Games Still Dominate Mobile User App Spend

Last year, U.S. iPhone users on average spent $35 on apps, both for download and in-app purchases. The data comes from app marketing service Sensor Tower and is gleaned from the 110 million active iPhones during 2015.

As expected, users spent more on games than any other category of app, but they outspent the next highest category by a huge factor. About $25 of the $35 spent on average was spent on mobile games. Music, which took second-place, only accounted for $3.40, on average.

Games also dominated app installs, with 10.5 apps downloaded on average per active iPhone in the US. Photo and video followed with 3.4 downloads per device, and social media sat in a close third place with 3.3 downloads per device.

Games cover the largest subset of mobile consumers—a subset that is also willing to spend on premium and in-app purchases. Sensor Tower estimates that each game downloaded and installed (10.5) grosses an average of $2.43.

Only a very small percentage of games dominate the mobile game market—most of them developed by big-timers like King and Supercell—and only a very small percentage of users generate a huge amount of the revenue for app developers.

According to a recent study from RadiumOne, 17% of users drive 85% of app revenue across all categories. According to Swrve, less than 1% of users are keeping the gaming industry afloat with their purchasing habits.

The mobile gaming industry is fairly top-heavy and relies almost exclusively on a few hardcore users to generate most of its income.

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