Eighty-six percent of Apple iOS device owners research products and services on their mobile phone and 69% make purchases, compared with 76% and 53%, respectively, for Android users, 57% and 35% for BlackBerry users, and 47% and 32% for Windows users. This is according to a new Forrester survey of more than 53,400 North American respondents. For eBusiness professionals, this represents continued challenges associated with mobile technology fragmentation and translates directly into higher development and maintenance costs. “The combined strength of Android and Apple in the US smartphone (and tablet) marketplace gives the impression of a simple development environment, but this perception is far from the truth,” writes Forrester Analyst Julie A. Ask in a new report.

What’s more, the report finds that the majority of firms have less than $500,000 to spend annually on mobile services — barely enough for a simple app and mobile-optimized website. But soon this simply won’t cut it, notes Ask in a blog post: “A few years from now, it will take millions, if not tens of millions, and years to catch up — if they even can.”

Additional findings in this new research include the breakdown of how firms prioritize building apps for different operating systems as well as current and future plans for building mobile apps and mobile-optimized websites.