IPhone Still Tops Android in Shopping, Thrillist CEO Says

Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone continues to dominate mobile shopping even as it cedes market share to Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android, said Ben Lerer, chief executive officer of online publisher Thrillist Media Group.

The iPhone generates about 90 percent of mobile revenue at Thrillist, which provides daily recommendations and offers focused on men’s interests, Lerer said today at the Bloomberg Next Big Thing Summit in New York. With about half his total sales from smartphones, the iPhone accounts for 40 percent of his business, while Android-based phones are less than 10 percent, he said.

While devices built on Android software share many of the same features as iPhones, the differences in customer behavior show Google hasn’t caught up to Apple’s ability to turn users into consumers. Android accounted for 79 percent of smartphone shipments last quarter, compared with 13 percent for iPhones, according to research firm IDC.

The disparity in mobile shopping has led New York-based Thrillist to develop a higher-quality application for the iPhone, Lerer said.

“Higher cost, higher conversion rates, higher page views - - whatever it is, people shop differently on an iPhone,” Lerer said. “We see totally different performance.”

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, introduced its latest iPhones last week, disappointing investors by not unveiling a low-cost model that would better compete with Android makers like Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)

The lucrative customer behavior on an iPhone may be a sign that app developers will keep their focus on the Apple ecosystem, even as the company loses market share. IPhone users simply spend more time on their phones, said Jeremy Levine, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners.

“I see it across Yelp, Pinterest, LinkedIn,” Levine said in an interview after Lerer’s comments. “It’s more likely that Android users just went into the store and bought whatever a salesperson told them to. They have this phone but they don’t understand what the capabilities are.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah Frier in New York at sfrier1@bloomberg.net; Deirdre Bolton in New York at dbolton@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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