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Summary:

With apps being sold at an average price of less then $2.50 each, what could possibly be driving speculation that app sales could be a $35 billion industry by 2014? If you have an iOS device, then the answer is you.

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With apps being sold at an average price of less than $2.50 each, what could possibly be driving speculation that app sales could be a $35 billion industry by 2014?  If you have an iOS device, then the answer is you.  On average, early in 2010, iOS users were spending a little over $4 each month on apps. With over 120 million iOS devices sold as of September, and 6.5 billion combined app downloads, it’s easy to see where ambitious sales estimates are coming from.

Sales numbers are all well and good, but instead of looking at the industry numbers to see who is correct, and what report is on track, look instead at your own personal buying habits and draw your own conclusions. I pulled together my own numbers and here’s what I found. Since purchasing my iPhone 3G back in September 2008, I’ve spent $825 on 676 apps (274 or 40 percent were paid apps, and 402 or 60 percent were free apps). I’m obviously helping bring that $4 average up by spending approximately $30 per month on apps. If every iOS user out there were buying apps on a monthly basis like I do, then Apple would already have its own $35 billion dollar industry today.

To find out this information, I used an OS X application called App Store Expense Monitor from WetFish Software.  It’s simple enough to use, just download and launch.  It gathers information about your app purchases by reading the file names of your iPhone applications from your iTunes folder on your computer.  It then retrieves prices and presents the total amount of money you’ve spent.  The results are exportable for further review and analysis.  So what are your numbers like?

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  1. It is said to say, but as a family, we spent $900+. Insane.

    1. I always wondered how the industry identifies a single iOS user. We have as many as eight iOS devices in our household, nine if you count the nano. And I am the only one purchasing apps at the rate outlined above.

  2. Is there a similar program for Windows 7? I can’t seem to find it.

    1. Not an app like this one. But I was surprised to find so many API kits for accessing and reading iTunes data. I was looking for a way to pull my own data, sort of like what 148apps.biz is doing.

  3. Gotta say, between iPad and iPhone 4, I’ve probably dropped a cool $120 this past year. Which is only $10 a month, but hey you gotta pay to play. I’m actually happiest for the developers, it is a great opportunity for people to get paid for their hard work and creativity.

  4. I have spent £50+ which is not bad for a year! I still love the App Store.. Quality Apps at Cheap Prices!

  5. About 280 bucks…but that’s for everything I have, which is for the last 2+ years (since the 3G release)…so, not bad, I think…about 100 bucks a year…and also, some of those paid apps were free (from freeappaday or some other special sales), which means I spent less than the program says I did.

  6. According to that app I have spent around $150 but I rarely buy anything as I fetch them when they are free. My guess is about $15 in 18 months.

  7. In all of 2010 I spent a grand total of $134.56 on Apps. The most expensive one was Things at $9.99 I almost drop $25 for iTeleport last week until I saw the free version.

  8. Hmmm… that sounds very inaccurate. A lot of people do a big amount of purchases when apps go into special sales. I’d say the bulk of impulse purchases are done this way.

    App Store Expense Monitor will pull the current price, that will result in extremely inaccurate reports.

    I have an alternate route, but it may take a bit of time. I have never deleted any of the receipts I get from Apple for my purchases. I archive every single one of those emails. I may be able to go back through those and see how much I actually spent, and when I did.

    1. You are correct that it pulls the current price. So it will not take sales, discounts, and promotions into effect. It also does not account for any in app purchases. It is a gauge, and more personal than any marketing sample or survey.

      1. Well I just finished entering my purchase receipt history. It was interesting looking at my own history. Funny how anecdotal memory can be so wrong.

        Anyways: I have spent a total of $164.21 dollars over the year. App Store Expense Monitor says $246.99. That’s a huge difference. May be a cool way of tracking the “value” off your collection, but not really your app expenses. Looking more into the this software, it seems it’s best use is by keeping it running and it will log the price of apps as you buy them, provided you either buy them from iTunes or sync daily (I rarely sync more than twice a week.)

        Anyways, since I went thorugh this I figure I may write something about what I see in my own history:

        Despite me having my iPhone for over 2 years, I only started buying apps in March 2010.

        My first paid app was Broken Sword: Director’s Cut v 1.1 for 4.99 for the iPhone. Shortly after this I got my second app, Dungeon Hunter in a 99c sale.

        My spending history by month goes like this:

        2010-03 $05.98 2 purchases
        2010-04 $00.00 0 purchases
        2010-05 $00.00 0 purchases
        2010-06 $11.99 1 purchases
        2010-07 $00.00 0 purchases
        2010-08 $16.86 8 purchases
        2010-09 $25.93 7 purchases
        2010-10 $14.91 15 purchases
        2010-11 $54.67 33 purchases
        2010-12 $33.87 13 purchases

        December is nowhere near complete, as we are not done with the month and I have not received my huge Christmas purchase receipt.

        This purchase count includes in-app purchases as individual purchases.

        Although not steady increase, we can see that, at least if we summarize by quarter, I slowly increase the amount of purchases. I think this has a lot to do with slowly gaining confidence on the market.

        The more I buy, the more likely I am to buy more. May be a bit self-centered but I dare bet most people are the same. It is very likely users will buy more apps after enjoying the fruits of their first purchases, with any disappointing paid app slowing this increase.

        I’m basing this in one huge omission. When I first heard about the iPhone gaming revolution, I looked at the app store and bought a game, just to see how things worked. The game in question was horribly disappointing and it was the reason for me not to pay a second look at the entire app store for such a long time. At that time I didn’t bother storing my receipts, it was a one-time thing after all.

        So my views may be biased, but I still think they make sense and may apply to many users.

        What this makes me assume is that after time passes, users slowly start trusting their money into the app store more and more, specially if they have fun with their purchases. The time may come when long time consumers may easily dedicate 60 dollars a month to the app store instead of spending the same amount into expensive console games.

        Also, although 99c games and apps (be it regular price or temporary deals) may be great ways to point new app-curious users into the bliss that is the app store paid content, apps don’t need to cost 99c or 1.99 to be successful. Some of my favorite games (my favorite category) has been Aralon: Sword and Shadow, Plats Vz Zombies and Broken Sword. I don’t regret spending the amount I spent on any of those.

  9. $260.00 on apps, mostly for the iPad. I’m not counting books, just apps.

  10. $0.
    There’s not one app that I absolutely need that a free app can’t do or that I cannot wait to get home and solve with the iMac.
    If I had an iPad, maybe Pages or some Office suite.
    Sorry, developers.

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