The results are in: PayPal just released its Digital Goods Economy Survey. The survey analyzed habits, behaviors and consumer trends in the gaming and eBook marketplaces. The research study was commissioned with games data and market research company SuperData Research. Data was collected from 10,000 participants in 10 countries, including the U.S.
“Our research insights help merchants of all sizes better understand how consumers are spending their time and money with digital goods, enabling them to cater to this growing audience,” said Melissa O’Malley, director of global initiatives at PayPal. “Digital goods are a critical driver of eCommerce. Digital media consumers are growing as online marketplaces become more convenient, devices become more accessible and storing and streaming content on one device becomes more reliable.”
Smartphones dominate gaming console use in the U.S. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they use smartphones to game. Fifty-nine percent reported using tablets, and only 47 percent said they use a PC laptop. Take note, merchants — SuperData Research estimates the mobile games market will account for 49 percent ($37.6 billion) of the total global games market ($77.3 billion) in 2016.
Another key finding of the study gives interesting insights into payment method selection in the U.S. Eighty percent of eBooks customers and 82 percent of gaming consumers cited “ease of use” as the top reason for choosing their preferred method of payment. Quick payment processing was the second most popular reason. Twenty-five percent or fewer of gamers and eBook readers chose security as a prime determiner.
“Payment method preference varies by market and by what is being purchased,” said O’Malley. “Outside of the U.S., the ‘most secure payment method’ drove payment method choice, especially across the gaming vertical. U.S. merchants have an opportunity to grab market share through the promotion of secure platforms and payment systems. PayPal’s Buyer Protection for intangible goods is another way merchants can encourage their customers to purchase.”
The study also analyzed digital piracy trends and impressions, finding that 33 percent of eBook readers and 31 percent of gamers stated piracy hurts authors, publishers and developers. And only 11 percent of readers and 7 percent of gamers said piracy was acceptable if the content was too expensive. This may indicate that the best way for merchants to combat piracy would be to focus on how it affects individual creators rather than the larger company.
Other key insights include that American eBook consumers prefer multi-use devices to eReaders. The study also found that 21 percent of digital media consumers in the U.S. prefer using Amazon Payments to purchase non-gaming content. PayPal is the eWallet of choice for gamers.