The best things in life may not always be free, but free goods (and services) sure are the least expensive, are they not? Naysayers will counter with the idiom, 'You get what you pay for,' and to them I would say, 'Poppycock!' I'm a mobile app user, and if you are too, chances are you downloaded more free apps than paid ones so far in 2012.
I can back my assumption up with new data by Gartner, which reports that free apps have accounted for 89 percent of the total downloads so far in 2012. That means nearly 9 out of every 10 apps downloaded didn't cost the user a dime, or even a wooden nickel. That's pretty significant when you take into consideration that mobile app downloads are on pace to surpass 45.6 billion by the end of the year.
"In terms of the apps that consumers are buying, 90 percent of the paid-for downloads cost less than $3 each," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. "Similar to free apps, lower-priced apps will drive the majority of downloads. Apps between 99 cents and $2.99 will account for 87.5 percent of paid-for downloads in 2012, and 96 percent by 2016."
If that's the case, how exactly are app developers making money? Well, some simply aren't. Others pull in revenue from ads, and many who make money are doing so with in-app purchases. According to Gartner, in-app purchases will drive 41 percent of app store revenue by 2016.