The Importance of Reaching Apple Device Users this Holiday Season

It’s no secret that Apple’s update to address consumer privacy concerns has sent ripples throughout the digital marketing industry. Targeting iOS devices with ads and measuring the return on ad spend has become more complicated for users who opt out of tracking when an App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompt appears, especially for social and display ads. In addition, with the introduction of iOS 15, metrics such as the number of email opens for Apple Mail users will also become obscured, and users will be able to create “burner” emails by “hiding my email” to avoid providing their real email address to businesses.

Even so, marketers need to make sure they’re getting in front of this highly valuable cohort in order to make the most of what promises to be the biggest holiday shopping season ever, and not just because iOS currently accounts for 57% of all mobile operating system use in the US, according to Statcounter.

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Apple iOS Users are More Likely to Spend Big this Holiday Season


Taking a look at the percentage of survey respondents who intend to spend more than $250 this holiday shopping season, 65% of iOS users expected to do so compared to only 60% of Android users.


Further, looking at the share of respondents with holiday shopping budgets over $1,000, 13% of iOS users expected to have a budget this large in 2021, compared to only 9% of Android users. These findings are consistent with many studies showing that Apple device users tend to be more affluent, and thus more valuable to marketers, than Android users.

iOS users are also more likely to up their 2021 holiday budgets relative to last year.


More iOS Users Plan on Ramping Up Holiday Spending than Android Users


A majority of both Android and iOS users intend to spend a similar amount on holiday shopping in 2021 as they did in 2020. However, zooming in on the share of respondents who expect to spend more this year than last year, 29% of iOS users expect to do so, a share that’s more than 30% greater than the 22% of Android users who expect to do the same.

Additionally, only 11% of iOS users expect to spend less on holiday gifts this year compared to last year, while 16% of Android users plan to spend less.

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So, Apple device users are more likely to say they expect to spend big this holiday shopping season, and also to say that they’ll increase their shopping budget relative to last year. Getting in front of this group digitally, then, should be a key part of holiday strategy, particularly given that iOS users are also more likely to shop online.


The Share of Apple Device Users Primarily Shopping Online is Higher than Android

Over half of all survey respondents expect to do at least a majority of their holiday shopping online in 2021, with 15% planning to shop exclusively online. Breaking down the share of respondents who expected to do a majority or all of their holiday shopping online by operating system, 59% of iOS users expected to do so. 54% of Android users planned to do the same.

With so many iOS users ready to turn to online channels for their holiday shopping needs, brands have to overcome any challenges created by Apple’s privacy moves to ensure marketing efforts are reaching iOS users. This is especially true when taken together with the share of iOS survey respondents that expect to spend big this year and who expect to spend even more than last year.

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