The Most Popular iTunes Apps Aren't Always The Cheapest

While the most popular aren’t always the cheapest, on average, the Top 10 Paid apps tend to be cheaper than less popular ones (those ranked 45 to 55 or 91 to 100):


The situation varies across categories and in this post I’ll briefly examine a few of the larger ones. In both the Books and Games categories, the mean price of the Top 10 most popular paid apps tend to be lower than less popular ones. In other large categories, such as Navigation†† and Travel, the situation isn’t as clear: the mean price of the Top 10 most popular paid apps aren’t always lower.


(Click here for a larger version of the chart above.)

Since the mean tends to be susceptible to outliers (a few high-priced apps), I decided to graph the price distributions for the top paid apps in the categories displayed above (click here for the graph). I looked at statistical densities††† on three dates: 3/8 (24 weeks ago), 5/31 (12 weeks ago), and last week. In the Book category, the top 10 paid apps now seem to be dominated by lower-priced (99 cent) titles. In the Game category, the top 10 game apps were comparatively lower-priced 24 weeks ago but things have changed slightly: the top 10 game apps are no longer substantially cheaper than less popular ones (rank 45 to 55, or rank 91 to 100).

(†) I refer to a paid app as being in the Top N, if it was listed among the N most popular apps, sometime during the given week.

(††) For display purposes (i.e. to avoid distorted looking graphs), I omitted a couple of popular (top 10) but unusually high-priced Navigation apps (MobileNavigator and TomTom).

(†††) Based on small samples, the approximate densities drawn are far from robust, but they provide another tool for comparing categories. Boxplots over time would be another method.

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