Only two percent of Android apps use in-app purchases


By Kathleen De Vere Comment

An absolute majority of the top-grossing apps on iPad, iPhone and Android now monetize with in-app purchases according to Distimo. The app tracking company also found Android apps still lag far behind iOS apps in adopting the payment method.

Distimo looked at the top 200 grossing applications in the iPad App Store, the iPhone App Store and the Google Play store in February. It found 74 percent of the top grossing iPad apps and 80 percent of the top grossing iPhone apps featured in-app purchases. On Google Play, the percentage was only 56 percent.

The company’s report also found just two percent of apps in the Google Play store featured in-app purchases. By comparison, 10 percent of iPad apps and six percent of iPhone apps monetized through in-app purchases.

Distimo’s findings are interesting for a couple of reasons. First, we’ve been hearing for some time now that iPad apps tend to monetize better than iPhone apps. Last month TinyCo’s co-founder Suleman Ali reported his company’s average revenue per user (ARPU) could be up to two to three times higher on the iPad that on the iPhone. While a higher percentage of in-app purchases doesn’t directly correlate to more revenue for developers, it could be one of the factors contributing to the iPad’s growing reputation as a lucrative platform.

More importantly it’s a clear indicator of why Google Play isn’t able to deliver iOS style revenues to developers yet. Android not only has a shorter history with in-app purchases — the option only became available at the end of May last year — but it also shows far fewer Android apps overall have implemented in-app purchases as a payment method.

It’s important to note that unlike iOS, Android doesn’t have a userbase set up to make in-app purchases. However, Google has been attempting to remedy the issue with discounted app promotions designed to get consumers used to paying for content on its platform. Earlier in the year analysts at IHS screen digest predicted Android would begin to close the revenue gap on iOS as the a free-to-play model supported by in-app purchases gains traction among Android developers.