Tablet owners spend significantly more on smartphone applications than those who do not own a tablet, according to the latest results from Analysys Mason’s European and U.S. Connected Consumer Survey, with the share of smartphone owners who spend more than $6.50 a month on apps nearly three times higher for tablet owners.
Consumers who own a tablet typically have more disposable income than those who do not own such a device, and are more likely to own high-end smartphones on which app spend is higher and more prevalent. More than 60 percent of tablets owners who have installed apps on their smartphones have paid for an app compared with 40 percent of non-tablet owners.
Application spending is driven by a minority of users, which therefore generates intense competition among app publishers and little revenue for operators providing billing capabilities on app stores, according to the results.
"The ability to isolate, understand and then encourage users to spend more on apps is critical for a long-term sustainable app strategy. Multi-device ownership is also known to drive mobile data spend," the report noted. "Operators can bundle app vouchers with multi-device tariffs to differentiate from the competition and drive multi-device connectivity onto their network."
The annual survey, which covers the telecoms and media usage and preferences of 6,600 consumers in France, Germany, Poland, Spain, the U.K. and the United States, revealed that more than half (53 percent) of smartphone respondents had never bought a mobile app when the survey was conducted in October 2012.
Results indicated smartphone app spend was hindered by the increasing availability of free apps, the unwillingness for smartphone users to register their credit-card details with app store owners and the inability to transfer paid-for applications from one smartphone platform to another. The survey also suggested app spend is partly driven by the type of device that smartphone users own, with the owners of newer and more advanced devices are more likely to buy apps.
The survey results showed a correlation between spend on apps and the length of ownership of a smartphone. The share of app shoppers (people who had installed and paid for at least one app on their current smartphone) who spend more than $2.50 per month on apps is 10 percentage points higher (60 percent) for those who have owned their device for less than 6 months compared with those who have owned their devices for longer (50 percent).
The share of smartphone respondents buying apps, and the level of spending allocated to apps, varied significantly by device model. For example, only 30 percent of Apple iOS owners in our panel of respondents had never bought an app compared with 58 percent to 66 percent of respondents with smartphones that use other operating systems.
"New connected device segments such as tablets are driving demand for apps and connectivity. It is important that operators and vendors capture and monetize this demand," the report concluded. "The synchronization of the users’ app library between smartphone and tablets will make mobile device ecosystems more appealing. Operators can also adapt and improve their approach to consumers’ multi-device usage – they could bundle app vouchers with multi-device tariffs to differentiate and drive multi-device connectivity onto their network."