The Apps Smartphone Users Spend the Most Money On

Tia Winter | 10 March 2017

We all use apps to help us with a lot of daily tasks, and new apps are being developed all the time. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that the trends for app users and app purchases are closely monitored and reported on.

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Research consultancy Gartner recently released some new survey findings that actually suggest that over half of smartphone users don’t spend any money on buying apps or on in-app purchases. Of those that do, a lot of research has found the overwhelming majority purchase downloads and in-app subscriptions and enhancements for games of all kinds.

When considering app purchases versus in-app purchases, or original downloads versus subscription renewals or other experience enhancements, it seems clear that in-app spending is far more common than new app purchases. The Gartner data reveals, in fact, that app purchases rose by 4% in 2016, while in-app purchases expanded by 26%.

Purchasing Facts and Figures

The mean spending on in-app purchases for 2016 was $11.59. Paid-for downloads showed a mean spend of $7.67, illustrating not only that there was more of an increase in in-app purchases over downloads, but more general buying as well.

Older millennials, aged between 25 and 34, were found by Gartner to be the biggest spenders for both in-app purchases and downloads. Younger members of Generation X, from 35 to 44, came second and devoted more funds to in-app purchases than downloads. Older and younger age brackets seem to show relatively high average spending on in-app purchases and relatively low average spending on paid-for downloads. Often, apps are free to download and only then require users to spend money, and many online casinos and other entertainment entities opt for this, rather than charging simply to download their games, as they understand how the market works.

While games are still by far the largest purchasing category, for in-app and download spending, other research identified Music, Entertainment, Social Networking and Photo and Video as other categories that showed spending growth.

What this Means for You

Common-sense interpretations of the facts are, basically, that companies should spend more money on developing in-app purchases to enhance the overall experience. As this established revenue stream is exploited and developed more, it could prompt even more app loyalty. You’ll get everything you need from the apps that you have, as they keep rolling out possible purchases, and won’t need to download new ones.

With over 1 million apps available for both Apple and Android devices it’s clear that the app industry is booming, and those who can capitalise on where the money is will certainly reap the rewards.

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