Charging $3.99 for a Weather App

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

I launched Appy Weather in August with the expectation that there may be no market for a $3.99 weather app. I was wrong. So much so that I've even managed to resist the urge to offer the app at a reduced price for a limited time to boost sales/ratings. But I'm not naive. I know at $3.99 I continue to limit the app's growth. But you know what? I'm okay with that, because through my regular interactions with Appy Weather's users, it's become pretty clear that charging a premium for an app attracts a certain type of user: smart, tasteful, constructive, patient. As a one-man-shop developing Appy Weather purely out of passion (and not necessity), I neither have the resources nor patience to satisfactorily support a potentially larger but less considerate user base. 

And so I decided that instead of lowering Appy Weather's price to artificially increase its value proposition, I will do the opposite: stop $3.99 being a hindrance by continuing to add value through regular updates. For any one who has bought AW despite the availability of other (much) less expensive weather apps, it's the least I can do to thank them for their support because I know although $3.99 is not much in the real world, relative for an app, especially one that just tells the weather, it is expensive. But, lucky for me, I've learnt that its value and not price that users prioritise when deciding whether to buy an app.1 2

1. Well, unless you're a freeloader, a user group increasing in number as more and more apps go free(mium).

2. This would most certainly not be the case were it not for trials on the Windows Phone Store, because you can only meaningfully extract value from an app by trying it out yourself.  

$3.99 is objectively expensive for an app. The actual cost to a user may be more/less depending on their personal wealth/circumstances, but its expensiveness is relative to the competition and is a constant for all users. On the other hand, value is more of a fluctuating variable per user. That is, although Appy Weather at $3.99 may represent poor value to one user, it may be invaluable to another. For example, someone in Dubai, where the weather is predictably hot throughout the year, may feel AW offers not any more value than a free weather app, but someone in London, where talking about the weather is a national past-time, may find that the rain toast notifications alone justifies forking $3.99 out for.

As far as I'm concerned, screenshots, videos, and reviews of an app help inform users on whether they should try out an app, whereas it's the trial that determines whether they will buy it. I'm curious how many paid AW users would have if it didn't come with a trial; wouldn't be surprised if it was significantly less.