5 months and 9,000 Applications Later


Charles Teague


November 25, 2008

The App Store has now been around for a little more than 5 months. And so, this afternoon I was curious about the state of the world in the App Store. After digging around on the net for some up to date analysis, I gave up and decided I’d do some analysis myself. (Most of the analysis, including my own previous analysis, only uses the top applications, which are available in an RSS feed. But that creates bias, since the analysis is exclusively based upon successful applications).

After a little expedition to gather some data (I admit it, I used .Net rather than a more fashionable scripting language), I now have an easily updateable spreadsheet with all of the apps in the app store.

There were some surprises.


There are more than 7,000 applications that are for sale, and just over 2,000 free applications. 

The average price of an application on the app store is $3.21, but if you ignore the free applications and instead ask the question what the average price is for non-free applications, the answer is actually $4.15.

The distribution of prices is pretty much what you’d expect- a lot of free and cheap applications, very few applications that are very expensive. Note that there are more $.99 applications than free applications.

When you look at the average price in each category, it’s not surprising to see serious application categories like Business, Healthcare, and Finance have the highest average price. Also not that surprising to see entertainment oriented categories with the lowest average prices. This follows the vitamin versus pain killer theory- people pay more for pain killers than for vitamins.

A related point to consider- free applications are a lot more popular than paid applications. Since we don’t know how the popularity score is calculated, it’s a bit difficult to figure out what to make of this, other than to point out the obvious- people are willing to try free stuff.


In a previous posts I analyzed the 100 most popular applications (at the time). One of the takeaways from that analysis was that games dominated the top application lists. If you needed more evidence that games are the runaway success of the store, here it is. Games represent 23% of the applications available on the store, but make up between 39 and 50% of the positions on the list of top applications.

Applications Over $100

When I took a look at the expensive applications, I was surprised to find an application that cost $899.99! Anyone remember the controversy around the release and subsequent removal of ‘I Am Rich?’ These expensive applications, unlike the frivolous ‘I Am Rich’ are actually quite useful. iRa, for example, provides monitoring of video surveillance cameras. The ‘Lexi’ applications provide access to a comprehensive drug database for use by medical providers to improve point of care service. These are not trivial applications…

Name Category Publisher Price
iRa Business Lextech Labs $899.99 
MATG - SAP BusinessOne Finance MyAccountsToGo $449.99 
MATG - Dynamics GP Finance MyAccountsToGo $449.99 
Lexi-COMPLETE Healthcare & Fitness Lexi-Comp $299.99 
Lexi-SELECT Healthcare & Fitness Lexi-Comp $219.99 
Eclipse 500 Utilities PunkStar Studios $199.99 
ROSIE Home Automation Lifestyle Savant Systems LLC $199.99 
Lexi-CLINICAL SUITE Healthcare & Fitness Lexi-Comp $179.99 
Lexi-PEDIATRIC SUITE Healthcare & Fitness Lexi-Comp $179.99 
ProRemote Music Far Out Labs $149.99 
iChart EMR Healthcare & Fitness Caretools Inc $139.99 
Lexi-Drugs & Lexi-Interact Healthcare & Fitness Lexi-Comp $119.99 
Dental Lexi-Drugs & Lexi-Interact Healthcare & Fitness Lexi-Comp $119.99 
Tunic Guitar Music Bernhard Stopper $109.99 

Wrap Up

The growth of the application market for the iPhone is incredible. 9,000 applications in 155 months! 

  1. Free applications really dominate the app store, even though there are a lot more paid applications. No idea whether anyone is making serious money, though. 

  2. People are trying to sell serious applications on the App Store, charging hundreds of dollars for high value applications and data. No idea whether this is working at all. 

If anyone has additional thoughts about interesting analysis to consider with this data, or would like an updated copy of the data so they can do some analysis themselves, leave me a comment and I’ll do what I can!