Posts tagged Mac
Posts tagged Mac
Since its inception, the Mac App Store has prompted discussion amongst Mac developers over pricing. Will there be a race to the bottom? Is it better to lower prices to reach a broader audience? Those types of questions have been — and continue to be — debated in the corridors of Apple developer conferences the World over.
At the recent Çingleton conference, ex-Apple employee Michael Jurewitz addressed the issue front on. I wasn’t actually at the conference, so I have only heard his arguments second hand, but it seems the gist was that most of the top grossing Mac apps have high prices, so Mac developers are encouraged to price their software higher.
It’s certainly an interesting analysis, but are the conclusions actually well established? Or is it another case of ‘damn lies and statistics’?
I decided to investigate this further in an impromptu study. I quickly realized that the results depend quite dramatically on exactly who you are. In particular, whether you are an established company like Apple or The Omni Group, or a small indie startup trying to establish a foothold.
My analysis was far from scientific, but it does point to some interesting conclusions. What I did was go through the Top 100 grossing apps, and I categorized each app as either
I discarded all apps in category 1, because how well Apple and Adobe do has little influence on the rest of us. I took the remaining results, for smaller companies, and tallied them up in the ranges 1-to-50, and 51-to-100, and took an average price for each range and product category. Here is what I found.
|Product Category||Top Grossing Range||Number in Range||Average Price|
The first thing you will notice is that the results confirm Michael Jurewitz’s analysis — there are more higher-priced apps in the top 50. Not only that, but the difference in average price for the ranges 1-50 and 51-100 is minimal, almost certainly within the statistical error of this very imperfect study. Conclusion: established companies have little to win by dropping their prices.
But that is perhaps asking the wrong question, at least for most of us. What indie developers want to know is: “If I start developing a new app, should I price it high or low?” The results for the newer apps shed some light on this. The average price of new apps in the top 50 is about a third lower than the average price of new apps in the 51-100 range. In other words, it seems you could mount an argument that new apps do better when they move to a lower price point.
I am not going to claim that what I have presented is scientific — for one thing, there is some subjectivity in how the apps are classified — but I think this should at least make us approach the question differently. Comparing indie developers to Apple, or even to well established developers like The Omni Group and Panic, doesn’t make sense, because the type of software they can produce is vastly different.
A quick statistical analysis does suggest that of the newer apps, the ones that gross the most are actually priced somewhat lower. Raising the price of your new release is more likely to do harm than good.