MEF: Mobile content purchase volumes fall for first time ever, to 42%

According to the third annual Global Consumer Survey from the Mobile Enterprise Forum, the industry witnessed its first decrease in purchase volumes of digital content, from 54 percent of mobile media users in 2012 to 42 percent in 2013. The MEF surveyed more than 10,000 users across 13 countries as part of its research.

"This could be seen as alarming for the mobile industry. However, there is a broader picture to consider," the firm said in its report. "The research reveals a substantial rise in the proportion of mobile media users prepared to buy high-value items through the handset. The findings show that, while the number of purchases may be falling, the value of individual purchases is going up."

The MEF said mobile purchases have increased on the high end.

The firm explained that the trend points to the rise of the "big spender." In 2012, MEF said 43 percent of all purchases were defined as "low spend" (under $15.99 or equivalent) while 31 percent were "high spend" (over $151). In 2013, the firm said the proportion of low and medium priced purchases both fell--but high spend jumped eight points to 39 percent. And "the trend is set to continue," the firm said.

The MEF report suggests that those developers who have invested in strategies to boost engagement and monetization have a better chance of finding paying customers. While it may be a little early to carve out the "super apps" from the rest of the pack, they may be the ones more likely to sit at the top of the app store charts.

In other findings from the report:

  • 65 percent of all mobile media users globally have purchased goods or services from their mobile device 
  • 61 percent of mobile media users have downloaded a free app 
  • The freemium model is most prevalent in developed markets (U.S., U.K., China) where 72 percent of users have downloaded a free app in the last six months. 
  • Trust is an even greater barrier to mobile content and commerce adoption than ever cited by 40 percent of this year's respondents 

For more:
- check out the executive summary and full report here

Related Stories:
Flurry: More developers with 1M monthly active users than ever before
Distimo, MEF report says free apps with in-app purchases generate 'majority of revenue'