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Report: Whales gobble up even more of the F2P mobile game revenue pie

A new report suggests that while more players seem willing to spend more money on in-app purchases, big "whale" spenders still account for a growing majority of sales revenue in F2P mobile games.

Alex Wawro, Contributor

April 9, 2015

2 Min Read

A new report from mobile app analytics platform Swrve suggests that while more players seem willing to spend money in greater quantities on in-app purchases, big "whale" spenders still account for the lion's share of sales revenue in free-to-play mobile games.

According to the firm's latest monetization report, which is based on data gathered from over 20 million people playing games tied to Swrve's analytics platform, 2.3 percent of F2P mobile game players spent real money on in-app purchases during the month of January.

That's not a lot, but it's a notable increase over the 1.5 percent of players Swrve reported spending money on IAP during the same period last year. Average spend by paying players is also up by roughly 33 percent, to $29.17 per game surveyed from $22 a year prior. 

However, the amount of revenue being generated by big spenders is even higher this year -- according to Swrve, the top 10 percent of players who spent money on IAP (the right-most bar in the graph below) accounted for 64 percent of all (measured) F2P game revenue for the month. Last year, the top 10 percent of spenders only accounted for an estimated 50 percent of total revenue.

Combine that with the claim that only 2.3 percent of players spend money at all, and you get a heady figure: less than a quarter of one percent of F2P mobile game players are responsible for the majority 64 percent of those games' IAP revenue. For developers in this field, chasing the whales seems more important than ever.

And the number of big spenders appears to be growing -- Swrve reports that 20 percent of all paying players made 5 or more purchases during the month surveyed, up from 13 percent during the same period last year. 

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