Talking tech since 2003

If you’re banking on hitting it big by creating a mobile app, you should know that you have a better chance of being diagnosed with cancer this year than creating a  financially successful app (sad, but true).

According to new research from Gartner Inc,  less than one percent of consumer mobile apps will be considered a financial success by their developers through 2018– that’s 0.01%. To put that in perspective, the odds that you will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year is 1 out of 210, or 0.47%, according to the American Cancer Society.

The biggest reason why apps are a failure financially?  There are too many apps out there and they are too hard to discover.  Gartner reports that consumers are increasingly turning to recommendation engines, friends, social networking or advertising to discover mobile applications rather than sorting through the thousands of mobile apps available.

Another reasons why mobile apps fail to make money is because so many of them are free.

“There are so many applications that are free and that will never directly generate revenue. Gartner is forecasting that, by 2017, 94.5 percent of downloads will be for free apps,” said Mr. Dulaney. “Furthermore, of paid applications, about 90 percent are downloaded less than 500 times per day and make less than $1,250 a day. This is only going to get worse in the future when there will be even greater competition, especially in successful markets.”

Still, mobile app usage continued to grow at a remarkable pace in 2013.  According to mobile analytics firm Flurry, mobile app usage increased more than 115 percent last year with messaging apps leading the gain.  In fact, messaging apps, including social and photo sharing, saw usage triple in 2013 as users couldn’t get enough of apps such as Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, WhatsApp, WeChat and LINE.


Despite the sad statistics of making money from an app, developers continue to make them– same goes for buying lottery tickets.  Even though the chances are dismal of winning the lottery, the idea that you could be the one to strike it rich always beats out the real odds.  In fact, you have a better chance of becoming an astronaut or being made a saint than winning the Mega Millions.

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