235 Billion App Downloads This Year; 99% Not Paid

Download now, pay later.

It looks like that’s the new mobile app model.

A scant 1% of mobile apps are paid for at the point of download, based on a new global study.

Money for the vast majority of apps now comes from one-off purchases of premium content, advertising and subscriptions, all within the app, according to a study by Juniper Research.

There are some exception categories, such as navigation, where a large fee can be charged at time of download. Juniper cites as one example the Tom Tom series of regional apps, which retail for $50 to $70 at download.

But overall, only 12% of app revenue comes from fees at download with app makers focusing instead on future and ongoing app revenue.

Not all markets are the same in terms of app downloads.



In China, smartphone owners download on average 200 apps per year, compared to 28 apps per year in the U.S.

In the global percentage of app downloads, China leads, by a lot. Here’s the breakdown of the largest app download markets by market share:

  • 59% -- China
  • 8% -- U.S.
  • 2% -- South Korea
  • 2% -- Germany
  • 2% -- U.K.

The number of apps downloaded is projected to increase 28% this year, passing 235 billion. Consistent with other research, Juniper says games will continue to dominate the download categories.

An issue that retailers have faced for some time has been getting shoppers to use their apps, especially for purchasing.

There’s a difference between downloading an app and consistently using it, of course, and it looks like downloading may not be the big stumbling block.


3 comments about "235 Billion App Downloads This Year; 99% Not Paid".
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  1. Karen Ticktin from brandthis, February 25, 2015 at noon

    Note to self. If I create an app, make it free.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, February 25, 2015 at 3 p.m.

    Right, Karen, and find a way for a later up-sell, of course.

  3. Aaron Watkins from Appency, February 26, 2015 at 10:44 p.m.

    There is this deep deep fear in developers still about offering free product. I own an app marketing agency called Appency and we battle our clients all the time as they insist on offering paid products with no other monitization strategy. I tell them - look at the top grossing apps.... 95% of them are free. Look at the most successful apps of all time... 95% of them are free. It is human nature to take a look at two products and if one of them is free, and the other is paid - then most people will try out the free one first. Once they have the free app... it will take an astonishingly bad user experience for them to delete the app and go download your paid version.

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