Do I need a mobile app?

Top games such as Angry Birds have made a fortune, but many developers struggle to make money from apps, with high costs and low returns; app stores take no risk, but 30% of revenue.

“There’s a huge disparity between the big earners and the long tail,” said Tiuri van Agten, analyst at app specialist research firm Distimo.

“The top five apps for the UK App Store gross $10,000 a day, but that drops to .around $400 a day for the 300th most popular app.”

With the App Store boasting 650,000 apps, the end of the long tail is littered with apps that make no money from any of the main models: paid downloads, in-app payments or advertising. According to a recent report from Vision Mobile, many developers can’t rely on apps as a sole source of income. “We found that an app has a 35% chance of generating $1-$500, and that one in three developers live below the ‘app poverty line’,” said the report.

“On the revenue generating side, 14% of developers will make somewhere between $500 and $1,000 per app, while 13% will generate between $1,001 and $5,000 per app per month,” stated the report. “less than 7% of all developers will make more than $10,000 per app per month”.