The guys at Busted Loop blog did an analysis of what they claim is a “comprehensive, raw ranking data for the entire U.S. App Store, spanning all categories.” Their conclusion: “...most paid apps fail. These ‘dead’ apps may have had some sales shortly after they were released, but once the honeymoon is over, that's it. No more sales.”
This is not exactly a revelation for most developers as well as for companies such as Pinch Media, AdMob and MobClix who have been tracking App Store sales and who have made similar assessments.
The App Store is quickly approaching its first-year anniversary (July 11). In that time, the App Store has approved more than 58,300 apps, submitted by some 14,000 publishers. Developers are introducing apps at the rate of 1,300 per week, yet, only 1 percent of them are responsible for more than 30 percent of apps.
The picture is overtly grim, according to Busted Loop. What follows are some of Busted Loop’s direct observations and charts. For more details, follow the link above to its blog.
This first chart shows a comparison of free versus paid apps. It’s evident that paid apps dominate.
However, although most apps are paid, the most popular apps are free, Busted Loop says.
To compensate for this, you would expect paid apps to be concentrated at the bottom of the popularity curve but it doesn’t work out that way:
Most of the categories have no free apps at all in the bottom 200. It turns out that at the bottom of every category there are pages and pages of paid apps, uninterrupted by even a single free app.
Busted Loop calls this segment of paid apps in each category the "dead zone". App Store popularity is based on daily download rate, so the apps in the dead zone for each category have fewer daily downloads than even the least popular free app in that category, Busted Loop points out.
So how many times per day are apps in the dead zone downloaded? Well, since the vast majority of downloads are for apps near the top, we assume that the least popular free apps in each category have very few downloads per day. Probably none.