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Study: iOS, Android users average $14 per in-app buy

A new study from Flurry Analytics says that while few users spend money within free applications, those who do, spend big--to the tune of a $14 average per transaction.

The average spent on virtual goods in free to play mobile games is enough to buy what could be more than a dozen copies of their paid counterparts, a new study has found.

Research firm Flurry Analytics today has released data from a study of the buying habits of 3.5 million consumers across the top applications on Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms. The big number that's been pulled out of all that data is $14; that's the average amount of money spent per transaction from within so-called "freemium" games, or free titles that have paid add-on content.

As far as the breakdown of spending goes, Flurry's data says that 71 percent of all transactions come in under $10, with 16 percent in the $10 to $20 range and 13 percent coming in at "amounts greater than $20." There's an even higher tier at the very top end of the spectrum for amounts above $50, which Flurry says accounted for 5 percent among the total purchase numbers.

Worth pointing out is that Flurry's data shows that just three percent of the company's sample size spent money on free games that had paid content.


Perhaps more interesting about that 71 percent number in the under $10 range is that the majority of purchases Flurry tracked trend towards the top end of the scale.

"Within the 'under $10' bucket, most transactions are at the $9.99 level, followed by $4.99, and finally $0.99," wrote Jeferson Valadares, the general manager of games at Flurry in a post on the company's findings. "In fact, in total, consumers spent 99 cents less than two percent of the time."

The study does not break down spending differences between the two mobile platforms, which now offer many of the same titles.

A Flurry spokesman told CNET that this data came from a sampling of the top apps from a group of 90,000 that it tracks. While the time observed varied for each application, each application was being tracked for an average of six months.

With iOS 4.3 released earlier this year, Apple added a parental control mechanism that requires an iTunes password each and every time an in-app purchase is to be made. The previous policy opened up a 15-minute window post-purchase for additional purchases and downloads to be made without the need to re-enter a password. The loophole became a point of controversy following reports of children racking up four-figure bills on their parents' iTunes accounts.

Google added an official in-app billing solution to Android back in March after announcing the feature in early February.