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Life @ the App Store - Part 1: Overall sales figures

I got my first App Store paycheck about 2 years ago and my first iPhone app - GeoLogTag - was downloaded for the 5000th time somewhere last week. A good time to look back and share my App Store experiences. 

To put things in perspective I will (re-)introduce myself. I’m a professional programmer since 1992 and I started developing for the App Store in August 2008. All iOS app development is done in my spare time as a hobby.

I’m also a passionate amateur photographer. That explains why all my apps are photography related.

I have 4 apps in the App Store with the following launch dates

  • GeoLogTag: December 2008
  • Scotty (PhotoToMac): June 2009
  • WiiPhoto: August 2010
  • PhotoMeta: April 2011

It took about 5 months before I received the first payment, because at the time a payment was only done if the total sales exceeded 250 USD in one of the 7 regions (Americas, Europe, Great Britain, Australia & NZ, Japan, Canada, Rest of the World).

Note that the chart below is in Euro since I live in Belgium. With the current exchange rate €1000 ≈ $1400.


Lessons to be learned from the above chart:

  • more apps doesn’t mean more revenue
  • a “slow” month doesn’t mean the next month will be slow too and vice versa
  • revenue per hour worked is extremely low

Cumulative payments over 24 months ≈ €18 700 ($26 200).

During that period, costs were approximately €3500 ($4900) consisting of hardware, advertising, iPhone dev program, ...

That makes a net result of €15 200 ($21 300) before tax deduction. Certainly not enough to make a living of it, but I have no plans to quit. Here’s why:

  • I love programming and I certainly love making iOS apps.
  • I love photography. Making photography related apps is a perfect combination for me.
  • I love to travel. Thanks to my App Store revenue I can make extra trips with my family.
  • I’m not running out of interesting app ideas

In the upcoming weeks I will post more detailed sales figures and other info about my last two and a half years at the App Store. If you don’t want to miss these, follow me on Twitter.