13% of Web-Enabled Americans Buy Digital Goods and Spend An Average of $99

playspan2The growth of the virtual economy, enabled by free to play games, has been stellar worldwide as the proliferation of social games, digital media, web-enabled devices and sophisticated payment platforms enable connectivity and access to virtual goods for audiences worldwide. 13 percent of Americans, specifically, spent an average of $99 (a 14% increase from the year before) according to an annual study by research firm Frank N. Magid Associates and Playspan, a leading monetizations solutions provider. Read more after the jump.

The annual research describes media and entertainment consumption as related to virtual goods expenditure. The study revealed that 13% of the individuals surveyed had purchased virtual goods in the previous 12 months, with the mean of digital good purchase up 14 percent from $87 in 2009 to $99 in 2010. The average transaction for digital goods purchase was $50 in 2010, a rise of nearly 70 percent from 2009.

In terms of platforms and devices driving virtual good sales, iPhone users had the heaviest concentration of digital goods spenders with 43 percent of iPhone owners in 2010. Virtual goods and handheld/mobile gamers followed. What’s interesting is that purchasing a digital good increases the likelihood of purchasing again as over 20 percent of spenders declared their plans to spend again.

“There’s been a substantial increase in the number of consumers buying digital goods and an upward trend of players spending more on average than in the previous year,” said Mike Vorhaus, President, Magid Advisors. “With the proliferation of smartphone users, and players becoming more comfortable paying for items within virtual worlds and social networks, Magid believes there is a huge opportunity for developers and publishers to capitalize on this growing multi-billion dollar industry, especially as virtual credits and pre-paid payment options become more widely accepted.”

Virtual goods revenues are set to exceed $10 billion in 2010, with Asia making up the majority of transactions and North America still catching up. The survey was conducted between May 7 and May 12, 2010. It was a nationally representative online survey of 2,412 people, of whom, 1,955 were between the ages of 18 and 64 and 457 were between the ages of 8 and 17. You can find more details on the press release here.

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