If you consider the sheer number of products on Play Store it would be impossible to get an exact percentage of paid apps. Initially, developers, both novice and amateur alike, wanted to milk this cow dry and the games, that were published then, were mostly paid, so there was a rather large chunk of paid mobile games in the marketplace. Later on the developers realized that not everybody would go for a paid game/app and they started looking for alternatives to monetize their product. Furthermore, piracy also affected paid apps, converting them to easily downloadable APK files off the net.
The Play Store has come a long way from being just a marketplace for apps/games. Most app submissions don’t go through the kind of moderation or censorship that the ios App Store goes through and the result is of course a huge pile up of apps/games, where some of the great apps from good companies go unnoticed.
In-App Advertising was the next best option for developers. Ads were placed inside the apps in a rather unobtrusive fashion. While most apps’ utility weren’t affected with a slight ad space either at the bottom or top, they were still considered irrelevant and annoying. Some apps also went on to have a full screen ad along with a countdown to a skip button. In the end even when the app experience was spoilt to a meagre degree, users were happy as long as it was completely free. Yet again the developers faced issues as the ads generated a lean revenue.
As a result Freemiums were introduced. These are apps/games which are free to play, but when users try to access all features, they are asked to pay a small amount. People who were hooked to the apps/games were happy to oblige. Ads were also a major source of revenue for these ‘free games’. While Freemiums are the obvious choice to go with, developers can also opt to monetizing an app through in-app purchases.
Right now it’s safe to assume that the paid apps on Play store is as less as 20% and these are either games from AAA developers like Gameloft or from gargantuan companies like Ubisoft or EA or even apps that boast of immense features. Even so, these paid apps either quickly take the freemium route within months of its release or go on sale for as less $0.99. Nonetheless feel free to charge a premium if your app meets the quality.
For bringing your mobile app ideas to life, get in touch.