Set to be released later today, the latest Digital Goods Spending Report by analyst firm VG Market and in-game monetization provider Playspan, shows that the burgeoning market for virtual goods is still just scratching the surface of the enormous opportunity ahead.
July's report reveals that 75 percent of the respondents (a sample size of 2,221 respondents was polled) have used real-world money to pay for virtual goods, and that roughly half expect to continue to spend about the same amount of real-world cash over the next 12 months.
Additionally, women over the age of 25 are stepping up their games and spending more than everyone else. When looking at the median spent on first-party purchases within social-network games, the average female spent $55 dollars, compared to only $30 for males. Females also spent twice as much ($50 compared to $25) when comparing purchases of in-game currency and the median overall expenditure was higher for females than males, at $80 to $60, respectively.
And while that seems like a lot, I would argue that both the dollars spent and the number of users who purchase virtual goods will both rise over the next 12 months as custom branded goods, along with an inventory of goods on sites like Facebook, become more integrated into game play and social networking.
Other highlights from the report:
- Respondents prefer to buy for free-to-play games, MMOs, and social-networking games
- North American women over the age of 25 are spending the most money on digital goods.
- Respondents spent more money on digital goods in social-networking games (such as Farmville) than in any other genre over the last 12 months.
- In-game currency, virtual gifts, and wearables were the most popular types of digital goods purchased over the last 12 months.
We may still be in an odd economic state, both domestically and worldwide, but few people are turning off their Internet usage. For better or worse, bite-size chunks of virtual goods are a cheap thrill with instant gratification and satisfaction, and will continue to be important branding and socialization tools.