An Android Success Story: $13,000/month App Sales

Since releasing the “Car Locator” Android application about 5 months ago, I posted twice before with sales figures on the Android Marketplace. First, when I got excited after it averaged $20/day for a few days, and second, after winning third place in Google’s sponsored contest, the Android Developer Challenge 2. In both posts, I was a really happy camper because what started as a little side-project while I was vacationing with my family, turned into a few extra bucks for lunch money every day. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to say the app has continued its upward trend and is now beyond my wildest fantasy of what could have been possible. So without further ado:

Numbers

  • About 70,000 downloads of the free version.
  • 6,590 downloads of the paid version
  • Price of the app was raised from $1.99 to $3.99
  • The app steadily climbed the charts, briefly reaching a peak of #4 in the Travel category for paid apps.

Analysis

  • The application was netting an average of about $80-$100/day, until it became a featured app on the Marketplace. Since then, sales have been phenomenal, netting an average of $435/day, with a one day record of $772 on Valentine's Day. Too bad I didn't have a Valentines date this year -- we would've gone somewhere real special!
  • There appears to be clear peaks on the weekends and during holidays. This was always my hunch, but I think I can finally say this with certainty since the signal-to-noise ratio is much better now.
  • Some may be quick to point out that a featured Android application is only able to net $400/day, while top iPhone apps make thousands. But the Android market appears to rotate applications in and out of the featured apps list in some psedo-random fashion. Every time I open the Marketplace app, the featured list is different and most of the time, I don’t even see my app on there.
  • The price of the application was increased from $1.99 to $3.99. I ran a few price experiments and was surprised to see that though I doubled the price of the app, the number of purchases decreased by much less than half. Android users appear to have a willingness to pay more than a couple dollars for apps.
  • Piracy appears to be an increasing problem. A quick search for Car Locator on Twitter reveals links where people can download the .apk file without paying. I tend to have the same attitude on piracy as Balsamiq, so I'm not too worried about it, but I would love to hear some typical statistics on Android piracy.

Clearly, I'm on cloud 9 with these numbers, but where does it go from here? Sales of about $13k/month is awesome income for any one person, so it may sound ridiculous for me to think it can go even higher. However, I still think that Android is only a fraction of what it will eventually become. Each release of a new Android handset gets me excited, as it means a wider reach for the Marketplace.

If Android development is something you've been mulling over, I encourage you to make the leap. Though my experiences are clearly not typical, I definitely think Android is the ideal platform to be in for an individual developer.

I'll post again in a month or so with hopefully even better numbers!

27 responses
Wow - great job dude!
Great job man this is awesome!
indeed great Job, congrats, that's awesome. I just wonder how a webapp will do on the android market
Wow, congrats. :) It's especially interesting to know that being featured has that big an effect.
I'm at about the same level that you were before being featured ($80-$100/day). My app (called "Screebl Pro") is in the top-10 in its category, and top-30 overall for paid apps, so I'm guessing that without being featured this is the level of income that one would expect for a popular app.

As for piracy, I'm at over 30% of total downloads being pirated at this point. It's frustrating, mostly because it would be a simple thing for Google to fix by offering us a market API that would allow our apps to validate purchase, but I'm not going to lose much sleep over it. They'll get to it when they get to it (or maybe not).

Congrats on your success! Simple apps that fill a need and are nicely polished -- those are the ingredients for payout on the market at this point.

You might be my hero. Congrats!

Your getting my thoughts of being a developer all fired up!

Congrats on your recent success and good luck going forward. When I first heard of your app I immediately thought of walking around an airport parking lot pressing the chirp button on my keys, wondering if I would ever find my car again. I would assume many people have that immediate kind of imagery and decide to take the plunge. While I don't have an Android phone at the moment I hope to purchase one soon and this is an app that I will be picking up, well unless I end up getting a win7 phone.
Congratulations and THANK YOU for your transparency with your sales. As someone thinking about Android development as a side project it is supremely helpful and appreciated to understand real-world results! Best of luck!
Hi Eddie, my name is Ashley and I host "This Week in Android" at www.twiandroid.com -- I'd love to have Car Locator be our App of the Week. Can you please contact me if you're interested in talking to us about your app? I'm available on Twitter as @heartlessjez. I can't find your contact information anywhere, so I'm hoping you catch this. :)

Thanks!

Edward - congrats! Much like Ashley, I'm trying to get in touch with you. I created what's currently the most popular Windows Mobile "car finder" app, but it is not making $13,000 a month. In fact... well, erm, I'll not give exact numbers here. :) I'm wondering if we could partner to make a cross-platform version - I'm @pugwonk on Twitter if you'd be interested. But congrats either way, that's a real win!
David -- Thanks for letting me know of your ballpark numbers! Appreciate it!
Hi Edward. Congrats on this news. I'd love to talk to you about marketing your app further to drive many more downloads. I work for Quattro Wireless, now owned by Apple, and would love to talk to you about promoting your app on our mobile ad network. We serve over 7B impressions on over 4,000 mobile publishers.

E-mail me at ediamond@quattrowireless.com and we can speak further.

Thanks,
Evan

Why won't you leave me alone? I just want to be left alone.
Eddie,
Congrats on the hard work. It seems like it paid off. It would be great to chat with you further on what you are up too. My credentials are at www.saji.ws and www.linkedin.com/in/sajijohnson.

>I would love to chat with you a bit further if possible. My email is saji @ saji.ws
Congratulations! Read it at a few other places too, being a featured app is increasing the downloads bigtime.

Could you also share how much you make a month from the 70000 free apps? Guessing you're having some advertising stuff running on those?

Thanks!

GOOD APP BUT HAS ANYONE CREATED A APP TO LOCATE A SMART (PROXIMITY) CAR KEY THAT WAS LOST
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