The new American Dream was going so well: drop out, make an app for sending emojis that disappear after 5 seconds, and collect your check. But it turns out the app gold rush is broken for almost everyone.
A new, giant survey of 10,000 app developers from around the world reveals a hugely depressing reality: your app will almost certainly not succeed. Maybe it's a given that in such a crowded market, standing out is a tough feat. But the numbers are terribly dismal: 2 percent of all app developers pull in over 50 percent of all app revenue—"The revenue distribution is so heavily skewed towards the top that just 1.6% of developers make multiples of the other 98.4% combined." A staggering 47% of app developers either make literally no money, or less than $100 per month, per app. Hardly Instagram money, or even decent-Instagram-knockoff money.
It's easy to understand why. There are well over a million apps in Apple's App Store alone, and unless you're in the tippy-top of tippiest-top, odds are nobody will even notice you exist. Of course, the fact that it's considered gauche to even try to make money as a software business doesn't help:
VisionMobile, which conducted the study, concludes that "It seems extremely unlikely the market can sustain anything like the current level of developers for many more years."
Image by Sam Spratt