Guest post: Pocket Lists sales: $29K in 15 months

A year ago I exposed Pocket Lists iPhone app sales figures ($13500 in first 3 months). For today, the overall Pocket Lists sales exceeded $29000.

Pocket Lists sales

Pocket Lists sales

Today, the app (productivity category) brings $2K/month in profit, or $65/day. The app total download counter recently hit 500K, though most of downloads are free downloads obtained during time-limited free giveaways.

29K is about three times less than was invested into the app so far.

Getting paid $13.5K after being featured on the App Store after the launch (see dedicated post on this) put our faith into the app future and motivated to continue working on the app. We introduced Pocket Lists Cloud syncing service and localized the app into 10 more languages. Unluckily, none of these pretty tedious improvements impacted sales.

What did really impact sales so far were either the app to be featured by Apple on the App Store, or to be reviewed on iOS dedicated website or blog — see all those spikes on the sales graph above.

Most sales came from US and Russian App Stores, in which the app was featured. After we localized the app into other languages, we were in a hope to get the app featured internationally, but that did not happen.

The golden price

Due to the lack of free funds and external app promotion opportunities, we were experimenting with the app price and free giveaways (see app’s price change history on Varying the app price from $0.99 to $3.99 did not significantly impact daily sales. Raising the app price lowers App Store top chart rankings and vice versa, but the overall sales volume remains at approximately the same level.

Find your app’s golden price according to the volume of external traffic coming to your app’s App Store page from the outside world, e.g. search engines and linking sites. For Pocket Lists, I found today’s golden price to be $1.99 (the base price is set to $3.99, which I feel like the best price for the app).

Free giveaways definitely drives attention to the app, but I don’t think that free giveaways practice should be taken seriously. (I think I will be writing more on this in a dedicated post later.)

iPad app

On December 6, 2012 we released iPad version of the app. I was deciding either to release it as a separate app, or make the app universal. Ultimately, I decided to make Pocket Lists universal, because it was easier to deliver and maintain. I believe that it was the right choice for Pocket Lists.

You should consider making separate apps only if you are going to sell lots of upgrades to your existing users, or if your have a lot of people coming to buy your app from external sources rather than people from the App Store top charts.

The app average daily sales increased approximately 1.5x times after the app became universal.

iPad version release was in time for the start of iPad mini, and the app was lucky to get featured by Apple in “Makin’ a List” promo list in US and Canadian App Stores. That did not bring as much in sales as a year ago (when the app was in “New & Noteworthy” and “What’s Hot”), but still that featuring is recognizable on the overall sales graph.

Sales in the US App Store after universal version was released:

Three important things to share with developers

  1. Of course, your app must be great, robust, non-buggy, etc, but still App Store today’s products are more about being fancy and freak rather than good and useful. Your app should look cool and fancy on an iOS device, it should promote iOS device advantages and capabilities — this is the key to be featured. You need to understand that Apple’s goal with the App Store is not making money on apps or getting users to satisfy by finding their perfect apps, but to promote the entire iOS platform and to drive people to buy newer iOS device models. That’s why attention is driven to all those cool new features and unusual tweaks you can do with a device. Sites and blogs that publish iOS related stuff follow much the same way.To me it reminds how a decade ago the world was buzzing about Flash-powered websites.
  2. Be quick to implement and integrate features delivered by Apple in latest iOS versions. We were lucky to get featured by Apple when we introduced location-based notifications (shortly after it appeared in iOS 5), and then when an iPad version was introduced (in time for the iPad mini release and Christmas season), but not when we released features highly requested by our users, e.g. cloud syncing and localizations into multiple languages. It’s really more likely to catch editors’ attention if you follow promote latest Apple stuff.
  3. Don’t give up and keep working!

Pocket Lists

Pocket Lists is the all-in-one universal to-do list app for iOS. For February 2013, the app’s syncing infrastructure — Pocket Lists Cloud — serves 17 000 users working with over 48 000 to-do lists and 1 600 000 to-dos. The Pocket Lists app is available on the App Store.

Get your copy today on iTunes.
App website:

All screenshots were taken using

A little about me

My name is Vladimir Tuporshin, I’m from Moscow, Russia.

Pocket Lists app is developed by 2 people: me and my friend. I do most of the design work, and my friend is responsible for coding.

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