As a new iPhone owner (made the switch last week after my HTC Evo speaker was going in and out and got into some shady malware apps), I was eager to download all the existing apps I had on my Android, as well as finally download all the games and apps clients, friends, and business colleagues are telling me to check out. I’ve been sucked into Draw Something and Scramble With Friends makes my heart happy.
All my app downloads made me start thinking, “When does a person love an app enough to buy it?” I have never bought an app, rather preferring to exit out of ad screens or closing my browser quickly when I accidentally do click on a banner ad. But this minor inconvenience has never bothered me enough to actually purchase the paid version.
While Apple makes this obscenely easy (Android makes you put in your credit card number; my payment info was already pulled in from my iTunes account), I somehow have a natural avoidance to pay for anything when I can get basically the same thing for free.
So the question remains, how often do people actually purchase apps?
A 2011 study from Flurry sought to answer this question from a app development perspective, namely looking to answer the question, “Should an app be freemium or premium?” Their data shows that the freemium version of the top 100 apps (at the time of the survey) actually made more money then the respective premium versions:
Many app developers make money off of their freemium apps through in-app purchases, such as additional credits or coins, as well as from ad revenue.
So while many app development companies are making millions (look at Zynga, for example—it made approximately $600 million in 2010 and just bought games company OMGPOP for $200 million today), it is clear that freemium apps can be just as, if not more, successful as premium apps.
Do you ever pay for apps? If so, why?