Apple Pilots ‘Contingent Pricing’ to Retain App Store Developers in Anticipation of DMA Implementation

In an effort to retain developers, Apple has begun its pilot tests of “contingent pricing,” a new way for them to market App Store subscriptions, TechCrunch has learned. That’s the case with the debut pilot test of contingent pricing that pairs up two apps: Structured and one sec. (An interesting choice for the pilot, given Apple and Meta’s ongoing beef over App Tracking Transparency, which Meta said harmed its business!) With contingent pricing, customers who subscribe to one of the apps can receive a discount if subscribing to the other. Apple says it helps the developers with the implementation of contingent pricing to make the redemption process “seamless” for customers purchasing through its App Store.

Apple is implementing changes to the App Store in anticipation of the approaching deadline for compliance with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). This update offers developers the opportunity to distribute their apps through their own channels for the first time, making the platform more appealing for them. One of these changes is the launch of “contingent pricing,” a new feature that allows developers to market App Store subscriptions in a discounted manner.

In an effort to retain developers, Apple has begun its pilot tests of “contingent pricing,” a new way for them to market App Store subscriptions, TechCrunch has learned.

This feature, announced last month by Apple, allows customers to get a discount on a subscription when they are subscribed to another one from either the same or different developers. For individual developers using the feature, it becomes an opportunity to upsell to their loyal customers by offering a deal on another app from their portfolio.

Alternatively, two developers can utilize the option to attract customers to their respective subscriptions. This approach could work if the two apps offer integrations or complement each other in some way. The debut pilot test of contingent pricing pairs up two apps: Structured and one sec.

The former is a visual calendar and to-do list app, while the latter is a productivity app designed to break users’ social media habits by forcing them to pause before loading addictive apps. Interestingly, this pairing for the pilot test comes amidst the ongoing dispute between Apple and Meta (formerly Facebook) regarding App Tracking Transparency, which Meta claims has impacted its business.

(An interesting choice for the pilot, given Apple and Meta’s ongoing beef over App Tracking Transparency, which Meta said harmed its business!)

For the pilot tests, Apple chose the pairing, but the two companies had already been working together for a long time. In Structured, users can opt to block distracting apps during their unfinished tasks by utilizing one sec’s functionality. Additionally, the founders of both apps, Frederik Riedel (one sec) and Leo Mehlig (Structured), had received a scholarship to attend Apple’s developer conference, WWDC.

With contingent pricing, customers who subscribe to one of the apps can receive a discount if they subscribe to the other. This deal is displayed in the App Store’s “Events & Offers” section, where the new, lower price is featured alongside the crossed-out original price, followed by a note about the savings (e.g., “You are saving as a subscriber to Structured – Daily Planner”).

The deal is also advertised on the product pages of both apps, and Apple plans to promote the discounts through separate placements in the App Store. The developers can also choose to advertise the offer on their own social media or websites.

The pilot test was launched on Thursday with these two apps, so it’s too early to determine if these offers will lead to increased conversions. However, a carefully thought-out pairing, where apps are integrated like in this case, could potentially do well. According to Apple, the company assists developers with implementing contingent pricing to ensure a seamless redemption process for customers purchasing through the App Store.

The launch of the pilot test follows Apple’s announcement this week of a series of new rules specifically for app developers in the EU. These include reduced commissions, the ability to sideload apps, new security checks, as well as new fees. As competition in the EU increases, Apple needs more ways to entice developers to stay on the App Store. This program, which allows developers to co-market their apps alongside others to increase subscription conversions, could be enticing enough to convince them to stay on the platform instead of moving elsewhere.

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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