App Price Distribution: Android Edition

Last week I pulled together the most recent app price distribution statistics for the App Store after seeing numbers for the Windows Phone Marketplace on the interwebs. The takeaway? Most apps in both stores are free, and the ones that aren’t free are dirt cheap. Compared to similar numbers from this time last year, it’s also clear that the perceived value of apps is dropping, as free app growth is outpacing paid app growth, while the average app price has been halved.

Digging deeper, I’ve stumbled across similar numbers via Android app discovery service, AppBrain. What do the Android numbers show in comparison to their iOS and Windows Phone counterparts? Let’s dive in and find out!

First up is free apps. Of the approximately 460,000 apps in the Android Market Google Play app store, 72% of those are free apps, a ratio about 6% higher than the Windows Phone Marketplace, and a whopping 24% higher than the iOS App Store.

Regarding paid apps, in my previous post I noted that both the WP Marketplace and iOS App Store featured a similar percentage of apps $3 or cheaper, both hovering around 80%. The AppBrain numbers don’t split out the pricing as cleanly, leaving me to choose between apps $2.50 or less, or apps $5.00 or less. However, the percentage of Android apps selling for $2.50 or less is quite close to the 80% threshold at 74%. Without more detailed pricing breakdown, it is difficult to see any particular pricing trends (e.g. is $1.99 the Android app magic number?), but it is clear that amongst all three app stores, the vast majority of apps sell for $5 dollars or less.

Without more detailed data (I’ve reached out to both AppBrain and Distimo in the hopes they’ll share more detailed numbers), it’s hard to derive significant insight. Two tidbits can be asserted, however. Firstly, it is clear that across all smartphone platforms, few are willing to pay more than $5 (or $3) for an application. Secondly, it appears that both Windows Phone and Android developers are less confident than iOS developers in charging anything at all for their apps.

Why? The quality of apps might not be as high, or perhaps developers are making the revenue back on in-app advertising. We’ll keep digging at the numbers until we can find an acceptable answer.

About the author

Douglas Soltys

Douglas is the former Editor-In-Chief of Inside BlackBerry, BlackBerry Cool, and QuicklyBored, which he launched as a mobile gaming industry site. His knowledge of mobile and social media led him to a job at RIM (BlackBerry), where he got to travel the world and do lots of cool things. He is often left-handed, but rarely sinister.

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