app poverty line
n. The minimum income level that a programmer requires to make an independent living developing apps.
Though the app stores continue to fill up with ever more mobile applications, the reality is that most of these are not sustainable businesses. According to a new report out this morning, half (50%) of iOS developers and even more (64%) Android developers are operating below the "app poverty line" of $500 per app per month.
—Sarah Perez, “The Majority Of Today’s App Businesses Are Not Sustainable,” TechCrunch, July 21, 2014
As I continue to meet with large numbers of app developers and publishers, I can’t deny that many of them acknowledge the need for a good solid QA process. But examples like the above explain why in a market full of demanding consumers many developers live below the ‘app poverty line’, unable to make back their development costs.
—Martin Wrigle, “The App Fails of the Last 12 Months and What We Can Learn From Them,” App Quality Alliance, May 28, 2014
2012 (earliest)
Based on our research of 1,500+ developers we found that while the average per-app revenue is in the range of $1,200-$3,900 depending on platform, an app has a 35% chance of generating $1-$500. This means that one in three developers live below the "app poverty line"; That is, they cannot rely on apps as a sole source of income.
—Matos Kapetanakis, “Developer Economics 2012 — The New App Economy,” VisionMobile, June 20, 2012