The Average iPhone User in the U.S. Spent $40 on Apps in 2016

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iPhone owners in the United States spent an average of $40 on premium apps and in-app purchases on each of their devices in 2016, according to new data shared by analytics company Sensor Tower. That's up from an average of $35 in 2015.

Unsurprisingly, most iPhone users are spending their money on games. 80 percent of U.S. App Store revenue in 2016 was generated by games, and on average, iPhone users spent $27 on game-related content.


Spending on apps in the entertainment category - such as Netflix and Hulu - was at $2.30 on average, compared to $1.00 in 2015, perhaps due to Netflix starting to offer in-app subscription options at the end of 2015. According to Sensor Tower, Netflix contributed over $58 million in gross revenue to the entertainment category in 2016, up from $7.9 million in 2015.

Average spending on music also rose slightly in 2016, from $3.40 to $3.60, and social networking went from $1.80 to $2.00. Spending on apps in the photo and video category jumped from $0.30 to $0.70 during 2016.

While spending on apps is up across the board, Sensor Tower saw a decline in the average number of apps installed on each iPhone - 33, down from 35 in 2015. Games continues to be the most popular app category, with an average of 10 games installed on each iPhone.


According to Sensor Tower, its estimates are based on data pulled from 132 million active iPhones in the United States during the 2016 calendar year (January 1 to December 31). The numbers use estimates from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners and the company's own Store Intelligence platform.

All revenue estimates included in the report are gross amounts spent by consumers before deducting Apple's 30 percent revenue cut.

Top Rated Comments

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48 months ago

I must be a rare user. I never purchase applications and I do not have any on my iPhone. Plenty of free applications serve my needs. There are A lot of free applications that are just as good as some of the paid applications from my experience.

How could you possibly know that, since you never buy any?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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48 months ago
I must be a rare user. I never purchase applications and I do not have any on my iPhone. Plenty of free applications serve my needs. There are A lot of free applications that are just as good as some of the paid applications from my experience.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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48 months ago
I'm interpreting all this as iDevice users are EXTREMELY frugal with paying for app related content/services. $40 a year works out to $3.33 a month, which quite honestly is hardly "a lot of money" at all to be spending on an app's content and/or services. Makes you wonder how much some developers are struggling to make some ROI for their app-dev work.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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48 months ago
I don't think I've spent $40 in the aggregate in the 6 1/2 years that I've had an iPhone.
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48 months ago
Seeing as iPhones are now devices parents shove in front of their kids faces so they don't "bother them"....I'm not surprised.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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48 months ago
It is incredible how much money some people spend in freemium games. I've never ever been tempted to spend any real money in a freemium game. Ever. I've only purchased a few apps like Lapse It, Pixelmator, and a couple non-freemium games. And sometimes I pay to remove ads.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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