How Much Money Can You Earn With an App?

Jan 25, 2017 · 5 min read
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There’s a lot of money in apps. Billions of dollars.

But most of this money is earned by certain kinds of apps, and many apps make no money at all.

The top grossing apps in the world may surprise you, and this article will explain the ins and outs of how apps make money and how your app can too!

The mobile market has grown substantially over the years and industry experts predict continued growth. Mobile internet usage surpassed desktops in 2014 and 80% of internet users own smartphones. With such impressive numbers, it’s no wonder why Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs alike are trying to get a piece of this modern day gold rush.

If you’re new to the market, looking to enter it or just have a really cool idea for an app, one of your first questions is likely to be profit related. Make no mistake, a sleek app will take plenty of time and effort and you’re going to want all this work to be rewarded. The following overview of cellular app earning potential should give you a clearer picture on how much your app can earn.

Our agency, Fueled, has experts that can help you determine how to earn money from your app, and how much it can potentially make.

Contact Us To Chat!

Where Is It Being Earned?

First and foremost you need to decide what platform (or platforms) you want to design your app on. This can greatly affect your earning potential due to market penetration and platform popularity. For the purposes of this metric we’ll be rating platforms based on the percentage of app developers earning $5,000 or more per month on their apps. The leader in this category is Apple’s iOS platform with over 25% of its developers earning over $5,000 per month. Because of its continued market penetration, Android is also a well regarded platform. 16% of its app developers earn over $5,000 per month in revenue. However, it is worth noting that Android is much more ‘top heavy’ in terms of earnings with much of its total revenue being earned by its top developers. The iOS platform has its overall earnings more spread out increasing your odds to make money via their app market.

Platforms to avoid include Blackberry OS and Windows mobile platform. Blackberry lacks market penetration and its parent company RIM has seen its earnings and spotlight in the market diminish year by year. Windows has strong corporate backing from Microsoft but lacks overall market penetration and popularity among cellular end users. While more niche platforms can be profit earners they should only be considered once your app has proven profitable on a more widely used platform. Once an app is a proven winner porting it to other platforms becomes more viable.

The Earnings

With an estimated global revenue of $25 billion in 2014 and an estimated total global revenue of $46 billion by 2016, apps are big business. Video games are notable for their high earnings, and their reputation trickles down to their miniature companions. There are some notable earnings racked in by apps. Developer Supercell have their “Clash of Clans” generating $1,118,457 per day in revenue. King Digital Entertainment’s “Candy Crush” earns $884,676 per day through in app purchases. Most game apps are free, but developers put bread on their plates through in-game purchases. If you’re not a game designer there are other categories with impressive earnings without the association to gaming.

For example, the relatively simplistic iSteam (a $0.99 app which simulates fogged glass on your phone screen) saw earnings of over $100,000 within one month. Joke app iFart is another simple app that earned over $100,000 in just two weeks. One Christmas alone saw earnings of over $25,000. On the Android side the $3.99 Car Locator app was reported as earning roughly $13,000 per month. The Advanced Task Killer is an interesting case for an app. The developer earns over $10,000 a month through a combination of its $1 selling price upfront and renting ad space. Lastly, Android GUI app Beautiful Widgets has been a notable success story. With a cost of $2.49 a piece and over 500,000 downloads, its developers have seen over 1 million dollars in revenue.

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Picking The Correct Platform For Your App Is Essential

Beyond Phones

Apps are starting to branch out from the cellular platform as more integrated smart devices are entering the market. Smart TVs are starting to show promise with 34% of internet users taking advantage of their connectivity. However, the most popular apps used on Smart TVs are ones that are appropriate for the medium and already have a very large, existing user base such as Netflix and Hulu. Convincing people to download your app on Smart TVs could be difficult but if it works well on the platform then it could be a powerful companion tool. Expansion of platform offerings not only increases exposure for your app but also opens it to new revenue streams (as long as it makes sense to be on that new platform).

Similarly, video game consoles such as the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Wii U have their own app stores. Certain apps can be found on each platform such as Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, and Amazon. Some apps, however, can be exclusive to the consoles such as Spotify and BBC to PS4. These are successful apps offering their services on new platforms to make it more convenient for their users. It’s a great option, but not really for most people.

Another intriguing platform to pay attention to is smart watches. As a relatively new device, their current numbers are small, with only about 9% of internet users reporting making use of one. However, with popular companies such as Samsung, Sony and more recently Apple entering the market, it is one to watch for in future growth opportunities.


As you can see there are plenty of opportunities for fortune in the app market. The app market has experienced substantial growth since their first conception and it shows no signs of slowing down. The market may be a bit oversaturated but it’s promising to see that over 25% of developers earn over $5,000 per month on the iOS platform and Android sees 18% of theirs faring good as well. While video game apps are huge multi-million dollar earners, there is still a lot of money to be made in less complex novelty and productivity apps. Finally the growing market of smart TVs and the emerging market in smart watches will further expand the app environment.

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