Thirteen percent of people surveyed by research consultancy Frank N. Magid Associates and PlaySpan, a monetization solutions provider for online games, virtual worlds and social networks, said they've purchased virtual goods in the last 12 months. The survey of 2,412 people in the U.S. was conducted between May 7 and May 12.
The mean of digital goods purchases was up 14 percent, from $87 in 2009 to $99 in 2010, according to the firms’ second annual study of virtual goods expenditures. In addition, the heaviest concentration of digital goods buyers were iPhone owners, who accounted for 43 percent of buyers. Virtual worlds followed with 41 percent of regular visitors purchasing a digital good. Of weekly handheld and mobile gamers, 33 percent and 32 percent, respectively, bought digital goods. Overall, 21 percent of digital goods buyers said they plan to spend more in the category in the next 12 months.
Other results from the study include the following:
- The largest demographic of consumers who reported buying virtual goods was males aged 18 to 24 (31 percent); the smallest demographic was females aged 18 to 24 (14 percent).
- Asian-Americans (26 percent) represented the highest concentration of virtual goods purchasers, while Caucasians (11 percent) represented the lowest concentration.
- Most consumers purchase virtual goods in games (57 percent).
- Free multiplayer computer games and games on social networking sites are where most consumers bought virtual goods (both 39 percent), followed by free, web-based games (37 percent) and social networking sites (31 percent).
- Sixteen percent of respondents said they've used Facebook credits, a virtual currency that can be used to buy gifts and virtual goods in many games and applications on the Facebook platform, to purchase digital goods.