Proper consumer protection for apps customers

3/3/2014

Commission and Member States to raise consumer concerns with app industry.

Europe's "app economy" is booming. It employs over 1 million people and is expected to be worth €63bn in the next five years. According to the external app analytics platform Distimo, around 80% of the revenue – estimated at over 10 billion EUR per year – of one supplier comes from purchases made by consumers from within an application by which consumers access special content or features, commonly called "in-app" purchases. For the app economy to develop its full potential and continue innovating, consumers need to trust the products.

At present over 50% of the EU online games' market consists of games advertised as “free”, although they often entail, sometimes costly, in-app purchases. Often consumers are not fully aware that they are spending money because their credit cards get charged by default. Children are particularly vulnerable to marketing of "free to download" games which are not "free to play". Following complaints from all over Europe, the European Commission had a meeting, on 27 and 28 February, with national enforcement authorities and large tech companies in order to discuss these concerns. Industry will be asked to commit to providing solutions within a clear timeframe so as to ensure proper consumer protection for apps customers.

Read the press release via the link to the right on this page.