Wednesday, June 19, 2024

To Make Real Money with an iOS App, You Need to Offer Entertainment, Gaming, or Dating

By the end of 2021, Statista estimates that mobile applications will generate more than $693 billion in revenue through paid downloads and in-app advertising, up 17.6 percent from the previous year. This amount is expected to continue increasing to an astounding $935 billion by 2023, thanks to an increase in the availability of low-cost data plans from telecom operators and an unprecedented surge in internet penetration throughout the world.

In other words, if you’ve been considering entering the app development field, it isn’t too late for you.

On that note, there is only one real option when choosing a platform for your app if your ultimate goal is to maximize profit. The Apple App Store generated $21.5 billion in consumer spending in the third quarter of 2021, compared to just $12.1 billion on the Google Play Store, a 55 percent difference.

So, if you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, Apple is the way to go. Sorry Android fans.

Assessing the current user demand

The Apple App Store is one of the most popular (and lucrative) mobile application markets in the world, but it’s also one of the most competitive.

In August 2021, the platform launched roughly 32,500 unique apps, with a total of 2.22 million estimated to be available for download on the store at the time of writing. With this in mind, it’s important that you have a firm understanding of the industry and what consumers are currently demanding if you want to stand any chance at securing a share of the market.

It’s easy to determine where the demand lies by simply observing the top-grossing app store rankings for iOS devices. The truth is, the vast majority of apps on the top 50 list fall into the entertainment, gaming, or dating genres, so if you’re looking to make real money with your product, any of these subgroups would be an excellent place to start.

With that in mind, let’s analyze each of these industries, examining some of the most successful examples from each and why they’re dominating the charts.


Mobile applications have been quietly revolutionizing the entertainment industry for quite some time now. These days, anyone with a mobile phone now has access to a plethora of on-demand entertainment services, which is why this category has grown to become one of the most popular in the world.

Whether it is watching videos online, posting photos on social media websites, reading books, or tuning in to their favorite podcasts, smartphone users are always looking for new ways to keep themselves entertained and engaged.

Looking at the top-grossing charts, it’s no surprise to see the major streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ all securing their positions in the top 50, especially considering the significant surge in popularity for streaming services during Covid-19. To give you an idea of how popular these applications are, the Netflix mobile app saw 16.4 million downloads in June 2021 alone, with Amazon Prime Video coming in second with 11.34 million.

While it will be exceedingly difficult to compete with Amazon, Netflix, and the big social networking sites, this isn’t to suggest there isn’t still plenty of space to maneuver for new app developers.

First, consider what is already popular, then explore how you might improve the user experience and provide more value to customers. Examine the products of the most popular applications in the subcategory you want to enter and see what they do well and what they don’t. By doing so, you can make your app stand out by establishing a new design that may provide a unique experience for your potential consumers.


Amazingly, mobile gaming accounts for 43% of all smartphone use, with the total number of active mobile gamers worldwide currently sitting at over 2.2 billion. This truly massive global market is full of opportunities. If you can somehow develop an app that captures the interest of mobile users and hits the mainstream, the sky’s the limit in terms of the amount of money that you can earn.

Right now, there are over one million different gaming apps on the Apple App Store, with some of the most popular being Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Call of Duty Mobile, and Pokemon Go.

Interestingly, the one thing that all of these games have in common is that they are free to play. Instead of relying on a pay-per-download model, most of the top-ranked games prefer a freemium strategy that generates revenue through in-app purchases and ads, which is something bearing in mind if you are considering creating your own mobile game.

Some of the most popular game genres include puzzle, breakout, brain games, action, adventure, and shooters, so be sure to explore those areas first.


Two of the top ten spots on the Apple Store’s top-grossing list belong to dating apps Tinder (2nd) and Bumble (8th), with an honorable mention of Hinge occupying number 28 on the top chart.

Since Tinder burst onto the scene in 2013, it truly revolutionized the online dating industry and brought a newfound simplicity to what was once an often over-complicated process. With Tinder’s innovative matchmaking algorithm, all users had to do was swipe right to those they were interested in and left to those they were not, all based on a handful of photos and a short bio section. However simple the idea may seem, it still managed to capture the attention of millions of users worldwide, where it now generates over $1.4 billion each year.

With 270 million global users, mobile dating is another industry that has huge potential for app developers. With that said, it’s a notoriously difficult nut to crack, so you need to think of a new angle to approach it from. For example, Bumble’s application makes it so the woman must be the first to initiate contact (instead of it being an open discussion). This creates an interesting dynamic that shakes things up from the status quo.

Happn is another innovative app that only matches users if they have crossed paths before, such as on the same commute or being in the same restaurant or coffee shop. If you can come up with another unique twist on the stereotypical mobile dating process, you could be on to a winner.

Final word

The mobile app industry is booming right now. If you’re looking to make some money through developing an app of your own, now is as good a time as ever to hop on the bandwagon and secure a share of the market. Similar to most other business ventures, the best tactic is to take a look at what is working (and what is in demand) at the moment and see how you can utilize your skills, experience, and knowledge to create a better user experience and improve on what is already out there.

Claire James
Claire James
Claire is an accounts manager at Fire Digital UK, an online publishing and content marketing company based in the North West.

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