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Apsalar Reveals That Users Who Primarily Download Free Apps Are More Likely to Spend Money on In-App Purchases

Apsalar has compiled some interesting data on who is more likely to spend money in apps based on app buying habits – or lack thereof, based on a report by TechCrunch.

Essentially, the higher percentage of paid apps that a user has, the less likely that they are to spend money on in-app purchases in free apps. In particular, of users with a ratio of 0–20% paid apps compared to all apps, 52% of those users have spent money on in-app purchases. It steadily declines to 6% of users with a ratio of 60–100% paid apps on their device.

In a way, this makes sense as to why an app like Temple Run really took off after going free. Users who are used to “free” apps appear to be more likely to then spend their money inside the app. And because inside the app, the economy of purchases is different ($9.99 may be a tall mountain to climb in the App Store, but for a bunch of virtual currency in an app, it may be no big deal), it’s how these games can pull down massive amounts of revenue. For users who are used to paying a “premium” price for an app, they may be hesitant to then spend extra money on top of it, possibly because they feel like they should be getting their value from the entry price.

But, there’s another factor in play regulating how likely a user is willing to spend money inside a free app: how many apps and games they have installed. 64% of users with 6+ games installed have spent money on IAP in free apps, compared to 10% of users with just 1 game installed. However, these users who have a lot of apps installed also spend less time in each app.

What Apsalar’s data tells us is that while the free-to-play model is succeeding with users who are used to “free” games, it has yet to receive complete adoption. When 48% of users who have less than 20% paid apps on their devices aren’t spending any money at all in free apps, it shows that the model still has a long way to go for complete acceptance, and for free-to-play monetization to truly take hold.

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Carter Dotson
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