In recent years, there’s been an uptick in investments for green technology. People are filling their roofs with solar panels, companies are making innovative, energy-saving gadgets and venture capitalists are increasing support of green tech projects. While some of these initiatives are lucrative, yielding a large return on investment, others might not be the most profitable.
Green mobile business apps might be one such example. The market is already flooded with green applications. The EPA’s My Green Apps page lists 290 green mobile business apps to help consumers go green and protect the environment. With so much competition, is creating your own green app worth it?
The potential for profit
There may not be a lot of room for profit in a green app. Developing mobile business apps can be expensive in general. According to Forbes, Apple has paid more than $5 billion to its developers in the last year, Google has paid about $900 million, and $100 million could be attributed to mobile business apps developed by Microsoft. Of course, you can make your own app for a fraction of the cost, but you may not make your money back.
The biggest issue with profits is that most mobile business apps are free. According to a Flurry report, 90 percent of the mobile business apps sold in 2013 were free. While these mobile business apps may make money through advertising eventually, getting an upfront payout from the consumer is hard to do. If a company plans to invest in green mobile business apps, it may be a while before it makes a profit.
The public relations benefit
From a customer relations standpoint, green mobile business apps may not be all that bad. It could benefit your company to offer a green app as a tool to help your customers become more efficient or save money on their energy bills.
A white paper released by SaveOnEnergy.com explains the value in positioning yourself as a green company. Just as investments have increased in green technology, so has consumer interest. More and more people are looking for ways to go green and will be loyal to companies that match their ideals. The report points out that going green can actually help you retain customers and improve your reputation.
Although your app itself might not be lucrative, having it available could potentially grow your business and your bottom line. According to a Nielson study, 55 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for goods and services if they are provided by a company that supports society and the environment.
Is a green app right for you?
Whether or not green mobile business apps are worth the investment depends on what you’re looking to gain from them. If you’re looking to create an application that tops the charts in the Apple Store and is very lucrative, perhaps green isn’t the way to go. While a few of these mobile business apps are popular, they will probably never reach the popularity height of games such as Flappy Bird.
However, if you’re passionate about the environment and want to create something to help people protect the planet, a green app makes perfect sense. It’s a simple way to make a big impact. It can also make a meaningful impact if you consider it a valuable tool to accompany your existing product and services. It may or may not contribute to your bottom line, but it’s a relationship-building tool that could pay off in the future.