How Many Developer Millionaires?
Written by Janet Swift   
Saturday, 07 November 2015

Do you expect to make a million dollars from your apps? Do you think millionaire status is the preserve of a tiny number of devs? Or do you think the app stores live up to their promise of enabling thousands of devs to make their fortunes?

Fintech platform Pollen decided to investigate and replace speculation about how many devs can expect an income of more than a million US dollars per year by some facts and figures. It partnered with Priori Data, which focuses on the mobile app economy and revealed:




More iOS developers (1,260) are in the $1 million club than Android (759) and 132 devs make more than a million from both platforms.  

Pollen reports this as a positive finding for developers, writing:

We're always hearing that the app stores are overpopulated and it's impossible for new developers to make real money. However, the reality is that more developers are building successful businesses in the App Economy than ever before.

If you've not come across it before , Pollen is a start up that has come up with an idea it calls "Velocity Capital" which fosters channelling the revenue earned on the App Store or Google Play back into promoting apps.

This is Pollen's explanation:

Virtually all apps and games now rely on paid promotion to drive growth in users and install base. However, without access to funds for user acquisition, smartphone apps often disappear from visible app store rankings and fail to gain traction after the initial launch.

Pollen VC gives app developers faster access to revenues they've already earned from the app stores. Revenue can be channelled back into user acquisition immediately, meaning that the app or game is funding its own user growth, and developers are less reliant on self-funding or venture capital to grow user numbers.

Pollen is therefore keen to show that as well as an elite millionaire club there is a "middle class" of devs which its VC strategy can help. 

Pollen's founder Martin Macmillan explains:

this is a segment of the app store which might not see overnight millionaire success or hold the top rankings of the charts, but they are making anything from $5,000-$500,000 per month. 

MacMillan obviously want to dislodge the idea that unless you are a top fight dev you are likely to be under the "app poverty line", a term coined by VisionMobile to mean earning less than $500 per month from apps.

In fact VisionMobile's most recent figures reveal that 21% of the respondents to its latest survey of 13,000 devs  earned $5,000 per month and over.

With the total population of App developers probably over 500K (390K iOS and 280K Android in 2014) the finding reported in this chart isn't as encouraging as it is meant to be:


The data in the study shows revenues from paid/premium apps and in-app purchase revenues only and is based on estimated revenues for Q2 2015. 

Probably the most hopeful message from this report is that 45 percent of all app store revenues are made by publishers outside of the Top 100. In other words, $2.3B has been made by so called 'Long Tail' developers in the last 12 months and as app store revenues continue to grow there is the prospect of making a reasonable income as an app developer.



More Information

The Millionaires Index 

Related Articles

Cloud Apps Best For Revenue 

Revenue Models for Mobile Developers 

Survey Reveals App Poverty Line


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Last Updated ( Monday, 09 November 2015 )