Sunday, September 21, 2014

Buying and Selling apps on CodeCanyon

A couple of months ago I found out about Fiverr and I decided to try it out. I published a gig offering to help people add ads to their Android apps. It wasn't very successful - I basically just got one person buy it. However, our cooperation didn't end with just ads. He asked me later to reskin a soundboard app he had bought on CodeCanyon for $15. I took a closer look at the portal because I was amazed at how cheaply you could get good quality code to learn from and reuse. Recently, I decided to run a full-fledged research and find out if CodeCanyon could be profitable for sellers as well. Here's how I did it and what I discovered.

Research details

In order to gather the data about mobile apps, I wrote a simple web crawler in Python. It went through all four categories - Android, iOS, Native Web, and Titanium, extracting interesting pieces of information about each app. After the script's work was done, it saved the collected data in a csv file, which I subsequently imported into a Google Docs spreadsheet. From there I extracted the statistics that seemed the most useful to me - how expensive the apps are on average, how much developers earn, which categories and platforms are the most popular, etc.

Results summary

There is almost a thousand mobile apps - most of them for iOS, but a lot for Android as well. They range from $5 to around $50 and the average price is only $15. It's insane that you can buy a fully-functional game or application for such a low price.

There are almost 50k apps sold worth more than 800k dollars. Again iOS is leading in the ranking, but Android is not that far behind it. Web and Titanium apps are far less popular, but still not insignificant.

The most popular apps have sold a good couple hundred copies worth around $10k earned. The best of them sell more than a hundred times a month, bringing their authors up to $2k monthly revenue.

On average, however, apps sell in around ten copies and earn between $100 to $200 a month and $1k in total (most app are quite new though). This is still not bad, taking into account the potential revenue you could have with those apps.

Among the most popular Android apps there are:
The Restaurant App - 463 copies sold
Android Flat UI Template - 418 copies sold
Kids Memory Game With Admob - 366 copies sold
Recipies App - 335 copies sold

Judging by the ratings, the majority of apps seem to be of high quality. Each gets rated by around 10 people and the scores are mostly favorable.

There's also extensive feedback from buyers - some discussions exceeding 400 posts. On average, however, there are 30 comments on each app, which gives you a good idea about other people's doubts and the author's responsiveness.

Categories Summary

I wanted to see which app categories were the most popular and profitable. Here's the result of my research.

Android Categories
iOS Categories

Web Categories

Titanium Categories

Full Applications

Full Applications
Frameworks and Libraries

Full Applications

Full Applications

As expected, people want to buy full applications and games which are ready to reskin and reuse. Some templates and utilities are popular as well, but usually bring less profit. For more details, take a look at the tables above.


CodeCanyon seems to be a great place to both buy and sell apps. It's affordable for buyers, but still lets you make a significant amount of money if you want to publish your own code there. Note that the extended license (the one letting people sell the app) costs five times more than the regular one. I didn't take it into account in my research, because there was no information about the percentage of people purchasing it. It might influence your earnings significantly though.

In the future I might experiment with CodeCanyon some more. I have a nice idea for a simple but interesting app related to Facebook. Perhaps I will try to see if other people would want to use it as well...

P.S. Sorry for not posting anything for so long. I was moving between countries - from Italy to Poland. There has been some exciting stuff happening in the meantime and I'd like to tell you about it. In short - I got my first Elance project, I read a good book about indie Android adventures, I'm working on an arcade game for a local company, and I'm on the brink of being admitted to a premium freelancing portal. Stay tuned for more details! 

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