Better Ask Mom…91% of Kids Ask for Permission Before Making an In-App Purchase

“Our just-released GameByte report shows that almost all children ask their parents’ permission before making in-game mobile purchases. That means publishers and advertisers need to be mindful that they’re essentially targeting a dual customer base. Parents are always going to look out for what’s best for their children, and convincing parents that your game aligns with parents’ expectations is an important step in the engagement process.

Understanding the complexities of this dual customer base is difficult and sometimes expensive. However, the publishers and advertisers that do put in the effort are far more successful in the market.”

Jesse Divnich, VP of Research & Strategy, Interpret


  • Among kids 3 to 12 that spend money on mobile games, 91% ask for permission before making purchases. Among kids who ask for permission, 27% – the biggest category – are looking to purchase items to customize their character(s). Just 13% are looking to protect a kingdom or city – the smallest category.
  • 78% of kids say being able to play with their parents is an important factor when deciding which games to play. Perhaps counter-intuitively, this appears to be true among both younger (81% – ages 3 to 9) and older (77% – ages 10 to 12) kids.
  • Allowances play an important role in kids’ spending. 33% of parents say they give their children some form of a regular allowance. 19% of parents give their children video game allowances specifically. Just 26% of kids ages 3 to 5 get some form of an allowance, but that number grows to 39% among kids ages 10 to 12.
  • What consoles are kids asking their parents to buy them in 2019? 60% are asking for a Switch, while only 49% for the PS4, and 48% for the Xbox One.
  • Kids spend a lot on entertainment. Parents estimate they spent $1,300 on entertainment products for their kids in 2018, up 25% from the previous year. One-third of that spending was on video games. Across all entertainment categories, video games showed the most the growth (+34%) over last year.

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