iOS Apps: 90% Free, Average Price at 19 Cents

In a recent analysis by mobile analytics firm Flurry, insights into App Store pricing trends reveal some compelling shifts. Flurry’s research, which spanned over 350,000 apps over four years, indicates a significant increase in the availability of free apps since 2010.

Currently, a whopping 90 percent of apps are free, and only 6 percent are priced at US$0.99. This is a stark contrast to 2011, when 80 percent of apps were free, and 15 percent cost $0.99.

Flurry suggests that the rise in free apps is due to consumer preferences for free content over the desire to avoid ads or obtain the highest quality content.

From personal experience, I continue to use the free version of Words With Friends.

The ads are not bothersome enough to make me switch to the paid version.

It appears that many developers have realized that they can potentially earn more through a freemium model than by charging upfront for apps. Although initial sales of $0.99 or $1.99 apps can provide immediate revenue, the top grossing iPhone and iPad apps are predominantly free. These apps generate revenue through in-app purchases, subscriptions, or ad removal, which seems to be a more sustainable business model in the long run.

Indeed, of the top 25 grossing iPhone apps, all but one are offered for free.

This trend is consistent with iPad apps as well.

As more developers adopt this model, the average price of iPhone apps has dropped to $0.19, and iPad apps to $0.50. In comparison, the average Android app costs just $0.06.

These findings also align with other data suggesting that iPad users, who generally have higher incomes, spend more on apps than iPhone or Android users. In April of this year, the average price of actively used iPad apps was over 2.5 times that of iPhone apps and more than eight times that of Android apps.

Moreover, Flurry notes an increasing trend in price experimentation among developers, with more apps transitioning from a pay-to-play model to a free-to-play one.

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Elizabeth is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the Apple news community. With a keen eye for detail, Elizabeth covers everything from the latest iPhone releases to in-depth reviews of the MacBook Pro and Apple Watch. Her insightful articles help readers stay informed about the ever-evolving world of Apple products. When she’s not writing, Elizabeth enjoys exploring new features on her iPad and capturing moments with her iPhone’s camera.