Vision Mobile: 60% of developers living below 'app poverty line'

The majority of developers still make less than $500 per app per month, but the overall "app poverty line" has moved from 67 percent to 60 percent, according to Vision Mobile's Developer Economics Q1 2014 report. The analysis firm researched data from more than 7,000 app developers from 127 countries, from the United States and China to Kenya and Brazil.

  • 60 percent of developers are below the "app poverty line," i.e. earn less than $500 per app per month, according to the latest Developer Economics survey.

  • iOS has a larger "middle class" than Android. Among developers that generate $500-$10K per app per month, 37 percent prioritize iOS vs. 25 percent Android.

  • In-app advertising remains one of most popular revenue models at 26 percent of app developers, particularly strong on platforms where demand for direct purchases is weak, such as Windows Phone and Android.

  • Contract development was responsible for 56 percent of the app economy in 2013. More importantly, contract development is now the most popular revenue model, with 26 percent of app developers currently developing apps on commission.

  • Use of e-Commerce as a revenue model for apps grew significantly, from 5 percent of app developers in the third quarter of 2013 to 8 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

    In-app advertising remains one of the most popular revenue models for developers.

    "There is no such thing as an average developer. Priorities differ wildly," the report says. "For developers that aim to monetise apps directly via app stores, i.e. the 'Hunters,' revenue potential is equally important to reach... For Enterprise IT, speed and cost of development is clearly the dominant factor since the main target of enterprises with mobile is to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs. On the other hand, Hobbyists, while not having very strong opinions on what is important for platform selection, do have a preference for good documentation."

    Last year, 67 percent of developers fell below the app proverty line, so it's possible that various monetization strategies such as in-app purchasing and mobile advertising are beginning to pay off. It could also be that more developers are taking monetization more seriously. Only 16 percent of those surveyed told Vision Mobile they "are not in it for the money," though the categorizations in the report such as "Hunter" and "Gun for Hire" show many different degrees of interest and approach to revenue. Besides this data, the report also includes some fascinating details on platform growth and the challenges ahead over the next 12 months.

    For more:
    - download the full report

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