Mac app developers say app discovery is their biggest challenge

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Setapp’s latest annual survey of Mac developers finds app discovery a major problem, but more than half plan to launch a new macOS app in 2022.

In the sixth edition of its annual survey, Setapp asked developers about retail, Apple Silicon and the war in Setapp’s home country of Ukraine.

According to 354 respondents from 37 countries, conducted in May 2022, app discovery was the biggest challenge for 57% of developers. Gaining users once they hear about the app was the top issue for 52%, while 51% of developers struggle the most with marketing.

In the distant fourth and fifth places, 27% said their issue was a lack of recurring revenue, such as subscriptions, and 22% said overall monetization was a challenge.

As for subscriptions, 26% currently use one, while 31% said they would consider it. Some 11% said they’ve abandoned a subscription model, while a total of 23% don’t think they will or definitely won’t consider it.

Developers are evenly split between 29% who only distribute apps through the Mac App Store and 29% who don’t use the Apple Store at all. However, 42% said they use both.

For development work itself, 63% of Mac app developers work on Apple Silicon for their work. But 71% have already released an M1-optimized version of their app.

Being based in Ukraine and therefore directly affected by the war with Russia, Setapp also asked developers around the world about the situation. “Nearly 70% of respondents felt some impact from the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the company says, with “9% affected in a major or severe way.”

Setapp also states that “68%…somewhat or totally support using product features or creating new features to help Ukrainians.” In addition, 53% of developers “somewhat or totally support their colleagues stop[ping] using the frameworks and applications originating from Russia.

More details on the developer breakdowns and survey methodology can be found in the full report.


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