inessential by Brent Simmons

Shopster 2013

More numbers. About a year ago Pablo Bendersky wrote about his app Shopster:

I can’t say the first day sales were a disappointment, as I was not sure what to expect, since our previous apps did not have the coverage Shopster had. We were surprised to see the app had only sold about 200 units…

As you can see, in our first week averaging 100 sales a day, our app ranked consistently in the top 100 productivity apps…

Shopster got reviewed by Gizmodo and finally, on April 11th, it was picked by Apple as New and Noteworthy. At the point we thought sales would skyrocket…

As you can see, things did not get better, and our app averaged 41 sales per day.

Say the app was priced at $1.99. If it had sustained the opening rate of 100 sales per day, this means $199 per day, which is $139.30 after Apple’s cut.

Say it’s just one developer. That developer would make $50,844.50 in one year, at that rate.

If that one developer writes two or three apps that do as well, then that’s a pretty good living, for sure.

But the average was 41 per day, which means $81.59 per day, which is $57.11 after Apple’s cut. That turns into $20,845.15 per year.

Now you need to write five of these to have a good year. (More if it’s a team rather than a solo developer.) And you have to support those apps, and probably do another five next year because the bulk of sales happen at launch.

My city (Seattle) is in the process of raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is about $30,000 for a full-time job. Many iOS indies would do better at minimum wage jobs here than on the App Store.