How much money can a mobile app make?

5 min readFeb 22, 2023

A lot of businesses are considering developing an app because it has become such a lucrative industry. Today there are 6.3 billion smartphone users, and this industry shows no signs of slowing down. However, things are not always straightforward. This post will teach you how two factors — the app platform and app category can play a role in how much money a mobile app can make. We will also talk about whether it is profitable to develop apps for other smart devices and things to consider when developing an app.

How does the platform influence potential earnings?

The app’s platform can determine how much a mobile app can make. We are talking about two major platforms — iOS and Android. According to Statista, the Android operating system dominates with a 72% market share, while iOS accounts for around 28% of the mobile market. With that being said, it is interesting to note that it is more lucrative to develop an app on iOS because iOS users are generally considered to be more affluent. The owners of iOS devices are more willing to spend on apps and in-app purchases.

However, things are different in different regions. For example, those in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Japan, plus the Scandinavian countries prefer iOS, while users from Eastern Europe, some Western European countries, Africa, and most of Asia normally use Android devices. So, when you are developing an app, these platform choices should be considered.

Another factor to consider is that Apple’s App Store is mainly for iOS devices and it charges 30% of revenue while Google Play Store takes 15 % of revenue. This also can affect the app’s earnings.

So, which one to choose? I would suggest if you want wider coverage, choose Android but if you want more paying users choose iOS. Of course, the location you are going to operate is also a factor. Today, most businesses target both platforms to compensate for losses.

While mobile app categories generate the most money?

Some app categories make more money than others. According to Sensor Tower, games, social apps, and entertainment apps account for lion’s share. This is true both for Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Another profitable category is lifestyle apps. Some generate money through in-app purchases, like games. Others heavily rely on subscription and in-app purchases like entertainment apps and streaming services. This is true also about lifestyle apps, such as fitness and dating. Learn more about how free apps make money.

Is it lucrative to focus on smart devices for app development?

The lion’s share goes to iOS and Android but there are a growing number of other smart devices available in the market. For example, smartwatches, smart home devices, etc. With the growth of AI and IoT, smart devices are gaining more and more popularity. However, the number of users for these devices is still generally small. In addition to this, it requires specialized knowledge and skills. Therefore, both the earnings and app cost may not be as lucrative as with iOS and Android. For example, you can estimate around $15,000 to $100,00 to develop a mobile app for smart home automation. The average spending for the smart home app is around $30,000. Just building the app prototype may cost you $10,000.

Having said that, it is still worth saying that smart devices are the future since their users save significant amounts of time and money as a result of automation. For example, 75 % of a survey reported increased efficiencies in their daily task. Users save on electricity, and time and enjoy more comfort. So, yes, it is the future and it can be very profitable to develop apps for other smart devices despite their low coverage today.

Things to consider when developing an app

Some apps are successful, while others are not. This is because some of the factors play a crucial role and those developing the apps give careful consideration to them. Let’s examine what these factors are:

  • Target audience: for whom are you developing the app? And by who, I mean everything — your app user needs, age, peculiarities, preferences, etc. If you just take an app like TikTok, it becomes clear that the app developers had a very clear idea of what is missing for the app users, particularly, the youth. Well, they were bored! And TikTok solves exactly this problem.
  • Monetization: let’s take the same TikTok. TikTok generates money from active users. Gone are the days when ads and subscriptions generated the most money. Today, TikTok users are money generators themselves. So, think about some creative ways of generating money in addition to in-app purchases, subscriptions, and ads.
  • Platform: as we talked about earlier, the app platform is a money generator. When thinking about your audience, think also about the app platform. If you want wider coverage, choose Android. If you target a more affluent audience, choose iOS. And always remember about the region because app platform users are different in different regions.
  • Marketing: This can include social media marketing, influencer marketing, and app store optimization.
  • Cost: cost is also a factor that will heavily affect your profits. It’s important to make sure that the app will be profitable. So, you have to have a rough estimate of revenue and spending and choose your best budget to fit the spending,


As we see, the app platform and app category can influence potential earnings. We illustrated “how much money can a mobile app make” by focusing on these two factors. When it comes to other smart devices, you might think that it’s not the right time since the number of users is small and app development requires specialized knowledge and skills. However, the proliferation of AI and IoT speaks in favor of smart devices. So, this can be profitable as well. To have a successful app, several factors should be considered, like target audience, platform, monetization, marketing, and cost.




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