Study Finds Pay-for-Play Mobile App Purchases on the Rise

Paid app subscriptions are rising among digital consumers, with more people opting to make purchases, particularly on iOS devices…

New data from the 2018 Mobile App Engagement Index clearly shows a growing shift occurring in the market. That is, users who once avoided paying for mobile apps are increasingly making more subscription purchases.

Paid App Subscriptions on the Rise, New Report Finds

The study looked at the conversion rate of installing and paying for apps. It found an increase of 32 percent this year, compared to 2017.

Perhaps one reason for the rise is due to more consumers opting into subscription-based services, such as Netflix and Spotify. Previously, mobile device owners forwent such purchases. But now, that’s apparently changing.

The report included 257 billion impressions over 58.4 million downloads from September 2017 to August 2018. During that time, pay-for-play behavior leapt from 2.5 percent to 3.3 percent.

“The rise in subscription app engagement is a boon for developers, as the subscription app model provides them with more consistent revenue streams. That’s because subscription apps generate revenue from recurring weekly or monthly payments from established consumers, rather than unpredictable, one-off purchases, for example.”

However, iOS and Android device owners differ. The former recorded an average engagement of 3.4 percent. Meanwhile, the latter category increased by less than half that amount.

It’s also important to note, this applies to subscription services, rather than one-off purchases. This is likely due to the fact subscriptions are set-it and forget-it, while providing continuing enjoyment. Whereas one-time purchases tend to be impulse purchases.

“Acquiring users for this app category isn’t inexpensive by any means, but the year-over-year data showcases major momentum for subscriptions … there’s no question that the long-term benefits of the subscription model, in the form of loyal users and stable cash flow, are worth the investment in service quality and marketing spend.”

Owen E. Richason IV

Owen is blog content writer, SEO consultant, social media marketer, and website guy. His work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle, on Business.com, Tampa Bay Business and Financier, AOL and numerous other blogs and websites. is also a musician and is the founder of Groove Modes.