Both the number of people who use tablets and usage per tablet user are exploding. But tablet users’ appetite for paid apps isn’t following the trend. A new study commissioned by the Online Publishers Association found that 54% of tablet users prefer free, ad-supported apps over paid ones, up from 40% a year ago. At the same time, just 19% of users say they prefer to pay more for apps with no ads, down from 30% last year.
The year-over-year shifts could seem frightening to those publishers banking exclusively on paid apps, but most tablet app publishers don’t need to worry, according to Pam Horan, president of the OPA. “I don’t think it’s a scary trend because obviously advertising is the most significant revenue stream for publishers,” she said.