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U.S. iPhone Owners Spent $58 on Apps Last Year, More Than Half of That on Games

iPhone users in the U.S. are spending more money on apps than ever, according to new data from intelligence firm Sensor Tower. They dished out an estimated average of $58 on in-app purchases and premium apps in 2017, a 23% increase from the year before.

More than half of that money went to mobile games, Sensor Tower reported. Games contributed about $36 of the $58 spent per device (62%), up 13% from $32 in 2016. Game installs per device were also up about 12% in 2017 compared to the year before.

Now that smartphones are becoming bigger and more powerful, they’re getting games usually reserved for PCs and consoles. Epic Games recently launched a mobile version of its popular battle royale title “Fortnite,” for example, and it’s already making big profits for the company. Players spent over $1 million on in-app purchases in the first 72 hours alone.

Sensor Tower
CREDIT: Sensor Tower

“Now is a really exciting time both for gamers and game developers,” Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said during a speech at the Game Developers Conference in March. “Right now we are 10 years into the mobile gaming revolution. This is a revolution that’s brought more than 3.5 billion new computing device owners into the market in the form of smartphones and tablets and billions of new gamers. So it’s one of the greatest events in the history of the game industry.”

Sensor Tower points out that its spending data doesn’t include purchases made in shopping apps like Amazon or payments to ride share companies like Uber and Lyft. But it does include revenue earned by free-to-play mobile games and apps like Netflix and Tinder.

Outside of gaming, lifestyle apps made the most significant year-over-year increase in spending, growing 110% to an average of $2.10 per iPhone. Dating apps Tinder and Bumble were among the top earners in that category. Entertainment and social networking apps saw significant growth as well, according to Sensor Tower, rising 57% and 38%, respectively. Music apps had the smallest growth last year at 8%.

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