The paid-for app model is over

Anne Freer | September 30, 2021

App Business

It seems that the subscription model for apps is slowly taking over because just 6% of iOS apps on the App Store right now are paid for.

That’s around 112k out of almost 2 million apps.

Things aren’t much different over on Google Play where 4% of 4 million apps are paid for. The remainder of apps are free to download on both stores.

According to the data provided by AppFigures, it’s the lowest ever seen and is predicted to shrink further as a growing number of users opt for subscriptions and in-app purchases.

Now, I assumed that a considerably larger percentage of apps where subscription-based or required in-app purchases.

I was surprised to find that just 234k or 13% of free apps on the App Store conformed to these models compared to a mere 7% or 269k on Google Play.

A large number of free apps tend to monetise via ads in-app and some even monetise their user data.

At the same time, if the last year has shown anything it’s that users are hungry for in-app content and willing to pay for it.

App purchases were up 38% in 2020 and the average in-app spending in mobile games grew 43%.

According to eMarketer, in-app purchases jumped 30% between 2019 to 2020.

That’s good news for developers but means they may need to diversify their offering if they want to reach a sustainable audience.

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.