VisionMobile’s Developer Economics Q1 2014 Thoughts

visionmobile.gifVision Mobile has a new Developer Economics Q1 2014 report based on a survey of 7,000 app developers in 127 countries. As might be expected, iOS and Android are very dominant and iOS remains as top revenue earner. However, if you want apps to provide revenue, read on.

The ecosystem was worth $68 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow to $143 billion in 2016. This seems like a huge incentive for companies to take up mobile if they haven’t done so already. However, where’s the money? We are told…

"60% of developers are below the “app poverty line”, i.e. earn less than $500 per app per month"

How can this be? How can such a large, tens of billions, market result in such a low income per app? The report provides some extra insights on the revenue distribution across and within platforms… 

visionmobilerevenuedistribution.png
Even on iOS, a few apps (mainly games I guess) represent the majority of the income. So why do developers continue to develop apps when they aren’t likely to make any money? The report provides some insights on developer motivations…

 developertypesandmotivations.png

It can be seen that Hobbyists, Explorers, Product Extenders, Enterprise and, to some extent, Guns for Hire and Digital Media Publishers don’t really care about the ability to generate revenue.

What does this mean for entrepreneurs in the mobile space? Well, if you are thinking of making money from apps (‘Hunters’ as Vision mobile calls them) then you are probably wasting your time unless you think you can be part of the small slice of the market (games?) that makes the majority of the money. Instead you probably need to change your business model to become one of the other categories of developer.