Blog Post

Square merchants are increasingly using Androids, not iPhones, for payments

Square often seems like Apple’s long-lost cousin. Square designed its first payment products Reader and Stand around iOS products, and the two companies share the same obsession for design and ease-of-use. But that perceived close-knit relationship is just an illusion; Square’s merchant customers are rapidly gravitating toward Android devices.

As of January, the split was nearly 50/50 between merchants using iPhones and iPods Touches and those using Android smartphones, according to data released today by Square, and Android definitely seems to have the momentum. Three years ago iOS devices dominated with a 62 percent share of Square devices, with Android holding the other 38 percent.

Square Apple vs Android

Why the shift? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more Android phones in the world than there are iPhones. And small merchants who are buying devices specifically to accept payments are likely gravitating toward cheaper phones, which Android has is spades. This does make me one wonder, though, if Square plans to add support for Android tablets in its new Stand countertop point-of-sale platform. The answer isn’t necessarily yes.

Unlike Reader, which just plugs into the headphone jack of a smartphone, Stand has designed around the iPad from the beginning. While the iPad once dominated the tablet market, Android is now exerting its might there as well, so there’s bound to be increasing pressure on Square to make its virtual casual register Android-friendly.


16 Responses to “Square merchants are increasingly using Androids, not iPhones, for payments”

  1. Bejan

    I am eagerly waiting for square stand for Android. I have 5 Android tablets ready to run as registers but android POS systems are generally bad or too expensive. I am about ready to sell all this equipment and buy some ipads for my business. For those that don’t know, there is no full featured square register for android right now so all I can use is the mobile version like you would use on your phone.

  2. Montezuma

    The better question:

    Why do you jokers (commenters) get so worked up about Android vs iOS???

    It boggles the mind. If you have financially invested in either or I can see why, otherwise do you have nothing else going on in life?

  3. Yeah, definitely no real research done hear. I work in the tech marketing side of the industry and this doesn’t seem accurate at all. iPads are still top due to the software stability for POS as well as credit card processing. And, the replacement costs on the poor quality Android devices far outweighs using iPhone/iPad from the start.

  4. Thomas458

    Could it be the author doesn’t know the difference between his headline and the actual content of the article? Or maybe an intern quickly glanced at the article, not really reading it, and had to come up with a title and being a bit green in the industry missed the mark?

  5. Jeff Barbose

    That’s a horribly misleading graph. It makes it appear as if the number of merchants using iOS has decreased over time.

    Why would you use bar graphs for these numbers?

  6. Kevin Fitchard

    Hello everyone,

    I talked with my editor and we decided all of your criticisms were valid, so we changed the headline. The intent behind my original headline (Square merchants abandon their iPhones for Android devices) wasn’t to attack Apple or write sensational headlines, but an attempt to figuratively show that the love affair between Apple and Square was over — that Square was just as much an Android-powered payment service as it was an iOS one. I believe the post reflects that.

    I took a bit of creative license with the headline, but after seeing your comments, I agree it gave the wrong the impression. Interpreted literally it says people are actually dumping their iPhones to switch to Android. So we changed it to a straight-news headline.

    • Mike Marchant

      Here’s the thing. Kevin.

      What could possibly drive the square people to push into Android so heavily at the moment? It couldn’t possibly be that Apple is about to enter the real-world payment stuff itself now, could it?

      Based on that I would suggest that Square is probably aware of the writing on the wall and is trying to make some kind of land grab to keep going.

      The point being is that in the US NFC has failed and it could be argued that Apple not getting involved is the reason behind that failure. TouchID, despite people claiming “it doesn’t work” (certainly not true in my experience), and iBeacon technology are showing the payment systems of the future.

      Yes, Square will do fine if you need to swipe a credit card, but Apple has hundreds of millions of credit cards on their books and now a significant number of devices out there that can confirm a transaction by a reliable impression of a fingerprint.

      The world is changing an Square are well aware that it is.

  7. Carl Hancock

    Wow. Could you have anymore of a misleading headline to an article?

    The headline implies EXISTING Square merchants are ABANDONING the iPhone and switching to Android. False.

    The data shows that Square merchants using Android has caught up with Square merchants using iPhone’s. It has nothing to do with Square merchants ABANDONING iPhone.

    There’s a big difference between the two things. You imply users are abandoning one platform for another when in fact the numbers are changing due to new users signing up and not existing users switching platforms.

    With the Square Reader the merchants aren’t buying a device specifically to use with Square. They are using whatever device they already have. By sheer numbers and the fact that Square has moved into more international markets… Android is going to see jump in the percentage of users because of sheer numbers. There are more Android devices worldwide because there are far more Android device manufacturers.

    Your headline is pathetic link bait.

    • Byron Bennett

      Hi Carl,
      Really, which sounds more dramatic?

      Square merchants are abandoning iPhone for Android! Yippieee!!!!
      More Android users are starting to use Square.

      A story that states the law of averages is finally taking root with Square merchants has no ZING!

      From a linkbait standpoint, writing a headline that states that people are kicking their iPhones out the door is the way to go. And if it is true, all the better. I don’t know if it is true or not. The data presented doesn’t indicate that one way or the other.

      I have no doubt that the author is intelligent enough to know that the graph presented cannot be used to support that claim. The question in my mind is whether the headline is a flat out lie or not. The article seems to indicate it might be (start reading at “The obvious answer is”), but no data is given one way or the other.

      If it is a lie, the next question is whether the author believes Gigaom readers are stupid, lazy, or both, or perhaps overwhelmingly Android fans who will forgive or even applaud a little iPhone bashing even if it is patently false.

      If the data prove otherwise, then I am sorry I doubted the author’s integrity. It’s nothing personal, it’s just a healthy skepticism of sensational claims that are unsupported.

      • Byron Bennett

        Come to think of it, if the author can find just two Square merchants who switched from iPhone to Android, the headline is true. Surely, there are two such people in the world, so it must be true that Square Merchants are abandoning their iPhone for Androids.

        But it is likely equally true that Square Merchants are abandoning their Androids for iPhones.

        All it takes is 2. I see what you did there ;-)

        So, Mr. Fitchard, I applaud your cunning to craft a sensational headline that is true, even if its inverse is equally true. That was quite sneaky. Kudos.

        • Mike Marchant

          Well here’s the thing, Byron, having been called on it someone changed the linkbait headline to something less easily knockdownable.

          If they really thought that they were being honest then they wouldn’t have changed it.

          Om, you really need to sort out your staff’s click baiting headlines, it reflects badly on you, it reflects badly on the site.

  8. As a Square user for our products we have created over the years, I love square, its simplicity and ease of use. I have used both Android and iPhone, and love my iPhone with the Square App. I see no real reason to change. Though for me it’s a Music, Apps and video syncing thing I love with my Mac.

    • I use the Square console on my mobile device to track receipts.. biggest next need is to see the rest of my business through the same UI. Anyone else have the same request?

  9. Mike Marchant

    “Square merchants are abandoning their iPhones for Android devices”

    Where is the data to support this headline?

    You are saying that there are a lot of Android devices being used by square but where is the data to support your actual headline, that iPhone merchants are abandoning their hardware and switching to Android?