Report: half of all revenue from in-app purchases comes from less than 1% of players

by Mike Rougeau

February 26 2014

Forget the 1 percent and say hi to the .1 percent.

As it turns out just .15 percent of players—less than a fifth of a single percentage—account for half of all revenue from in-app purchases in free-to-play smartphone and tablet games, according to research on tens of millions of players conducted by analytics firm Swrve and reported by GamesBeat.

That's particularly scary for mobile game makers since it means losing even a minuscule number of users can mean huge drops in revenue, if those users are the big spenders that developers refer to as "whales."

Even scarier is the fact that only 1.5 percent of all free-to-play players pay at all, according to a January survey. So 1.5 percent of players make up 100 percent of the revenue for developers of these games, just ten percent of those players (.15 percent of total players) make up half of all that revenue, and 98.5 percent of players never pay a cent. So the vast majority of players on smartphones and tablets are now used to paying absolutely nothing for their games—an equally frightening thought for devs.

These surveys found that getting players to make a single purchase is crucial, but that getting them to make a second purchase after that is equally important when it comes to accruing long-term spenders for a given game.

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Developers, if you think your iPad or Android tablet game is among the best, consider submitting it to the The Tabby Awards 2014 competition.

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