40% of developers made no money from their last app


Revenue remains an elusive dream to 40 percent of app developers, according to a survey released by organizers of the upcoming App Developer Conference taking place in Los Angeles in early November. The show's producers surveyed 250 people for its first-ever State of the Industry 2013 Results report. 

  • 59 percent developed apps as their full-time job, while 41 percent developed on the side.
  • 35 percent of respondents worked alone, 31 percent worked in studios with 2- 10 full-time employees, 19 percent worked in studios with 11-50 employees, and 15 percent worked in studios with over 51 full-time employees.
  • 69 percent of surveyed devs made games, followed by entertainment (37 percent), education (32 percent), lifestyle (22 percent), brand marketing (21 percent), enterprise (16 percent) and health/wellness (14 percent). 
  • None of the developers surveyed charged users to download their app. For revenues, 49 percent used in-app purchases, 40 percent had advertising, and 33 percent were paid by a third party to make the app.
  • The iOS App Store was the most lucrative app store for 63 percent of respondents, followed by Google Play at 12 percent and Amazon App Store at 5 percent.

How much revenue has your app made?

In answering the question, "How much revenue has your app made (including sales revenue, ad revenue, sponsorships, in-app, purchases, etc.)?" the survey found that 11 percent of all surveyed developers made a profit of $1-$999 on their latest app..

"In a free-form survey question form, developers were asked to identify what they felt to be the biggest problem in the current app development market. Most answers connected to problems with discoverability--albeit from different ends of the spectrum," the report said. "Devs frequently described app stores as 'crowded' and 'overpopulated with low-quality apps'; others also noted users' expectations for free apps ('race to the bottom pricing') made it hard to charge even $0.99 for their higher-quality app."

Although 40 percent represents a large number of developers who aren't getting money for their efforts, there's still 60 percent getting something. The range of that "something," however, could be slim as only four out of the 250 surveyed said they were making $20,000 a year off an app.

What may be more encouraging, however, is the attitude developers take towards their challenges around discoverability and monetization. Most of those who were asked what they were doing to build better app businesses simply responded "make better apps," according to the report. That's probably the best mindset, particularly given that the majority of those surveyed have been doing this for between 1-6 years.

For more:
- to download the complete report, click here

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