U.S. iPhone owners are cheapskates when it comes to apps

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Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

If you want to strike it rich on the App Store, here’s a hint: make a game.

Americans who own an iPhone spent an average of $35 on apps and in-app purchases last year, only instead of forking over cash for productivity or education apps, the majority of that money goes to gaming.

App marketing firm Sensor Tower estimates that Apple had 110 million active iPhones in the U.S. by the end of 2015. The fact that games were the top app category isn’t a shocker, but the difference between how much users spend on the top category and second category is pretty surprising.

Of the $35 users spend annually on apps, approximately $25 goes to games, while the second-place category, Music, receives only $3.40, which is less one sixth the amount spent on games.

ios-revenue-per-device

Social Networking apps milk $1.80 from iPhone owners on average, while Entertainment and Lifestyle apps get $1 and $0.40. The company’s study also examined how many app installs the average device has per category. The average iPhone users has 10.5 games installed, which is two more than the average of the next category, Photo & Video, with 3.4 different apps installed per device.

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  • Dvdelf

    Do you know how many people I’ve had tell me they prefer Android because “free apps” and music
    Nobody wants to pay for anything anymore

    • jameslahara

      Lmao wtf. Okay you broke ass

      • Dvdelf

        I think you misunderstand
        I’m not saying I prefer Android, that’s what customers have said to me
        People have no trouble saying their stealing music

  • Doug Ford

    I’ve spent close to a thousand dollars between the App Store, iTunes music, movies, tv, audiobooks, and finally old-school-gotta-read-em books in the last 2 yrs since I switched to iThings. I’ve also demanded refunds from crappy apps that were just……crappy?! Sometimes I would get a refund, sometimes not. I firmly believe in compensating people for their work……within reason. Prices seem to have ‘stabilized’ recently whereas in years past we’d see wildly outrageous prices for stuff. Movies and TV have come down a bit to be a bit more digestible too — for the most part. There are always those that gouge us (FX and AMC instantly come to mind).

    I can boil most of this expense down to the fact that I absolutely loathe ads in games and apps….HATE THEM!! I’ll pay to get rid of them. And if there’s no option to pay to remove them, I block them. Sorry for rambling.

  • You Have It ALL Wrong

    You are full of crap. It is the Android users that are the cheapskates.

  • Spiff

    What garbage. Android developers have been forced to offer ad-based apps because android users pirate most of their apps. Android users earn less on average and spend 10% what iOS users spend. This article is crap.

  • PorkLoin Jackson

    lol you spend a shit load of money on a new iphone and expect us to buy fucking apps? get a clue!!!!

  • David Kaplan

    I’m not represented here :) I just spent $15 on the premium version of the Replay app.

  • http://www.designstrategies.com Len Williams

    OK Buster, now compare iPhone users and Android users, then work out who the cheapskates are by statistics. You frequently create negative headlines about Apple products that attempt to denigrate Apple’s sales and Apple in general. I’m not saying you always have to be positive about Apple, but in comparison to Android users, iPhone owners spend like sailors on a drunken binge.

  • Tyler Young

    I find it far more likely that most American iPhone users aren’t cheap but are rather not interested in power user productivity apps on their phones. Something like an in app purchase in Candy Crush is going to appeal to a lot more people than spending $20 on Ulysses or $4.99 on Pixelmator because people who are serious about mobile photo editing or care about what text editor they use are far less common than people who play a game or two on their commute to work everyday. As far as media is concerned a lot of people pay for Spotify and similar services outside the app store. It isn’t that they aren’t paying for these services it’s just that Apple isn’t seeing that revenue.

  • Jared Porter

    Interesting revelation that there are 110 million active iPhone users in the US? That’s fully 1/3 of the country’s WHOLE population of 322 million, which includes infants, children and old people? That’s quite a penetration stat if true.

    And what a recurring revenue stream opportunity. Just wait till China and then someday India surpasses the US adoption base by 2-3X!