The market for virtual goods in social media games such as FarmVille is set to skyrocket by 2016 as smartphones allow users near constant access to these worlds, according to a report from Juniper research.
The report, titled Mobile Social Media: Networking, Dating & Virtual Goods 2011-2016, states that the low price of the gifts makes them an impulse purchase, and with more and more people carrying smartphones, there will be more and more opportunities to buy.
"Virtual gifts typically cost around $1... so that they are an impulse purchase for the user,” the report reads.
"This can result in the user spending more than if virtual goods were higher-priced, as they feel that they can purchase many low-value items.”
With China & the Far East as a particular source of revenue, the report predicts the value of the market could grow from US$3 billion this year to $4.6 billion by 2016.
Even after smartphones have reached saturation, tablets have the potential to further drive the market, as they offer a better user experience for social gaming.
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