updated 04:40 pm EST, Mon November 9, 2009
iTunes only store seeing visit growth
iTunes is the only music store seeing a significant boost to the number of purchases at its shop, online banking site Mint notes in a recent look at its own data. While those visiting Apple's music store have always bought more frequently, shopping about 2 to 2.5 times a month, the introduction of variable pricing in April has actually led to customers now buying an average of nearly 3.5 times a month as of July. In contrast, none of its competitors have ventured significantly past 1.5 visits.
Simultaneously, however, iTunes visitors spend the least amount of money in the same period and so far have been unwilling to budge in the past year. In the first half of 2009, customers spent only about $7 per transaction on music and only increased their spending by just 1 percent year-over-year. Those at subscription services like eMusic and Rhapsody, meanwhile, compensated for their fewer transactions by spending more at $15 and $16 respectively; their average spending was up 12 percent. Among the digital outlets tracked, only Napster saw its spending drop, dropping 23 percent down to the same $15 as eMusic. Most of these stores have per-track purchases but often put the emphasis on unlimited downloads for the typical $13 to $15 per month.
Online CD retailers have suffered in the period, as on-demand shop CD Baby and its discount competitor FYE have seen 3 percent and 9 percent declines each in the amount of spending per person but, by necessity, also have the highest amount of spending with each transaction. A CD Baby customer typically spends $22 while FYE customers spend $34, or nearly five times more than an iTunes user's visit.
Download stores are still expected to supplant stores offering physical CDs, as purely digital sales have shot up from 20 percent in 2007 to 36 percent in the first half of the year.