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May 15th 2012 9:55 am

How much do you spend on apps?

According to a new study, more than 70% of smartphone users spend almost nothing on apps, which means the remaining 30% are on the hook to keep the $20 billion app economy alive. As Engadget puts it:

We know smartphone and tablet owners like to buy games. But if you go by a new ABI exploration of user habits, most of us aren't buying much of anything. More than 70 percent of the crowd spends little to nothing on mobile apps, dragging down the average of $14 spent per month among paying customers to a median of $7.50 when you include the skinflints. As you might imagine, that leaves the remaining 30 percent making up for a lot of slack: three percent of downloaders represent a fifth of all the spending in the mobile app world.

This may not be a bad thing, since many developers produce ad-supported free versions of their apps, and the sheer size of the smartphone market means that reaching even 30% of users can result in a lot of sales. I know that I'm definitely part of that group, though I doubt I'm in the top 3%. Where do you fit in? How much do you spend on apps?


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18 replies

I pay for excellent apps I know I'll use frequently. For example, my podcast app Doggcatcher (Android) is my most-used app and I happily paid $7.99 for it because IMO it's the best out there. Plus, I paid for it over three years ago so I figure that was a decent investment.

For the most part, though, I've found myself minimizing the number of apps I use in general. I think every new smartphone owner tends to load up on apps, then realize they don't really need a huge number of them. So some of those 70% might include people who aren't downloading many apps at all, or using the web to get the information they'd otherwise get from an app. I've seen plenty of people look up sports scores on the mobile ESPN site, for example.

Did this study mention differences in platforms? I remember being annoyed by all the studies claiming Android users were cheapskates who never bought anything, and never stopped to think about the Catch 22. Developers were avoiding Android because they couldn't make money, but Android users couldn't give them money until the developers made apps for Android. It was an extremely frustrating time for Android users like me, but it seems like we've moved past that. The games for Android are still pretty darn weak, but otherwise we have most of the same apps.

Anyway, there's my 2 cents. Sorry for getting off on a tangent there at the end...
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I have paid maybe $20 in apps in my life. I don't really have a problem paying for them, especially when most cost less than lunch. I still however look for a free app alternative if possible and usually there is something that fits my needs
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I'll admit that I'm a bit of a cheapo when it comes to paying for anything digital but the amount of time I spend on my iPhone and iPad definitely justifies shelling out a few dollars for the well made apps that I'll use on a daily basis.

First, I'll probably look for free alternatives or the lite version and see how good free alternatives are. If I end up not using the lite version a lot, I won't buy the full version. If there aren't any free alternatives that offer an experience quite as good, I'll buy the app. (prime example is Tweetbot. I never had any issues with the stock Twitter iOS app even after the huge version 4.0 update controversy. However, I was able to get Tweetbot for free and would now have gladly paid for it due to the exponentially better usage experience).

I'll often keep an eye out for $0.99 sales on the App Store; if an app doesn't go on sale and costs a few bucks, I'll read a couple of reviews and put more thought into how much I'll actually use the app and note any major issues people are having, as well as how often the developer updates the app.

The main way I limit my app spending is by using iTunes gift cards instead of just linking a credit card to my iTunes account. By having that concrete limit set every time I'm in the App Store, a lot more thought is put in before purchasing an app.

The main exception to everything I just said are Android apps. Why? Because iOS apps work much better when you actually pay for them and receive updates. Pirating on iOS is a huge pain and nothing really works as it should. On Android, the app experience really does not justify paying for apps and the sad truth is that in some cases you might even end up with better results by pirating an app.
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I willl buy any app without a question if it is really worth it. I approximate spent 50£ on xbox lives games for Windows Phone
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I think I've spent close to $20-$40 on apps over the past three years. I have no problem buying an app if I feel like it's a good buy. Since most are under $5 it's not that big of a deal to take a chance on one. This has worked out for the most part with a small handful ending up as bad purchases.
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I'll gladly pay for a quality app that I'll get a lot of use from. Lately I probably average one purchase per month, around $1-3. The paid app I use the most is Pocket Casts (I started with the free version from Amazon, then paid for it on the Android Market). The most expensive app I've ever purchased was Slingplayer (twice: WinMo and Android).
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oh goodness… is this a confessions page?! I probably spend $20+ a month on apps. Most of them are business write-offs thank god
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I've spent less than $15 on app since I'ved owned a smartphone, around 2010, most of it for apps that were on sale. Almost all the apps that I use daily are free and paid varieties don't really up the ante in terms of quality from what I've seen (like Twitter for Android vs Tweetcaster Pro).

I'd be more inclined to impulse buy apps if they followed me cross platform. I would definitely buy more apps if I knew that I could use them on my Android phone and iPad or if I decide to switch to an iPhone, be able to use them there as well.
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I would say I spend an average of $5-$10 a month on apps/games on my Windows Phone.
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I have sent about 15€ so far, in the Nokia Store.
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I haven't spent much lately, but I've spent LOADS for games on my iPad. I've spent up to $100 in a month. I don't think I ever went bellow $5 in a month though.

However, for my Android and Windows Phone 7 smartphones, I still haven't paid a single penny. Both don't offer pre-paid gift cards, like the iTunes Store does. If I attach my credit card, I'll keep thinking "Oh, it's just a dollar or 2. BUY, BUY, BUY!" With gift cards, I can see my balance and keep track of how much I'm spending on my apps and limit myself if I'm buying too many.
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It differs but it's a round €2 a month on average.

I have started purchasing apps more often to support a developer
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i bet on average i spend $5-10 a month on apps (iphone/ipad). most of those purchases would be games. i like the idea i've seen in a few responses about not attaching your credit card but using an itunes gift card. that's a great idea. i might start doing that.
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I would guess I average between 5 and 10 dollars a month on apps. It's mostly iPad and iPod touch games, for myself and my kids.
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I have used multiple OS/devices over the last 20 odd years ranging from the Newton, Plam, Windows Mobile/Pocket PC, Blackberry, iOS/Apple and now Android. the most I have spend for apps on either platform is $35 (kept tab) and I own approx 25 apps on my BB, 200 on the Android and 1028 on the iOS platform between the iPad and iPhone
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I don't spend that much on apps on a monthly basis but I will spend money on an app I will use on a daily basis. Like Dignan17 I paid for my Android podcase app Pocketcasts because I use it on a daily basis.

If the app is well made and fits a need of mine then I have no problem paying for it.
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I've spent at least $500 in the App Store.
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I've quit... selling all my Apple related products.. the in apps stuff is a scam.. look up bait and switch... obviously Apple needs more money.. I'm outta here..
getting rid of and iTouch.. 2 iMacs, and a new iPad...
Seattle Times newspaper had an article about the sleazy tactics..

disgusted with Apple ..
former long time user

r black
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