THE PERCEPTION OF HIGH COSTS CONTINUES TO HOLD BACK MOBILE DATA USAGE, says a new survey from 3ple-Media. Last year, just 32 percent of mobile subscribers surveyed said that the believed receiving multimedia content on their mobile would be “too expensive”, but that figure jumped to 58 percent this year. Meanwhile, 65 percent of operators surveyed agreed that cost was the biggest obstacle to users getting multimedia content. Source
The bottom line: While flat-rate data plans have become more pervasive, and mobile data use has increased, cost still remains a very sticky subject, particularly for content not covered under unlimited data plans. This is a huge issue for operators and content providers looking to increase uptake of mobile content, but the implication is pretty clear: consumers don’t have good pricing information, and they’re hesitant to shell out without it.
THERE’S A MIDDLE CLASS OF IPHONE APP DEVELOPERS, says mobile apps analytics company Flurry, with them bigger than independent developers, but much smaller than the traditional mobile powerhouses. The company studied the distribution of the most popular games on US carrier decks and in the Apple App Store, and found that the iPhone environment wasn’t dominated by the same big names (EA, Gameloft, Namco, etc.), but rather by smaller, newer developers.
Flurry says the cost of content is a big issue: it notes that in the App Store, EA’s games mostly run from $5 to $10, compared to the $1 to $2 of other more popular games. It also notes that just before it conducted its analysis, Gameloft sliced the cost of its iPhone games to 99 cents; consequently 3 of its games leapt into the top 25 list. Source
The bottom line: Once again, these figures show how price-sensitive consumers are when it comes to mobile content. The question for the likes of EA, though, falls back to that wonderful economic concept of price elasticity: by cutting the price of a $5 game to $1, will they get 5 times as many buyers? It’s hard to get a read on that from Flurry’s data, but anecdotally, it seems that users have a much easier time paying the mental transaction cost of a 99-cent app, and the lower price tempts a lot more curious buyers.
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