The App Store Ushers "Cheap" Apps - How Many Apps for Cost Under $0.99?

Ariel Ariel

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - Time for Something New. Check out the full article for more insights.

The App Store is about to turn 15 in a few months and while it's changed drastically since launching in 2008, one thing remained constant - prices. Apple's tier system has been the same, for the most part, since inception.

That meant the minimum price for anything in the App Store was $0.99 (USD in the US).

Recently, Apple changed that with the introduction of what feels like a set-your-own-price system even though it really isn't.

That got me curious to see how many apps will drop below $0.99, and the answer is...

220 paid apps cost under $0.99 right now. Yes, just 220...

That's 0.28% of all paid apps in the store, and roughly 5% of all apps are paid to begin with, so it's a very small number.

That makes sense. Paid apps are pretty much dead in 2023.

And yet, there are 77 apps that dropped their price to $0.29 and 97 apps priced at $0.49, the two largest groups under $0.99.

I asked a few developers why they chose this strategy over in-app purchases and the answer surprised me a bit. International markets. Apparently, some users in countries like India prefer low-cost paid-upfront apps over subscriptions or in-app purchases. And by prefer I mean enough to pay vs. skip.

Overall, this represents just a tiny portion of potential users so I don't expect to see paid pricing return thanks to these new tiers. But I do expect to see more usage coming from in-app purchases and subscriptions, where more flexibility in pricing could mean huge gains across the globe.

I'll be looking at in-app purchases in the near future, so make sure you're subscribed to the newsletter

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

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