FORTUNE -- One of the paradoxes of IBM's Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping report was that Apple (AAPL) mobile devices -- especially the iPad -- led the surge in online shopping, and not the Android devices that have been steadily gaining market share.
Over the weekend, Asymco's Horace Dediu took a closer look at IBM's data, which he's been tracking for the past three years. As the chart at right shows, more people were shopping by Android device two years ago than by iPad. By last year, the iPad had caught up. This year, iPad usage was more than double Android usage.
The iPhone is also outpacing Android phones, as Dediu is able to show with a second chart that combines IBM's shopping data with ComScore sales numbers. It shows traffic per user growing on the iPhone and dropping on Android phones.
"One would expect that later adopters would engage less," he writes. "But I find it surprising that U.S. Android users would behave so differently only two years after the platform began to be widely adopted. That pattern is not happening with iOS even after five years and certainly not with the iPad which is about as old as most Android brands."
This I consider to be a paradox: Why is Android attracting late adopters (or at least late adopter behavior) when the market is still emergent? We've become accustomed to thinking that platforms that look similar are used in a similar fashion. But this is clearly not the case. The shopping data is only one proxy but there are others: developers and publishers have been reporting distinct differences in consumption on iOS vs. Android and, although anecdotal, the examples continue to pile up...
I'm not satisfied with the explanation that Android users are demographically different because the Android user pool is now so vast and because the most popular devices are not exactly cheap. There is something else at play. It might be explained by design considerations or by user experience flaws or integration but something is different.
As Dediu points out, user engagement is not a frivolous platform attribute. In fact, it's critical for companies like Google (GOOG) and Amazon (AMZN) that make their money from the ecosystem (i.e. ads and online shopping, respectively) and not, as Apple does, from hardware sales.
You can follow the lively discussion sparked by Dediu's analysis at The Android engagement paradox.
10% of online purchases -- and 88% of tablet purchases -- were made on an iPad
FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL) devices loomed larger than expected in IBM's (IBM) final report on this year's surge of online buying Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.
Online sales were up both days -- 17.4% and 20.7%, respectively -- from 2011. But the biggest surge came from mobile devices -- and in particular from purchases made on MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 25, 2012 8:46 AM ET
PC sales were down 8% Thanksgiving week, but demand for the MacBook Air was strong
In a note to clients Thursday, Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty rattled off several reasons to explain why retail sales of personal computers in the U.S. were down 8% year over year for the week of Nov. 20 to 26, as reported by the NPD Group.
Hard drive shortages, the lingering effects of flooding in Thailand
Price reductions in MORE
Online sales were up 24.3% overall. iPad shoppers were most efficient. Android less so.
Apple (AAPL) devices figured prominently in an IBM (IBM) Smarter Commerce survey issued Saturday that reported double digit increases in online sales Thanksgiving Day (up 39.3% from 2010) and Black Friday (up 24.3%) and a 200% increase in purchases made on mobile devices (from 3.2% in 2010 to 9.8% this year).
In particular: (I quote)
The Apple Shopper: Mobile shopping MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 27, 2011 6:04 AM ET
An analyst monitoring the holiday sales says the iPad is becoming 'the Mac of the masses.'
Several Wall Street analysts spent at least part of Thanksgiving weekend keeping an eye on Apple (AAPL) sales and inventory levels.
The team led by Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore ran the most extensive survey, calling on more than 100 Apple retail stores and 50 resellers, eliciting comments such as "iPads are still selling like crazy," MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 29, 2010 8:48 AM ET
|America's economic mobility myth|
|Stocks: Where to make money in 2014|
|Snowden docs had NYTimes exec fearing for his life|
|Treasury closes the book on GM bailout with final stock sale|
|Victoria's Secret model wears 3-D printed wings|