Time to revenue for app developers is 36 days on average

A new report on app stores by VisionMobile should be required reading for any apps developers and publishers out there, especially those looking for revenue from their apps.

According to VisionMobile’s Developer Economics 2010 report we are now in the industrial revolution era (2010-2014) of app development having gone through the difficult Dark Ages (2000-2004), and the tricky Renaissance period (2005-2009), and things are starting to take off – as can be seen in the graph below that matches app number to installed base – and become a lot simpler.

Installed Base v's Number of Apps VisionMobile q1 2010

The biggest hurdle we’ve got over is the acceptance period from submitting your app to approval – VisionMobile calls this the time-to-shelf period – and their findings show that app stores have reduced the average time-to-shelf by two thirds: from 68 days across traditional channels eg getting product on to a mobile in a pre-load or on to a operator portal, to 22 days via an app store.

According to MobileVision, placing an application on an operator portal takes more than two months, due to the inflexibility of operator processes that are not designed with smaller developers in mind. Moreover, to preload an application on a handset takes more than three months. Meanwhile, three to six months before launch is the typical timeframe for pre-loaded applications that are customised by an operator or a third-party.

Additionally the time to revenue has also reduced significantly. According to VisionMobile app stores have reduced the time-to-payment by more than half; from 82 days on average in the case of traditional channels, to just 36 days on average with app stores.

Time to market for apps

VisionMobile also show that the developer’s choice of platform impacts the time-to-market for applications. The Apple iOS platform is the fastest platform for taking applications to market, at 24 days time-to-shelf,
irrespective of route to market. Windows Phone is almost on par with Android in terms of average time-to-shelf. This may come as a surprise, given that 64 percent of Android developers using an app store report that their apps take less than one week to reach the shelf. However, the majority of Windows Phone developers make apps
available via their own websites, or direct to the customer who is commissioning the application, and both of these routes to market are also fairly fast. Symbian applications are by far the hardest to take to market, taking on average over 52 days to reach the shelf from the time of submission – at the opposite end of the spectrum from iPhone applications.

The Developer Economics 2010 report is based on the combined knowledge and experiences of 400+ worldwide developers and delves into all aspects of mobile application development on eight major mobile platforms iOS (iPhone), Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Java ME, Windows Phone, Flash/Flash Lite and mobile web (WAP/XHTML/CSS/JavaScript). It’s an incredibly weighty read and as we say it should be required reading it’s also free – you’ll need to enter your email address – so go there now.

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