For years Android has been viewed as, literally, the poor man's operating system - especially by retailers. I never myself rated it: the 'fun' robot logo that looks like a smiling medical waste bin and the connotations of Marvin the Paranoid Android did little to endear it to me. And yes, I have used it: my son has a Hudl. I still don't like it.
But that is all changing. Aside from my somewhat random reasoning as to why I don't like it, retailers have always shied away on the whole from getting too carried away in developing for the OS for the simple reason that, stats show that people who own Droid phones don't spend as much. It's a lovely bit of techno-class snobbery. This thinking is, however, flawed.
This week has been something of an Android epiphany week for me. All at once it is flavour of the month. A study by Poqstudio
has found that Android users are in fact much more interactive with their apps than Apple users and, more importantly, they are not all skint chancers and on benefits. In fact there are enough high end Droid phones out there now to make them a powerful bunch of purchasers.
Marking this fact, House of Fraser has rolled out an Android version of its app
. Such a move, by a high end retailer, is interesting. It features a whole load of features not yet in the iOS version and is part of HOF's relentless cyber-stomp towards being a retailer that is mobile front and centre.
This is significant because HoF is a shop for well-to-do people and shows that this idea that Android users are tight is finally falling away.
Backing this up are stats from, of all places, pitchup.com
, which shows that traffic to its site – on the Internet, not a campsite I assume – is increasingly showing a high degree of Android users.
Camping these days is the preserve of the ethically-minded-back-to-nature-slum-it-for-a-week-glamping middle classes. I should know, I am one. And I like camping. Again this demonstrates that Android is seeping into every facet of society and the rise of Android has begun.
I'm pretty sure they aren't quaking in their boots in Cupertino... If they are I am sure that they can be-still their palpating knees by peering happily at the billions of dollars they keep in the money pit at the centre of the 'infinite loop' (they really should change their address to Infinite Loot - Ed.). But it should get retailers thinking.
A year ago it was nice to have an app and if you did have an app it was probably iOS – that's what the boss uses and that's what the other bosses with similarly deep pockets use. Not any more. Now having apps on both Android and iOS is essential. You probably will also need a Windows Mobile one too before you know (there's a sentence I never thought I'd write in anger). M-retail is democratising.
This makes it all the more complex for the retail world – and expensive – but 2015 will prove that it is essential that all mobile bases are covered. Later this week your latest copy of Internet Retailing magazine is going to land on your desks and with it the IRUK Top 500, our look at who's doing what well in the world of etail. It will be interesting to see how by 2016 the influence of Android has impacted the retailers listed therein. If you aren't registered as a reader then click here and sign up to get your copy of this vital and compelling research