It’s a well known fact that PC users usually spend anywhere from 100 to 500 dollars less on their computer than Mac users. Something people may not be aware of is how Mac users spending habits have transcended from spending more on their computers to spending more on other items. Just this week, Orbitz released information that shows that people who use Apple Inc.’s Mac computers spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels. In turn the online travel agency is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors see. Although this is a legitimate business practice, is it ethical? Orbitz has been known to practice some deceptive advertising practices in the past. In October 2011, Orbitz was hit with a $60,000 fine for not displaying all the hidden fees in its airline ticket prices.
The more interesting part of this story to me is that Mac users spend 30% more for this service or product than PC users did. The Orbitz example is only one example of this happening, but do you think this is a trend that occurs anytime a Mac owner purchases anything? Are Mac users likely to be more concerned about ease of use (or in the Orbitz/Hotel example, amenities) than just price alone. Let’s look at the app market as an example. iPhone (Apple) users have downloaded 19 Billion apps as of December 2011. Thirteen percent of those apps are paid apps, grossing a total of nearly 5 Billion Dollars. In comparison, Android users have downloaded nearly 7 Billion apps as of December 2011, 1.3% of those being paid apps, grossing only 350 million dollars. This may not come as a surprise to some. Apple is known for their high end computers and fashionable handheld gadgets selling at slightly over reasonable prices. But who knew that the same people who buy Mac/Apple products would spend more on other things like apps, cases (see Otter Box) and hotels.
What about Mobile?
Seeing that Orbitz is providing Mac users with different, higher priced search results than PC users, would it be possible for them to do the same on thing on mobile browsers? Absolutely! Mobile website traffic is going to be higher than desktop web traffic by 2013. Companies need to start taking advantage of mobile websites and treat them just as if they were their full desktop site. Think about this. What if a company took into account where a person is browsing their website on a mobile device from and gave search results based on the average income of the geographical position they were in. For example, if I were to search Orbitz’s mobile website from a location that is known as a wealthy location for a hotel room, would it be possible to get more expensive hotel rooms in my search results then if I were to search from a location that was known as a lower income area? It wouldn’t be a very ethical thing to do, but it is definitely possible. Mobile is becoming more and more powerful and companies of all sizes need to get on board and utilize its power!