New Devices Point Way to Online Sales in 2015

Stephen Yagielowicz

LOS ANGELES — As the holiday shopping season wraps up, vast numbers of new media consumption, communication and personal production devices are coming into play for consumers, guiding content companies and marketers to new opportunities.

From smartphones to tablets and beyond, Christmastime gift giving has profound effects on digital device ownership, market share and usage, and 2014 is no exception, with retailer’s numbers starting to come in and providing insights to the popularity of platforms, and shifting ways in which they are used.

One example of shifting usage comes in the form of Amazon’s FireTV, along with Google’s Chromecast, and other devices on the front line of merging television with mobile tech — providing endless content libraries to devices of all shapes and sizes. If you watched “The Interview” on your Xbox or via YouTube on your iPad, then you know what one glimpse of the future of media distribution looks like.

For example, the amazingly high quality displays on holiday favorite devices such as Apple’s iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 put a video viewer in everyone’s hands, and coupled with the new GoPro and price-slashed curved TV screens, are bringing higher quality 4k video to the masses. It is doubtless that there were more than few new VR headsets wrapped with a bow this year as well, which may prove to be 2015’s big media game changer.

Although the yearend figures are not in yet, at the end of October, more than half (52.4 percent) of smartphones ran on Google’s Android operating system, while Apple’s iOS accounted for 41.9 percent of the market. These figures dwarf RIM’s Blackberry at 2.1 percent and Microsoft Phone at 3.5 percent and growing, with speculation that Android’s lead will continue, but may give up market share to Microsoft.

While looking at the percentage of devices in use is a great gauge of their basic popularity, profitability is harder to measure — with reports showing that iOS users outspend their open source peers two to one. This reveals that if you want to attract more visitors, then target Android users — but if you want to find more paying customers, then cater to Apple fans.

An IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark reveals that on Christmas, Apple iOS users spent 44.3 percent more than Android users, or $97.28 per order compared to $67.40. Apple users accounted for 39.1 percent of total online traffic — more than double that of Android at 17.7 percent of all online traffic — while iOS users also generated 27 percent of total online sales: nearly four times that of Android’s 7.6 percent.

As a side note, this past fall, Apple desktop and laptop users accounted for around nine percent of that marketplace, with Linux users adding another 1.42 percent of the audience. This leaves the Windows OS to dominate the traditional computing space, with around 90 percent of today’s users.

For another perspective, IBM reports that mobile devices now account for more than half of all online traffic and a third of online sales.

According to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, Christmas Day 2014’s online sales were up 8.3 percent in comparison to Christmas Day 2013, while mobile traffic represented 57.1 percent of all online traffic for a year-over-year gain of 18.6 percent, and mobile sales accounting for 34.8 percent of all online sales — up 20.4 percent since Christmas Day 2013.

IBM’s numbers also reveal an average online order value of $100.33 (up 6.2 percent), despite a drop in the average number of items per order (down to 3.5 items per order), and credit an easier exploration of product details for the continued strength of PC and laptop shopping online.

“The desktop is not dead,” the IBM report proclaims. “Even as mobile shopping continues to grow, many consumers chose a more traditional online experience, [with desktop PC traffic representing] 42.6 percent of all online traffic, and 65.2 percent of all online sales.”

The report also notes that consumers spend more money online via their desktop computers, with an average order value of $107.72 (compared to $88.70 via their mobile devices), for a difference of 21.4 percent.

Finally, IBM looked at the effectiveness of advertising on Facebook vs. Pinterest, finding that Facebook referrals drove an average of $89.80 per order, lagging behind Pinterest’s average of $99.86 per order, providing insights into the value of image-based marketing.

Overall, these figures represent a healthy increase over the same period in 2013, with much of the boost attributed to lower gas prices leaving more money in consumer’s pockets. It is a trend that is expected to continue into the near future, raising the hopes of many media companies for the New Year and even leaving enough leftover cash that porn sales (among other discretionary expenses) could see an uptick.

Among other statistics, reports that in 2014, of U.S. consumers purchasing Christmas gifts online, nearly half (49 percent) used a PC or laptop most, while a third (33 percent) used a tablet most, and 18 percent used a smartphone as their shopping device of choice. It is a breakdown that is revealing of this year’s overall ecommerce usage trend that can serve as a baseline for any changes due to all the new devices received this Christmas — as well as those devices acquired during the coming year.

One thing is certain, tablet users are fast becoming an ecommerce force to reckon with, while the higher spending rates of iOS users in particular, point to a robust market where maximum profits are possible.

Couple this with a fast rising stock market and other indicators of a recovering economy and the motive for pursuing new content offerings on today’s latest devices may prove profitable for pornographers in 2015 and beyond.