Friday, February 10, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Piezo’s Life Outside the Mac App Store

Paul Kafasis (tweet, Hacker News):

The Mac App Store previously made up about half of Piezo’s unit sales, so we might have expected to sell half as many copies after exiting the store. Instead, it seems that nearly all of those App Store sales shifted to direct sales. It appears that nearly everyone who would have purchased Piezo via the Mac App Store opted to purchase directly once that was the only option. Far from the Mac App Store helping drive sales to us, it appears we had instead been driving sales away from our own site, and into the Mac App Store.

[…]

In each of the four most recent quarters, Piezo brought in more revenue than it had in the corresponding quarter a year earlier. We earned more revenue when Piezo was available exclusively through our store than when we provided the App Store as another purchasing option.

This result might seem counterintuitive. Piezo’s price remained the same, and unit sales went down, so how could we have earned more revenue? The key to understanding this is remembering the cost of being in Apple’s App Stores — 30% off the top of every sale.

Previously: 100 Days Without the App Store, Piezo Exits the Mac App Store.

Update (2017-02-14): John Biggs (via Hacker News):

App Stores are storehouses. They are great if you’re giving something away – you can grab lots of eyeballs quickly with the right strategy – but they definitely take a cut of revenue and could encroach on overall sales. The problem is that we’re stuck. We’re stuck selling through the iOS and Android app stores and, if you sell books, Amazon is the only way to go. When get locked into one way of sales we’d don’t see or accept alternatives and that hurts us.

In the end these three examples should not define a sales strategy. What they do show, however, is that for certain popular products there is little value in trusting any app store – be in Google’s, Apple’s, or Microsoft’s – to work in your favor. Direct sales are always and option and it’s quite important to figure out a strategy based on direct sales sooner than later.

Nick Heer:

The Mac App Store could have been a golden opportunity for developers. In a hypothetical world, having Apple handle credit card processing, automatic updates, quality assurance, and curation, plus putting their marketing muscle behind the store — all of these factors could have made developers happy to give up 30% of their potential revenue. But the large number and aggressive types of limitations required for apps in the store combined with Apple’s rather lax quality controls has made the Mac App Store a combined flea market and glorified Software Update utility.

1 Comment

Great to hear it works for some of us getting out of the MAS and handing over 30% to Apple!
OTOH it also heavily depends on your customer base: We've made a decent income selling our app targeted to hobbyists directly until couple years ago, however since switching to the "one-click buying" experience in the MAS our sales have doubled (allowing us to go 100% indie).
It seems there are people out there who still don't like handing over their credit card data to some random web page.

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.

Leave a Comment