Easily Estimate App Sales & Downloads of any iOS & iTunes Store App

Apr 27, 2011 - 6 Comments

Estimate iOS App Store Download and Sales Numbers

Getting specific information about iTunes & iOS App Store downloads is notoriously difficult, very few developers are candid enough to share download counts and the majority of developers guard download data for competitive reasons. If you’re curious how well a specific app in the iOS iTunes Store is selling, try using this quick and dirty formula to get a rough estimate of sales numbers:

Number of Ratings * 30 = Sales Estimate

This unscientific formula comes from the developer of River of News, a Google Reader app for iPad, who confirms the formula is reasonably accurate:

I found several sources independently say that about 1 in 30 buyers of a paid app will rate it in the store. I now have two apps in the store and that ratio has held up remarkably well.

I ran the formula on Angry Birds, and came up with six trillion quadrillion gazillion infinitiy downloads, which sounds about accurate. So the next time you start pouring money into iPhone app development, take a look at some of the apps out there and run the formula, it’s not perfect but it’s better than nothing.

Update: fixed the link to the developer site.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, iTunes


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  1. Syed says:

    This is monthly estimate right?

  2. […] App Store doesn’t release actual sales numbers but OSXDaily has come up with an “it’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing” formula for estimating sales by using the number of reviews.  Their formula is:  Number of Reviews x 30 x […]

  3. ABC says:

    found a paper at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1924044 that suggests a formula to calculate the downloads:

  4. This formula cannot possibly be correct. Example: Words for Friends by NewToys has 450 ratings. It’s one of the most popular apps out there. It only has 13,500 sales?

    My iphone says Angry Birds has 55,000 ratings. This article would say that it, therefore, has less than 2 million sales, which seems low, to say the least. There are 190 million iPhones out there, and I bet more than 1% of them has Angry Birds.

  5. appsasia says:

    actually for us we have seen that it’s usually 1-100 as well…

  6. MacGeek says:

    This probably depends on the persistence of apps pestering you to review, I think Apple clamped down on that a while back though right? Some of the comments note that Camera+ for instance has far less reviews than downloads that are out of whack with the 1-30 ratio, suggesting 1-100 might be more accurate.

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