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Mobile app developers’ chances of success are an estimated 0.01%

Published Jan 14th, 2014 10:30PM EST

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Are you a mobile app developer who dreams of instant overnight Snapchat-like riches? Well, you should probably find a more realistic dream because new research from Gartner predicts that you’re not likely to be financially successful. In fact, Gartner projects that by 2018, less than 0.01% of consumer mobile apps will be considered financial successes by their own developers, which means app developers should probably hold off on their plans to buy that beautiful house in Palo Alto until they actually start generating consistent revenue streams.

“The vast number of mobile apps may imply that mobile is a new revenue stream that will bring riches to many,” explains Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney. “However, our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits and that many mobile apps are not designed to generate revenue, but rather are used to build brand recognition and product awareness or are just for fun. Application designers who do not recognize this may find profits elusive.”

Dulaney notes that the huge number of free, quality mobile applications means that consumer expectations are now biased against paying for apps, even if they only cost a measly $0.99. This means that mobile app developers will need to get more creative either through attracting more advertisements to their apps or building “freemium” apps that are free to download but that charge money for special additional content.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.