PayPal’s new study of digital media offers seven “key takeaways”:
1. Digital media popularity: Digital media consumers in the US are more likely to pay for video game content than eBooks (46% versus 38%), but the opposite is true in countries including the UK and Japan.
2. Average spending: Due to the high upfront price of console and PC games, average game spending is at least three times high as eBook spending in most markets.
3. eBooks: Dedicated eReaders are popular in western markets, while eastern markets like Japan, Poland and Russia mostly use non-dedicated computers or mobile devices.
4. Gaming: Because of the console market’s focus on high-priced AAA games, average console spending is highest in all markets except France and Germany, where PC game spending barely edges console.
5. Piracy: Russians pirate music and eBooks at the highest rate, blaming high prices.
6. Gaming Video Content: 68% of digital media consumers between 18 and 34 years old watch videos online about games across all markets.
7. Payment preferences: 92% of EU computer gamers prefer to use PayPal since it is widely available on gaming marketplaces and helps payers feel more secure.
And now some questions. Was the 10,000-consumer study, which PayPal did “in partnership with SuperData Research,” limited just to PayPal users? Perhaps not. Recruitment was from “online panels.”
If the study was PayPal-limited, however, could it really have included the Amazon factor? Here in United States, for example, Amazon by far is the main way to buy ebooks. What’s more, how about other big retail sites where consumers might not use PayPal? The terrain could vary significantly vary, country by country.
Regardless, the PayPal study is one more indication of the extent to which ebooks face competition from video games.
Would that publishers consider this before raising prices! Most ebooks are not literary in the academic sense. They’re entertainment, especially the ones sold on Amazon, and many people will turn to other digital media if Big Five publishers keep overpricing their digital wares.
Although overpricing of ebooks may send some people back to paper, the dream of the traditionalists, this is really an accidental attack on reading. Same, of course, for DRM. The longer people buy ebooks, the more likely they’ll be to run up against DRM hassles.