In fact, Android device usage patterns suggest they are used more as utilitarian devices, helping to achieve tasks when out of the home, such as finding stores, and accessing the Web using cellular. Those are patterns we normally associate with smartphones—many fewer purchases, with a much smaller average order value than tablets.

Tablets are used in a fundamentally different way from smartphones. Used primarily at home, on the couch, and in bed, tablets are a recreational device with dramatically higher average order values than desktops or smartphones, and generating three times more revenue for ecommerce merchants than phones.

Are Apple Customers Really Different?

Apple was first to market with the iPad, and it has a larger market share. Could this account for the difference, or are Apple customers really different?

In a consumer survey (SeeWhy April 2013) of 1,500 US consumers, there are clear differences in the demographics of Apple phone owners; they tend to be younger, better educated, living in urban areas, and are more affluent than Android users. Some 60% of Apple phone users earn over $75,000 per year, compared with only 44% of Android phone owners.

When it comes to market share 10.3% of US online consumers own an iPad, while 8.9% own an Android tablet. That means there are a lot of Android tablets out there not being used for shopping.

Why Apple Customers Spend More on Mobile

There are three fundamental reasons why Apple customers are spending more on mobile.
1. Premium customers

Apple customers chose to buy the premium product in the market attracted by style, fashion, and form. They are prepared to pay extra. Their demographic profile is different, and they are more affluent. This is a premium, sophisticated market that chooses high-end products and one that most marketers will want to tap.

2. Tablets

While there are slightly more Apple tablets in the market than Android ones and therefore we should expect more Apple conversions, Android tablets are not being used for shopping at anything like the same rate. By comparison, Apple tablets are shopping machines, being used late into the evening as part of an evening’s recreation.

3. Usability

There is some evidence that suggests that Apple tablets are easier to use… and somehow more engaging. Easy WiFi connections may be part of the story, coupled with more apps, and a consistent app experience that encourages user engagement. If users spend more time on the device, and are using WiFi to surf recreationally on a big screen device while sipping a glass of wine on the couch in the evening, then purchases follow. 

Three Tactics for the Emerging Apple Demographic

How can marketers leverage the Apple demographic?

1. Optimize for Apple tablets

Ecommerce sites should focus on the getting a full website experience (product range, product detail, functionality, etc.) optimized for tablets. Customers have shown that they prefer a tablet version of the full site over a shopping app. This suggests that a priority for ecommerce businesses should be to optimize natively for iPad first.Since this device alone accounts for 70% of mobile sales, this should not be a hard decision. There are now sufficient case studies that show that where merchants have built device optimized experiences, significant increases in conversions, average order values and revenue have followed.

2. Treat Apple customers differently

Orbitz have shown that showing a different product mix, more suited to a particular segment can drive incremental revenues. Just as you may already segment high-value traffic sources and show different content, if you make it easier for your Apple customers to find the types of premium products they are more likely to buy, then sales will increase. Be wary though of offering differential pricing on different devices.

3. Adapt (or implement) remarketing strategies

If you’re not already remarketing with retargeted advertising and browse-based email campaigns, you need to. Now that you can recognize high-value customers easily, giving them a nudge will drive more to purchase. You should test adjusting your retargeting strategies to recognize the higher value of Apple customers and adapting your emails, so that they display well on mobile devices (though Apple is very good in general with emails). Perhaps more importantly is to recognize that an iPhone shopper is unlikely to buy now, but is probably a high-value client. Remarketing can deliver great personalized service to bring them back on a different device to purchase.

We’ve reached a point now where, for the immediate future at least, tablet-based commerce is big and growing bigger fast, and dominated by Apple customers. It’s time to leverage this knowledge and accept that we now have a new demographic.

This article originally appeared on

About the Author

nicholls-hCharles Nicholls is Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of SeeWhy, blogger, ecommerce visionary, and author of ‘The Top Ten Converting Websites‘ and ‘In Search of Insight. Recognizing that traditional Web Analytic approaches are limited to historical analysis, Nicholls founded SeeWhy in 2003 to make ecommerce more relevant to individual visitors and customers through real time web analytics. Nicholls, a 20-year veteran of the software industry in the US and Europe, is internationally recognized as one of the preeminent thinkers in the Analytics space. In 2003 The Massachusetts Institute of Technology selected Nicholls as a global leader in Intrapreneurship following his highly innovative creation of Business Objects Analytics. In his role as an advisor to leading companies globally, Nicholls has worked with many of the world’s top companies on their web and customer analytics programs, including, Ebay, Lands End, MasterCard and a many smaller companies.

Before creating SeeWhy, Nicholls was an executive officer of real-time analytics company HNC Software (now Fair Isaac). Prior to HNC, Nicholls spent 6 years at Business Objects (now SAP), where he founded and led the Business Objects Analytics division. Nicholls also founded Ithena, an award winning Silicon Valley CRM analytics startup, which Nicholls merged with Business Objects in 2000.

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Charles will be presenting a session on “Fleeting Opportunities: Capturing the (Mobile) Moment” at Conversion Conference East 2013 in Boston. See the full agenda and read more about this session.

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