Report: Most Subscription-Based Apps Do Not Make Money

Most mobile apps with subscriptions do not make money, a new in-depth analysis finds.

iOS App Store General Feature Clorange
The "State of Subscription Apps" report comes from RevenueCat (via TechCrunch), a prominent mobile subscription toolkit provider. With nearly 30,000 apps utilizing its platform for monetization management, RevenueCat is able to provide a reliable overview of the subscription app landscape thanks to its data collection capabilities. The analysis delves into data from over 29,000 apps and 18,000 developers, collectively responsible for more than $6.7 billion in revenue and over 290 million subscribers.

RevenueCat found that while the top-performing 5% of subscription apps amass revenue 200 times greater than those in the bottom quartile, the median monthly revenue for apps after one year is less than $50. Only 17.2% of apps cross the $1,000 monthly revenue mark. Reaching this milestone significantly boosts the likelihood of further financial growth, with 59% of these apps progressing to achieve $2,500 in monthly revenue, and 60% of those reaching the $5,000 mark. A mere 3.5% of apps achieve $10,000 in monthly revenue.

Health and fitness apps generate at least twice the revenue of all other categories combined, both in the bottom quartile and among the top 5% of earners. In contrast, travel and productivity apps face the most significant challenges, with even the top performers in these categories struggling to make over $1,000 per month after a year on the market.

Despite these statistics, the subscription app market continues to grow and the average price for monthly subscriptions has increased by 14% from $7.05 to $8.01. However, the report also noted a recent shift in consumer behavior, with a 14% drop in subscriber retention over 12 months.

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Top Rated Comments

disruptedDD Avatar
11 weeks ago
Why developers choose to use subscriptions in the first place when they can certainly choose to use one-time payment option! Most of them didn't make the app quality good enough to deserve subscription fees.
Score: 67 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kiranmk2 Avatar
11 weeks ago
Almost as if people would prefer to buy an App outright! Are we going to come full circle to 2010?
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
11 weeks ago
They are certainly not seeing my money. Why should I pay a subscription for an app like "Splitwise" which was developed once and hasn't had any changes (as far as I can tell) since. What am I paying them a monthly fee for? NOPE

Subscriptions only make sense for things like Netflix to me where you actually have new content every day / month
Score: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macos9rules Avatar
11 weeks ago
Great to read this news! Subscriptions only make sense for media-based apps that keep adding content, like Netflix, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
onlinespending Avatar
11 weeks ago
Yeah because it’s a deterrent for business. Task apps that don’t require any server use or other perpetual demands of resources from the developer now feel entitled to monthly fees. People are fed up and will just buy a task app that has a one time fee
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zachz Avatar
11 weeks ago

Why developers choose to use subscriptions in the first place when they can certainly choose to use one-time payment option! Most of them didn't make the app quality good enough to deserve subscription fees.
I’ve noticed that every app I’ve paid for (I refuse to pay for subscriptions except on a very rare occasion where it’s like $10 a year), the one time-purchase apps are much better quality, better supported, and just overall more pleasant to use.

I feel like with subscriptions they’re just using it to suck people in and then not caring. Even more so when it’s an annual subscription.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)