Blog skyhook logo Skyhook Report: Mass-Produced Bulk Apps Make up App Store Volume

Jul 15, 2009 6:10:00 PM

Skyhook Report: Mass-Produced Bulk Apps Make up App Store Volume

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BOSTON, MA - July 15, 2009 - Skyhook Wireless®, provider of of XPS, the patented hybrid location system, today released its July report on trends in location-aware apps from Apple's App Store, Google's Android Marketplace, Blackberry App World, Nokia's Ovi Store, and the Palm App Catalog.

The report looks closely at the evolution of LBS app pricing in the two longest running stores, the Android Marketplace and Apple App Store. In both stores, $0.99 is the most popular paid category, and only a handful of apps sell for $6.00 to $8.99. Some location apps sell for $9.99 or higher in both stores. Most of these high-priced apps are navigation or sports-related like golf and sailing.

In the first half of 2009 there was an abnormal spike of hundreds of $0.99 apps, due to the release of several batches of "Bulk Apps." These are template-based apps sold at the same price point which have the same look and feel but swap out content. For example, one developer sells over 850 travel apps based on the same template, but switches out content based on specific locations like Paris or Costa Rica. Around 1/3 of Apple LBS apps are these mass-produced local search or travel guide apps. There are over 50,000 App Store apps, and this massive number is often referenced as a sign of the tremendous growth of the App Store. But, it is important to understand that bulk apps make up much of this volume.

"The release of Bulk Apps is a monetization strategy. These developers aim to sell many apps at low price points and low volumes, rather than millions of downloads of one killer app," said Kate Imbach, director of marketing and developer programs at Skyhook Wireless. "There is not yet a well-understood path to monetization for mobile apps. Developers are experimenting with various price points, mobile advertising, and virtual goods. Creating a catalog of Bulk Apps is another new and unproven marketing method for mobile apps. As developers experiment with these strategies, it will be interesting to see if Bulk Apps gain traction."

The report also reveals that Nokia's Ovi Store has the smallest ratio of LBS apps to total apps. Only 2% of Ovi apps use location. This is surprising considering Nokia's demonstrated interest and massive financial commitment to the location space, including the $8.1 billion acquisition of Navteq.

The full report is available today at