Mobile Digital Sales: Games $3 Billion, Ebooks $4 Billion

We often hear about the impact that mobile is having on the purchase of physical goods, but quite a lot is happening relating to mobile sales in the digital world.

A couple of recent reports reminded me that mobile has been muscling in on a number of areas previously dominated by desktop interactions.

For example, mobile gaming revenue in the U.S. is expected to grow 17% this year to reach $3 billion, according to eMarketer. Mobile then will account for almost a third (31%) of the U.S. content market.

Overall mobile content revenue, including ebooks, games, videos and music, will hit $10 billion this year, up 10% from last year, according to eMarketer. Next year, mobile content revenue is expected to comprise 11% of all retail revenues on smartphones and tablets in the U.S.

In-app purchases are driving mobile game revenue, accounting for 60% of all mobile game revenue.

To put this in perspective, app developers have introduced 1.3 million apps in the App Store and Google Play with 102 billion downloads in a one-year period, according to the Boston Consulting Group report The Growth of the Global Mobile Internet Economy.

Although many apps are free, app revenue in the 13-country BCG study is projected to grow from $26 billion in 2013 to $76 billion in two years. Much of that is from in-app purchases. For the study, researchers surveyed 1,000 smartphone and tablet users in each of the 13 countries.

Games and in-app spending are not the only digital growth areas for mobile commerce. Sales of ebooks in the U.S. are projected to total more than $4 billion this year, according to eMarketer. Video download revenue this year also is expected to grow 14%.

While the growth percentages of all these digital areas will naturally slow over time, consumers are learning new mobile behaviors.

Once a consumer becomes comfortable buying digital products via mobile, it’s not much of a stretch for that behavior to migrate to purchasing physical goods and having them delivered or set for in-store pickup.

For an individual, mobile commerce has to start somewhere.

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