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Amazon says just 3% of users buy in-app purchases

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In-app purchases seem to be everywhere these days, but very few people actually buy them.

Amazon says just 3% of mobile users buy in-app purchases, according to developer data provided to the online retail giant.

Speaking to TrustedReviews, Aaron Rubenson, Director of the Amazon Appstore, said: “For developers that have gone the premium route, what they tell us is that it’s typically a couple of per cent, 2-3% that will spend any money inside their apps.”

He continued: “The vast majority of customers – 97%-ish – don’t, and just use the free portions of the experience.”

Rubenson told us that customers are getting “frustrated with that model”, adding: “Just when things get good, it seems like you’re being asked to pay."

In-app purchases, or IAPs, have been a consistent pain point for customers, with many mobile developers heavily integrating monetisation into their games.

It’s such a problem that both Amazon and Apple offer dedicated areas where customers can purchase IAP-free apps.

“It’s hard as a developer to be viable, to make enough money to cover your cost of development. So that’s a problem,” explained Rubenson. “Developers need to make money somehow, but it’s not the best experience.”

The Amazon Appstore lead told us that while a lot of developers would “prefer to charge money upfront”, they believe that “relatively few customers are going to…spend money upfront”.

Related: Best Android Apps 2015

In an effort to appease IAP-fearing customers, Amazon recently launched the Amazon Underground app store.

All apps available to download from Underground are completely free at the point of purchase.

What’s more, none of the apps contain any IAPs, thanks to a deal struck with developers – including Angry Birds creator Rovio – to make in-game downloadables/upgradeables free.

As part of the deal, Amazon pays developers an unknown amount based on the amount of time any user spends on the app.

Do you love or hate in-app purchases? Let us know in the comments.

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