Flirtomatic sees Christmas virtual gift spending spree – roll on Valentine's Day

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flirtomatic[UK] Flirtomatic, the mobile social network that lets users “flirt, meet new people and have fun”, says it sold 28,000 virtual gifts in five days over the Christmas break, between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. In total the company says it shifted over 1 million virtual gifts in 2009, selling around 82,000 virtual gifts in December alone.

This would tally with a wider trend that saw Brits reportedly spend over £500 million on virtual goods last year.

Unsurprisingly, Flirtomatic’s Christmas Stocking was one the FlirtShop’s best sellers, despite being one of the most expensive gifts, selling over 16,000. Other top items included Candy Canes (just under 9,000), Mistletoe (around 8,300) and Rednose Reindeer (over 7,000). The company’s PR were also keen to let us know that Snowwomen outsold Snowmen by almost 2-1, although we’re not sure why this is significant. Either way, the pointless and trivial nature of these gifts does provide compelling evidence that virtual gifts and mobile micropayments have come of age.

Mark Curtis, CEO of Flirtomatic says in a canned statement: “There’s no doubt that when done correctly, virtual gifts have helped encourage more people to make micro payments using their mobile and by doing so, has built up their confidence in using their phone to pay for things.”

Interestingly, aside from post-Christmas day boredom, Flirtomatic says that it also benefited from Vodafone UK’s free Internet offering over the holiday period for the mobile network’s Pre-pay (PAYG) customers, resulting in a six fold increase in new sign-ups for Flirtomatic during the period. This seems perfectly plausible considering that the site predominantly targets non-smartphones with a WAP version – although its iPhone app was finally released last week – and has a user base that consists mainly of adults under the age of 30.

What’s next for Flirtomatic’s booming virtual gift economy? Valentine’s Day isn’t far around the corner. The company says it’s “already stocking its virtual shelves of Valentine’s gifts and services”, including a Valentine’s Gift Box, and a “Secret Valentines service”, which will allow Flirtomatic users to send gifts to people outside of Flirtomatic.


  • Jonathan Deamer (Little World Gifts)

    Well done Flirtomatic! We agree with Mike Curtis that people are more and more happy to make purchases via their phone, and virtual goods seem especially suited to this.

    While virtual gifts aren’t what Flirtomatic is *all* about, these stats seem to suggest that such items can provide a good revenue stream to those with an existing audience.

  • Mark Curtis

    Mike – uncanned statement follows :-)….we don’t target non-smartphone users though I completely see why you think we do, as it’s our heritage (if you can say such a thing about a company only 5 years old).

    Evidence? 12/20 of our top handsets are smartphones, 3/5 and our top phone before the iPhone app launch? The iPhone via browser users.

    • Steve O'Hear

      Got ya. Although I’m sure you can see the point I was making. Pre-paid and non-smartphone or WAP version go hand in hand. Hence your success with Voda’s data promotion.

      • Mark Curtis

        Yes I can and good point. Interestingly we see a higher proportion of female signups when voda do these promotions…..

  • led display
  • Flirtomatic lands on Android, lets users “Like” each other via Facebook

    […] On that note, the company claims that its Android application enables users to sign up and set up their profile within 20 seconds so that they can start chatting to people, which should help to get users hooked quickly. It’s free to join after which Flirtomatic’s revenue comes from ads and the selling of virtual and physical goods. […]

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