Gartner: Only One in 10,000 Mobile Apps Will Pay Off by 2018

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Apps are for fun, not for profit.
Apps are for fun, not for profit.

A study of mobile apps released today by Gartner says that consumer expectations for paid apps are so high that fewer than 0.01% of them—or one in 10,000—will be considered financial successes by their developers through 2018.

"There are so many applications that are free and that will never directly generate revenue. Gartner is forecasting that, by 2017, 94.5% of downloads will be for free apps," says Gartner VP Ken Dulaney.

Gartner's 2013 Mobility Predictions Special Report notes that significant numbers of mobile apps are designed for brand-building and awareness-generating purposes—or just for fun—and that profitability is not always a stated goal. Yet it also describes an applications marketplace as “hyperactive” and crowded with more than 200 vendors of development platforms fueling the dreams of millions of developers who do have revenue in mind.

"About 90% [of paid applications] are downloaded less than 500 times per day and make less than $1,250 a day,” Dulaney says. “This is only going to get worse in the future when there will be even greater competition, especially in successful markets."

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