Do you think global inflationary pressures will affect app subscription prices?

With the cost of many things going up I expect that we will soon see app subscription prices go up. While app development isn’t directly affected by commodities, raw materials and transportation cost increases, to name a few, I suspect that indirect cost to web hosting services will have an impact. Perhaps more significantly the impact on salaries and even the living expenses of indie developments will be impacted. In short, I expect some impact. While this is not a driving reason to minimize subscriptions, it is a reason to consider it. I’ve already done making this of little concern to me but I thought I’d stimulate conversation around the matter.

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It seems possible.

In the short-term, I’m looking for ways that I can financially support developers in Ukraine.

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I agree with that! I just don’t know what apps are developed in Ukraine except Readdle.

MacPaw, the folks behind Setapp and Clean My Mac and other utilities is one.

As noted in another thread Many Tricks, while not Ukraine based is donating proceeds to relief agencies to help in the Ukraine.

The developer of Toolbox Pro for iOS has a new app for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS called Logger, another Shortcuts utility, available for pre-order and all preorder proceeds are going to support Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, details here.

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I remember 1980 when the interest on my construction loan nearly tripled in something like six months. The price of getting inflation under control that time was a recession. If our elected officials don’t act quickly we may see more than “some” impact.

The cities are running out of food, water, and medicine. I suspect we will have opportunities to assist in the near future.

Médecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders is one organization I support that is helping in the area.

yes. 20 characters of padding.

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Ultimately, it boils down to food, clothing, and shelter. There are exactly zero workers in the world that can do without those three things, and purchasing them isn’t optional. So when costs for those goes up, wages have to go up proportionately to maintain standards of living.

Since a lot of the apps we love are small, indie type shops, I would expect a direct correlation between the price of those things and market prices for apps over an extended timescale. Some devs will eat a slight, temporary increase, just like they’ll happily accept a small pay raise if their currency’s purchasing power goes up - but if we see long-term rises in those initial three factors, everything else almost has to go up at least somewhat.

This is especially true for companies that operate non-domestic servers for their infrastructure. If a Ukraine dev uses an AWS server, and some sort of currency apocalypse results in massive, long-term currency value loss, any money they’d saved to cover those costs logically wouldn’t do so anymore - and they could have issues paying their bills.

Wouldn’t the same be true for (one-time) App prices? (Why the focus on subscriptions?)

In fact, wouldn’t the same be true for many (more important) recurring purchases (food, energy, gas, etc.)?

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Just a guess, and Bmosbacker can certainly speak form himself, but perhaps the concern is about applications and services already subscribed to?

Without a doubt. Those would likely take several more years to impact a given user though, as one-time app purchases tend to have lifespans significantly longer than a year.

Absolutely. The difference is that you’ll be scrutinizing whether you should cancel your “nice to have” apps and technology services (Netflix, Apple TV+, Hulu, subscriptions to newsletters / podcast premium programs, etc.) way before you decide to not pay the electric bill or buy groceries.

Since most of the app developers the crowd here tends to discuss do not reveal anything public about their financial condition, I would take the cynical view that opportunism will drive price increases – as it usually does in inflationary times.

“Oh, prices are going up – hmmmm, yeah, I could us an additional 20% myself. We’ll go from $29.99/year to $36.99.”

More of the joy of capitalism.

Parts of Bookends …


Good point. This could be very significant given how many hosting companies charge in US dollars, thus avoiding any currency risk to themselves. A company that has lots of international sales may offset this if they price and change in foreign currencies, but even that may be offset by inflation locally.

In short, it could completely destabilise small software houses’ business models.

Yes, it is true of one-time purchases but subscriptions have a larger cumulative cost impact.

I mentioned the indirect cost for things like transportation, raw materials and more in the original post and their impact on app development. :slightly_smiling_face:

Correct but it would also include the cost for new subscriptions or purchases as well. I suspect just like trying to consolidate trips to save on fuel costs, some may decide to consolidate or reduce the apps they subscribe to or decide to purchase. I mentioned subscriptions specifically because they tend to have a larger cumulative cost over time.

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I’m a Bookends user. After reading that post I’m even more committed to Bookends, notwithstanding my general aversion to subscriptions and available free option of Zotero. Under such circumstances supporting the developer is an extremely small effort to be helpful.

And if the price increase to $36.99 causes a significant number of potential buyers to forego their purchase at that price? THAT is how capitalism works.

Agreed. I just renewed my Grammarly subscription.

In addition to the valid points you make, there will also be that group (a minority, we hope) of devs who’ll be using all this as a pretext to raise prices (sub and one-time). When you consider those that haven’t delivered the more frequent and better updates that subs were sold on, I don’t think I’m being unduly cynical.