App Sales Data Between Demo and Paid Versions Compared
David Frampton from Majic Jungle Software has shared an interesting graph that shows how sales of his game Chopper (iTunes Link) have been increased by the release of a free version, Chopper Lite (iTunes Link).
It’s an interesting move. Chopper has been around for a while, it was first released in late August, 2008. Chopper has also spent quite a bit of time in the top 100 lists. It peaked at number 2 in all paid apps in the US, and spent 9 days as the number 2 paid game during the Christmas/New Year time frame. A great time to be on the top lists with all of the new devices and people with gift cards to spend.
But, that was months ago. Sales, while never disappearing, had started to fall from their peak. So David decided to release a free demo version, Chopper Lite. A smart move if the example of some other games are any example. iShoot rode to number one on the games and all paid apps lists in the US, many believe, due to it’s demo version. Similarly, Fast Lane Racing also saw a boost in sales once they released a free version of their app.
So, with that, releasing a demo version seems to make sense. It requires a minimal investment. You do risk the chance of diluting the sales of your app. But if a demo version of the app is done properly, it’s a kind of taste for the app and just increases the interest of the customer for the paid version. Deciding how much to put in your demo version is a tough topic, and one we’ll have to discuss at another time.
The graph below shows a month of sales for both versions of Chopper starting out on the date the free version, Chopper Lite (yellow line) was released. At the time of release, you can see that the paid version of Chopper (blue line) was selling around 300 copies / day and increased to a peak of just over 800/day during this month. The scale on the left is the download count of the free version.
The graph shows that the release of the demo version had an immediate impact on the paid version, easily doubling sales in less than a week. The interesting thing is the direct correlation of the free version downloads to the paid version download. When one does better, so does the other. The spikes, mainly come on weekends.
Also notice how the paid version sales slowly come down after a peak in the free version downloads. “Whenever I download a lite version it usually takes weeks before I then buy the full version. I’d say that is exactly what is going on here, the lite version is having a more long term effect, despite having peaked in downloads some time ago.”, theorized David on this trend. A theory that seems sound. It could also have to do with how long it takes a user to complete everything they have available to them in the demo version. Once they are done with the demo they will decide if they want to just replay the demo, delete it, or hopefully, purchase the full version.
David also notes that Chopper and Chopper Lite have been far more popular in Germany than any other country. Some days sales of Chopper in Germany have outnumbered the sales in the US.
This, of course, is just an example. Releasing a demo version will not work for everyone but shows that having a demo version can be beneficial. In this specific case, David released a demo version at just the right time. Both for the sales level of his game, and for the market at the time. Thanks, David, for sharing this info.