Looking to build a mobile app startup? First look at the most profitable app categories

Mobile App Development is driven by a quest to make a user’s life easy, offer convenience. In the process, Mobile App Development businesses seek to make money by adding value. An app developed keeping user’s pain points in mind can be a thriving revenue stream for the business owner. In 2018, global downloads across iOS and Google Play surpassed 113 billion in 2018, a 10% increase from 2017. While global consumer spend has risen a whopping 20% year-on-year to over $76 billion, India has become the world’s fastest-growing market for mobile applications on both the Apple ioS and Google’s Android Play Store, with a sharp spike in revenue in the first quarter of 2018.

There are many categories of apps on app stores today. Profits of an app depend on its monetisation model a great deal. When categorised segment wise, some apps appear to be more revenue-bearing for businesses than others. If you are a business looking to bring in returns from app development you must steer clear of a low-income app segment and an inappropriate monetization model.

App Monetisation Models for Your App Business

I. Freemium Model

Adopting the freemium model gives a business considerable advantage over its competitors. Allowing the user to check out the app for free, instead of asking them to pay upfront is a winning strategy. It builds customer loyalty.

II. In-App Ads

III. Paid App Services

These paid services in an app can be offered along with a premium plan model.

Most Profitable App Categories

Shopping Apps

Talking about profitability in a shopping app, its best practice to create premium plans with smaller fees. Developers must prioritize search results positioning in app design. In the end, a profitable shopping app is the one where you get creative in selling your value to the user. There is more to shopping apps than a simple catalogue installation and payment gateway integration. It is important to have a marketing partner in place to plan and execute strategies to help the app become a user’s favourite.

Gaming Apps

When it comes to monetisation, “free-to-play” is the norm. Even if you allow players to enjoy the game content free of charge, it is not necessary that you have paved way for in-app purchases. The format of the game and app outlay must offer the user high engagement to earn desirable profits.


An ideal entertainment app comes with an interactive app interface, multiple sharing options and options for engagement. As customers are spoilt for choice with a variety of entertainment apps in the market, its best to have a proper monetization strategy in place from the beginning. Opt for the freemium model and make space for non-intrusive ads in your entertainment app.

Educational Apps

While the free version must be a valuable resource to the user. This category of apps can be built to feature “additional” premium content. The users need not be forced to upgrade, instead, he needs to be shown the full value that a paid subscription can bring in.

Lifestyle Apps

All apps in this category have their distinct niche audience. Thus lifestyle app business owners need to configure their own outreach strategy and monetisation model. Most people use lifestyle apps to cater to important functions and hence do not welcome distractions like ads. The paid-only approach does not fare well unless your lifestyle app executes a really crucial function. However, you can integrate helpful features of great value in the premium plan. You can charge a fee for every transaction made. Additionally, you can monetize the data obtained from usage patterns.


At the end of the day, profitable app development is not about what category has the most number of downloads or promising stats. Strategic app development includes choosing a niche where you can innovate and offer user something that is not there in the market. It is best to keep your focus on creating value for the customer through the app and then figuring out the best monetisation model for it. As a business owner, you need to choose the app niche that you have an understanding of.

Our team at Promatics Technologies has a versatile app development portfolio. We specialise in native, hybrid as well as web apps. Get in touch with your business app idea and let us help you execute it to perfection.

Note: This article first appeared at: A look at most profitable app categories

I live, breathe and dream mobile apps. My interest lies in pursuing and getting to know the best app development technologies, processes and platforms.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store