Unlike the App Store mobile bazaar which is the home to 99-cent quick sellers, with about one third free items, inexpensive software takes a back seat on the Mac App Store. According to a Distimo study based on an analysis of major application stores, less than one in eight apps on the Mac App Store are free of charge and games comprise 29 percent of all submissions.
Less than two months since launch the Mac App Store has 2,225 applications versus 8,099 iPad apps two months post-launch. Mac applications on average cost $11.21 – seven times the average selling price of iPhone apps ($1.57) and almost three times higher than on the iPad ($4.19). I have a feeling price drops on the Mac App Store are inevitable and here’s why.
Expect price wars on the Mac App Store to ensue soon. Mac OS X Lion looms on the horizon and it’ll pave the way for a greater number of iOS ports as well as new cross-platform releases. Mac-only developers will feel the heat when an influx of cheaper, flashier software converted from iOS devices begins eating their lunch.
We have not seen any evidence of the race to bottom taking place at the Mac App Store yet. But, undoubtedly market economics will eventually force Mac developers to embrace the new realities. Nobody would deny that cheap software is a good thing for consumers.
That said, it remains to be seen whether high volume of sales can offset the decline in average selling prices. The “price low, go for volume” approach did the trick for songs and smartphone apps so let’s hope it works out for desktop software.