Survey: 30 Percent of Mobile Apps Earn Less Than $1,000
About 30 percent of mobile developers say they make less than $1,000 per app, according to a new study. In addition, more than a third are disappointed in the revenue from their mobile apps, while fewer than 10 percent say profits have been greater than expected.
Market analysis firm VisionMobile revealed those depressing statistics in a recent reported entitled "Developer Economics 2011 – Why app stores are a one-way street". Even small developer shops with low overhead are likely losing money, "considering it takes months to develop an app and that some platforms have expensive tools," VisionMobile reports.
One positive aspect of the survey is that 36 percent of developers are getting the revenues they expected from their mobile apps. The downside of that statistic is that nearly the same percentage of developers -- 35 percent -- are seeing less revenue than expected, compared to just 8 percent that have experienced revenues surpassing expectations.
In terms of specific platforms, Apple's iOS still leads the profit pack. Using Symbian as the baseline (for reasons that were unclear in the report), VisionMobile compared the money-making potential of the platforms, and iOS developers on average report making 3.3 times as much profit as Symbian developers. Java ME, surpisingly, came in second at 2.7 times the revenue of Symbian, with BlackBerry (about 2.4 times) and Android (about 1.7 times) taking the next several spots.
In all the report prefers to accentuate the positive in its summary, stating that trends are heading in the right direction:
"Monetisation may still be a pain point for a significant portion of the developer base, but at the same time 1,000s of companies are after commissioned iPhone or Android work and salaries are on the rise."
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.