Amazon has jumped on the in-app purchasing bandwagon with today’s announcement that it has publicly launched an API to support the functionality on Kindle Fire and Android devices. The move comes well after Apple’s iOS solution and even Google’s, but it does open the floodgates for a significant installed base of Kindle Fires and Android devices.
The in-app purchasing function had been in beta with game developers and publishers such as Glu Mobile, G5 Entertainment, Storm8 and the New York Post.
Similar to the other solutions, Amazon’s in-app purchasing API lets developers add the ability to buy stuff from within an app—virtual money, app upgrades and subscriptions. The function essentially turns a one-off app into something that a user can return to over and over, greatly extending the revenue potential and conversion rates.
Amazon says it is using the same 1-click purchasing experience in the API, a process many of its customers already use at the main site.
In a statement, CEO and co-founder of Storm8 says that within two months of integrating the in-app purchasing API, revenue grew by ten-fold for one of its games.
The freemium model has been on the rise. In February, market research firm IHS forecasted that in-app purchases will account for 64 percent of smartphone app business in 2015—$5.6 billion. That’s up from 39 percent, or $970 million in 2011.
IHS also points out that consumer appetite for paying up front for an app is waning and preference for free apps far surpasses paid: 96 percent of smartphone apps were downloaded for free in 2011.
Likewise, a recent study by research firm Distimo that got a lot of press attention showed that Apple’s Newsstand had been generating $70,000 per day in sales. The company says that of the 200 top-grossing iPad apps, 74 percent of them feature in-app purchasing.