The sale of virtual goods within mobile apps is already worth four times as much as mobile ad revenue, according to Flurry.
The mobile analytics firm says the sale of goods from within apps is now the dominant source of iOS revenue whereas a year ago virtually all revenue via the platform came from advertising.
Flurry admits the idea that sales of “virtual swords, gold coins and respect points can outperform advertising seems counter-intuitive; however, this phenomenon is neither new nor unique to the iOS platform.”
Virtual goods sales already represent the primary source of revenue for social gaming on Facebook, it says.
Flurry’s analysis was based on data collected from a sample of iOS social networking and social gaming applications, with a combined reach of 2.2 million daily active users.
It quotes figures from Wedbush Morgan Securities that show social gaming revenues grew from approximately $600 million (€425 million) in 2008 to $1 billion in 2009, and are forecast to grow to $4 billion by 2013.
Mobile in-app sales are currently unique to the iOS. Android doesn’t support in-game purchases, Flurry notes.