Do apps make money? Not many – over half don’t break even

It’s surprising how many people I’ve met over the past few years who say they are set on developing their own app in the hope of making millions.

When I ask them what they plan on making it’s usually either a game or a music app – nothing wrong with that.

It has left me wondering how risky it would be to actually dedicate time into creating and releasing an app for capital gain.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing creative projects – I strongly encourage an entrepreneurial spirit.

Yet, it seems to me that an awful lot of the people jumping on the bandwagon idea of creating apps are doing it with a mindset to “make a bucketload of money” as opposed to “creating an app that is gamechanging and unique”.

However, most apps simply don’t make profit or even break even.

Therefore either people are apparently unaware of this fact or they are willing to take a bit of a gamble.

It should not come as a surprise – any business venture is associated with a certain degree of risk.

According to research conducted by the marketing firm App Promo, over half of apps don’t break even and around 80 percent of developers are not able to keep a business up and running on their apps alone.

Below is an infographic created by App Promo highlighting their findings:


The infographic above reveals that, of the developers surveyed:

  • 59 percent reported that apps don’t break even on development costs.
  • 68 percent earned $5,000 or less with their most successful app.
  • 63 percent said that their most successful apps received downloads of 50,000 or less.

Note: While the research points out that those who spend more on marketing their app tend to make more, it should be noted that when push comes to shove you are also putting more capital at risk.  

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