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Free apps dominate iOS space as users ignore business tools

18 Dec 2012

Two thirds of apps released in Apple's App Store this year were free-to-download, according to a new study from Appsfire.

The mark represents a sea change from 2008 when 74 percent of apps were pay-to-download. Appsfire founder Ouriel Ohayon says the high number of free apps available is a direct result of the growing number of so-called "freemium" mobile apps currently offered.

"Free is clearly prevailing over paid. Seventy four percent of apps published in 2008 were paid, in contrast to 34 percent this year," said Ohayon in a blog post.

"This can be explained by the growing popularity of in-app purchase as a way to efficiently monetise an app."

Over 339,000 apps were created for Apple's ecosystem this year, according to Appsfire. That number adds to the over 686,000 apps that have already been created for Apple. The App Store now offers over one million apps.

That figure is in comparison to the 675,000 apps available in the Google Play store this year.

According to Appsfire, many apps sold through Apple's App Store fail to generate any interest. The firm's study found that over 600,000 mobile apps got very little traction through user reviews and downloads.

Appfire says that out of the whole ecosystem only around 1,000 apps made it into the top ranks of the App Store this year. Apps make it into Apple's top rankings through an algorithm that takes into account downloads and reviews.

Game apps are only reported to make up around 17 percent of the total apps in the ecosystem. However, 64 percent of the top apps in the App Store are games. According to the study, only one in 1,690 non-gaming apps made it into the top 10 most popular apps in the store this year.

Appsfire also found that over 25 percent of approved apps in the store eventually get pulled by Apple. Apple has long been known to offer stricter app policies when compared to its competitors.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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