Software Development Blogs

Can Price Discrimination Work in Mobile Ecosystem?

The answer is yes.

Whether you are an app developer, a publisher, or a seller of offline products or services considering jumping into mobile space to help you sell more, mobile platform choice matters.  Unfortunately, the more you dig into the issue of whether you should choose Apple's iOS or Google's Android ecosystem, the more confusing things get.  Ignore the dead Symbian, the dying Blackberry and struggling Windows, unless their specific niche is exactly your thing.

To simplify the choice, follow the money.  There is sufficient data on mobile users, since more people now have mobile computers (let's not pretend they are just phones) than don't, in most rich countries, soon to be followed by the rest.  Four out of five devices now run Android, so if mass market is your target, go with it!  Rich people still prefer Apple, and spend more on accessories, applications, in-app purchases and most likely other purchases online and offline.  Still, in a building of 100 people with smartphones only thirteen will have an iPhone, but those thirteen people will outspend all the rest.  So the basic choice is really that simple.  For niche audiences, there is plenty of standard data on sex, age, education, race, location - at least in the USA.

Back to the question, based on demographics it is then possible to charge different total prices for iOS and Android users, and the IOS platform is still likely to generate higher per-user revenue.  Apple users will also outspend the rest of the market until their share drops 2-2.5X the current level. These figures determine the overall market, and exceptions will prove the rule.  But the choice of the mobile ecosystem should depend only on one thing: knowing your customer.  Because study data is there to help you find them.

Vik is our Brand Journalist and Head of Online Marketing / PR with 11+ years of international experience in IT B2B. He's also a guest blog contributor to Business2community, SitePoint, Journal of mHealth, Wearable Valley and other IT portals.