According the Developer Economics 2012 survey – out of three app developers, only one can actually afford to live off the revenue from their apps, the rest have to depend on other sources of income to put food on the table. This puts two thirds of developers out there, below the app poverty line. The big question that remains to be answered is if those two thirds can ever go above this app poverty line.
Developers that create specific apps for specific clients especially in the corporate sector stand a better chance to go above the poverty line. An example here would be to create an app for a bank. Once a bank has hired you, income is secured and therefore a bigger platform to perfect their app to their specifications without worrying about putting food on the table. The advantage with this is that there will obviously be ongoing maintenance and upgrades of the app. This could easily turn into a multiple year retainer contract for the developer and his team. Apps can be for internal communication with their employees or for their clients. Again herein lies an opportunity to create more than one app for one client.
Having established credibility in such a way it becomes easier for such developers to approach other potential clients such as hospitals, universities, and so on. Creation of an app without a market that could result in loses is immediately taken away.
An understanding of how these clients work and what a developer can offer them to promote engagement with their clients or internally with their employees is what will get the developers through the door.
Africa doesn’t have a lot of smartphones penetration but this is one part of the world where ICT is leapfrogging most stages that developed countries have gone through. Most business is now happening on mobile gadgets.
Identifying the most pressing needs of the people in some of these countries or other parts of the world such as China and South America, can help developers create apps that might in the first few years not make a lot of money but in the long run make millions.
This stretches the developers to do massive research that could result in months and months of developing the app and this is not a bad thing. More time means more time to test, improve and deliver a high quality app that’s hard to resist.
This really is a tough one. The store that a developer takes their app to determines how likely its price is to be accepted or rejected. People that are used to purchasing Louis Vuitton products will most likely buy Louis Vuitton food range should they ever produce one; because they can relate to the brand – they have always trusted the brand and believe in it. The same applies for app stores. It is a fact that Apple consumers are the least price sensitive people when it comes to purchasing any products sold under the Apple umbrella. This tends to result in apps being sold at a higher price on the Apple app store. This doesn’t mean the app won’t sell much on other stores, otherwise there wouldn’t be any but it helps as a guiding tool for a developer depending on the category and price of their app.
The only other way for developers to go above the app poverty line is through repetition. This entails creating a great app, rigorous testing, marketing and more marketing and then repeating the process again and again, at a fast pace like any other business until the brand awareness in the market starts turning into revenue.