App pricing comes in all forms, from selling access to an app, to selling a subscription service to some users, to offering in-app purchases for items and other premium features. Understanding the correct way to price an app can be the difference between a successful product and hundreds of 1-star reviews calling the app a rip off.
The vast majority of revenue made on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store comes from subscriptions and in-app purchases, which is to be expected as “free” apps make up 95 percent of both app stores. Paid-apps, which require a user to pay upfront for access, make up less than five percent of the app store and contribute even less to total downloads.
Most apps that only offer premium services these days will still let users download the app for free, with the aim to convert them to paid users through a short free trial or other onboarding methods. Games are the last genre where paid-for apps are regularly seen, especially for ports of games from console or PC.
Inside the world of app subscriptions, there are many layers on how to properly price a subscription to be appealing to a wide audience. Most apps have a tiered subscription service, in which a user can pay less per month if they pay for an annual or bi-annual subscription. Some apps also offer lifetime subscriptions, at around two to three times the cost of an annual subscription.
Apps primarily deal in subscriptions, whereas games tend to offer in-app purchases that provide a temporary boost to the player. An in-app purchase can act in a similar way to a subscription, for example, some mobile games have battle passes and other modifications which are renewed every few months, getting the player to invest again in the game.
In this post, we take a look at the average subscription prices for app categories, alongside the price distribution for in-app purchases and paid apps.
It should be noted that all average price values are based on the US Apple App Store. Values may differ by country and by platform.
Read on below to find out more.
Average Subscription Price
The average subscription price was just over $10 per month, $29 for three months, $49 for six and $61 for an annual subscription. Most apps offer much higher discounts for longer term subscriptions, with some even offering a lifetime membership.
Average App Subscription Price 2022 ($)
Average Subscription Price by Category
Some app categories offer all types of subscription length, while others prioritize only a few, such as productivity and reading apps.
Average Subscription Price by Category 2021 ($)
|1 week||1 month||3 months||6 months||1 year||Lifetime|
Source: App Fuel
In-App Purchase Price Distribution
The majority of in-app purchases cost between $0.49 and $9.99, however, there has been growth in every other price bracket over the past three years.
In-App Purchase Price Distribution on Apple App Store 2017 to 2021 (%)
App Consumer Spend by Platform
The vast majority of consumer spend on the top 250 apps is subscription-based, with iOS responsible for 77% of it.
Distribution of Consumer Spend on Apps 2019 (%)
Apple Store Paid App Price Distribution
A majority of paid apps on the Apple App Store are priced below $1, with only 10% of all paid apps costing over $5.
Apple Store Paid App Price Distribution November 2022 ($)
Google Play Store Paid App Price Distribution
Google has less paid apps, but the price distribution is more equal, at least for less than $1 and $1 to $2.