In a recent report encapsulating data from September, app store analytics company Distimo found that BlackBerry’s App World holds the distinction of being the most expensive mobile app store. The report found that the average price for an app on BlackBerry’s App World is more than three times higher than apps found on Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google’s Android Market.
Even more staggering is that the average cost of an app in BlackBerry’s app world is higher across every single category. This difference in price is especially noticeable in the Navigation category where the average app sold for BlackBerry devices comes in at $15.66 while the average app in that same category comes in at $4.92 and $3.24 for Google’s Android Market and the iTunes App Store, respectively.
To a certain extent, the notion that apps for BlackBerry devices are more expensive shouldn’t be too surprising given that the base asking price for paid apps on BlackBerry’s App World is $2.99. Still, when you take a look at the chart below, it’s hard to reconcile just how big of a gap there is between the average price for apps across the 3 mobile app stores.
While the issue of low priced apps on iTunes has been a frequent concern for developers who fear “the race to the bottom”, it’s interesting that there has barely been a peep from BlackBerry users over what seems to be exorbitant prices in their own app store. TechCrunch speculates that this might be due to the fact that BlackBerry users tend to be more business oriented, and are therefore “more willing (and able) to pay for apps” that most iPhone users would find too expensive. Another theory is that while the average price of apps for BlackBerry devices is high, the volume of BlackBerry users who actively download apps isn’t yet large enough to have elicited a noticeable backlash from users.
And lastly, the chart above may simply be the result of basic economics, meaning that more competition in a market works to drive down prices. Given that the iTunes App Store has well over 85,000 apps, its low average selling price per app makes sense measured against the much smaller catalog of programs available for BlackBerry devices. That explanation, however, tends to dissolve a bit given the huge disparity in price that still exists between apps in the Android Market and BlackBerry’s App World.
While complete data regarding program downloads in BlackBerry’s App World is not yet available, it seems that if BlackBerry users are indeed downloading apps at a decent pace, that developers have a reason to smile.