Very few people make in-app purchases, but they’re almost all whales

2 min read

Lusty whales

We’ve looked at mobile gaming before, and it’s not new news that mobile gamers are whales. How else can the industry rake in billions despite the fact that almost everyone says they never make in-app purchases? However, perhaps like the whale population as well, the numbers are rising.

That’s right, back in November 2015 I told you that only 2.8% of all mobile gamers spent money in apps. Most surprisingly, 67% of those people were men aged 21-35. Well, now there’s new data in town, and it appears that more gamers are spending money in apps.

Our data showed that only about 3.5% of gamers spend money in-app, but those users are big spenders, spending 30 times more than the average gamer (paying and non-paying) with $9.39 vs. $0.32 a month per gaming app.

As expected, iOS users spend a lot more money than Android users, nearly 2.5 times more. Plus, iOS users are 50% more likely to spend any money than Android users. This aligns with my anecdotal experiences – most Apple users are fine with paying for the odd app or game, whereas almost every Android user I know flat out refuses. I’d just be curious about the age and gender of these whales – has the number gone up with more women making purchases, or are those categories still pretty much the same proportion but just more people whipping out their credit cards?

This also explains more about why companies go out of their way to take care of the big users and spenders. There really aren’t that many of them, but they are responsible for most of their income. It makes sense, then, that some companies add specific cosmetic upgrades or items based on other interests of their whales.

I have bought a few games and apps over the years, but still never made any in-app purchases. Are any of you whales?


Last Updated: July 1, 2016

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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