Most developers only make $700 from their iPhone Apps

I just read a great post explaining why most developers only make $700 from their iPhone Apps:

  • Apple claims that cumulative app revenue has reached $1,4bn by June 2010. This is based on 5bn downloads (free and paid)
  • Several reports have pinned the number of paid apps to be about 73-77% of the total. At the moment, there are 225.000 apps in total, which at 73% gives 164.250 paid apps.
  • The average revenue is roughly then 1.4bn/164.000 less Apple’s 30% cut, which means developers earned on average $6.100/app over a 2 year period, or $3.050 per year/app.
  • However, average is not a relevant measure, because it is skewed as the tail of apps is long. There are a few apps who make the majority of money, so the relevant number is the median, where 50% make more, and 50% make less
  • The average price for an app, based on a number of reports, is roughtly about $1.95/app, which puts the number of paid apps downloads to about 733 million, or 15% of the total number of downloads.
  • SuperCollider Blog reported that half of all paid apps have less than 1000 downloads, say 999. At $1.95, that means the median revenue over two years is $1363, or $682 for one year, i.e. app $ 700 (see SuperColliders post on the economics of branded apps for more).

It is taken from a comprehensive analysis of iPhone App economics.

You really need to decide on what your goals are. Free apps are generally downloaded more than paid apps and thus have a greater reach. Advertising on your free apps can be a better option than charging for your app in terms of revenue generated. That said, charging for an app has seen some great successes.

Checkout one of my old posts: Brand Marketers: Don’t Sell Your iPhone App! If you’ve found this of interest.

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Scott Middleton
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