Is There Money in App Development? The Profitability of Today’s App Industry

2 min read
Aug 23, 2017

How much money can an app make? The answer depends on a variety of circumstances.

It seems like everybody is trying to create an app. Whether it’s a business looking to connect with customers, a gamer seeking to make the next Angry Birds, or a nonprofit hoping to fuel their fundraising potential, everybody wants a piece of the app development industry. But, with over three million apps in circulation, is the app development industry really that profitable?

The Economics of App Development

As of 2013, the Apple App Store had paid off roughly $5 billion in profits to app developers in the course of a year. Android paid about $900 million to their app developers within the same timeframe, with about 150,000 app developers total. That equals about $6,000 per developer, though obviously some were much more successful than others.

Which App Medium Is Most Successful?

When it comes to developing an app, you have three main choices at your disposal. You can develop for the Apple App Store, Android, or Microsoft. Google Android holds the largest portion of the market, with 900 million users. The Apple App Store boasts about 600 million users, while also being much more competitive when approving new apps. Microsoft holds, by far, the least amount of the market, having roughly 12 million total users. 

As of 2013, the Apple App Store had paid off roughly $5 billion in profits to app developers.Click To Tweet

The medium you choose, however, shouldn’t solely depend on the number of users each platform has, but also the competitiveness of the company and the marketing potential it offers. To create a profitable app, you’ll probably want to stick with Google Android or the Apple App Store, both of which serve as viable options with a vast market potential.

App Success Is Often Unpredictable

If you want to create an app that’s successful in the marketplace, you need to think wisely about what the app will do, how you’ll develop the app, and how you’ll market the app to the public. However, keep in mind that the success of an app is often unpredictable, and sometimes completely arbitrary. Take Angry Birds for example. Angry Birds hardly needs an introduction, given it was once the most widely downloaded game available. Costing $100,000 to develop and taking eight months to build, it was a well-thought-out app that took considerable resources to produce.

Oftentimes, simple yet engaging apps are the most profitable of all.

Enter Bubble Ball, an app created by an inexperienced 14-year-old and his mom. The app was made without much money or knowledge, contained very basic graphics, and yet somehow topped the charts, knocking Angry Birds from its pedestal. This example isn’t to scare off app developers, but rather, to let you know that the success of an app can be random. If your first app doesn’t succeed, try again with yet another great idea.

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A Great App Starts with a Great Development Platform


The economic viability of app development is hard to pin down, and it really just depends on the creativity and usefulness of the app. Every great app starts with an excellent app development platform. With the right app development platform, you can develop the app more quickly, with fewer resources, and ensure greater attention to detail. Contact us, and start building your app today.

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