App development cost is a topic that needs an in-depth analysis of the factors that influence the cost to develop an app. In 2022, the app market has seriously become saturated with almost 5.7 million apps in the App Stores combined (Google Play Store and iOS App Store). The app market is 99% covered by these two app stores while the remaining 1% belongs to a few other app stores which are comparatively, insignificant. When you’re looking to develop an app, the cost of app development increases depending on many factors.
The importance of mobile app development is undeniable since many businesses have already moved towards app stores to tap into the lucrative market that mobile phone platform offers. Over 90% of the entire world population has access to mobile phones at about 4.32 billion mobile phone users, this market is too hard to ignore. In these competitive times, if you’re not joining others in the mobile application platform, you’ll never be able to compete in the market.
A tough market and strong requirement of mobile apps have brought out many mobile app development companies that specialize in mobile apps and web apps. Depending on your requirements, the estimates of the cost will always be different. First, you need to consider whether your app is B2B or B2C. Different markets have different app requirements and of course, different cost estimations. After you decide on the type of business app you want, you have to decide on the features of the app.
Depending on the features of the app, the prices of development will vary. The best rule for this is to develop an MVP, for the app that can include just the basic features. This method saves your excessive cost, effort, and time. Nonetheless, if you want to know how much does it cost to develop an app in one go, read on.
We’ll cover the types of business apps, factors that affect the mobile app development cost, app development cost breakdown, and much more in this extensive article.
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Mobile applications are unique and they all carry different features. The app development cost varies with the number of features you want along with many other requirements. For example, if you’re looking to develop a web app, the price of a web app will be significantly less because they require less customization and are easily published. For mobile applications, getting them approved on Google Play Store and iOS App Store is difficult. Google Play Store is more user-friendly and much more flexible compared to iOS App Store since it has many rules that you must follow down to the T.
Different features add different costs to the overall mobile application price. For example, a simple feature with no complications will be cheaper to implement rather than a complex feature that requires a lot of effort. Therefore, the type of mobile application, features, and complexity dictate the price of the whole application. To give a rough idea, you can get a mobile application for somewhere around $10,000 to $500,000. In some rare cases, the cost of a mobile application can even reach a million dollars.
Let’s take a closer look at the mobile application statistics based on app types, estimated cost and time.
|App Type||Estimated Cost||Time|
|Simple App Development||$10,000 to $40,000||Within 3 months|
|Mid-Level App Development||$40,000 to $150,000||Within 6 months|
|Complex App Development||Starting from $300,000||More than 10 months|
The best way to get an accurate estimate of how much does it cost to develop an app is to contact a mobile app development company. Depending on the features you require, you can get an exact cost estimation and overall time duration required.
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Moving on, it is imperative to look at the app development cost statistics to get a better picture.
Statistics of Mobile App Development Costs Worldwide:
The type of mobile application also changes the cost of development.
Now that we’ve seen the statistics that prove the importance of smartphones and mobile apps, let’s move to app development cost breakdown by categories.
Application categories are numerous and we’ll try to cover as many as possible. Below are the mobile application categories that are popular in in-demand along with the cost range. Check it out!
|Taxi App (Uber)||$35,000-$400,000|
|Augmented Reality App (AR)||$150,000-$250,000|
|Social Media App (Instagram)||$26,000-$300,000|
|Learning App (DuoLingo)||$20,000-$225,000|
|Video Streaming App||$35,000-$300,000|
|Food Delivery App||$27,000-$150,000|
Now, let’s see the time (hours) it takes for each of these mobile application categories to finish. Again, you’ll see that the more complicated applications will have a higher estimated completion time due to higher complexity.
Now you know how much it costs and the time it takes for different apps to develop depending on the categories. After different mobile application categories, now let’s look at the factors that affect the cost of app development.
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Mobile applications are complex and they require many details to be in place before the development begins. Only after you keep these factors in mind, you can find out the exact app development cost. So, you need to find out who your target audience is, what your business goals are, how to develop an app, and choose a platform that you will use for coding.
You also need to think about the number of buttons, screens, and any other special elements that can enhance your application further. Your goal should be customer engagement and convenience. However, keep in mind, the more features you pile on the more cost it will incur.
In this section, we take a closer look at different factors that affect mobile app development prices. The factors you need to think about are:
First of all, no one can provide an accurate figure of the app development cost since every app development company around the globe has different per hour $ rates; however, we can provide an accurate range that will cover all types of mobile applications. Here are the important factors to consider when estimating the app development cost.
The type of business app is the first factor to consider on the road to getting your mobile app developed. The two types of business apps include B2B or business to business and B2C or business to customer. Both of these app types have different target markets, different needs, different functionalities, and app business models. All these requirements factor in the price of the app being developed.
Pretty much all categories of mobile apps have been saturated; however, there is a strong influx of mobile apps on the app stores and some of them succeed in getting users’ attention.
Let’s see each of the types of apps and find out what separates them from one another.
B2B focuses on a business providing service to other businesses. For mobile app development, B2B apps must have a different cost to develop an app. The scope of business-to-business apps is not to serve many customers but limited businesses.
Large enterprises look for app solutions that are tailored to their business’s needs and fulfill the requirements easily. To do so, these companies look for customized apps. For example, if you want to just target large corporations you will only look for the companies that are of that size and looking for what you offer. However, you won’t face many thousands of customers in the B2B platform since B2B solutions are business-related and not customer-related.
B2B offers to automate business processing to target higher efficiency and productivity. On the other hand, B2C is providing solutions related to customer issues rather than business ones. To take a simple example, Google Analytics is a B2B platform that targets businesses and provides them key insights for their business activities and marketing-related activities such as paid marketing (PPC). It is a dashboard that has everything a business needs to be productive and stay on top of all relevant information.
Apps that are built keeping in mind the B2B type, often provide subscription services to companies that require limited usage for their internal use and also for external usage. Another important difference to consider is the fact that B2B apps are not accessible through Play Store or iOS App Store since they are tailored to specific organizations and carry functions that will benefit that particular organization only. In comparison, B2C apps are simple plug-and-play apps that are made for general users and provide the same benefits to all depending on whether the app is free or paid.
B2C applications target different audiences for their apps. All B2C apps are targeted towards general mobile users so they are made for all users. iOS App Store and Google Play Store are filled with B2C applications with numerous categories. Every category has now been saturated since hundreds of applications are released every day, making the competition stiff and difficult.
Further, mobile applications made for customers are focused on getting more users. The content of B2C applications is much different. It can be an entertainment app, social media app, educational app, lifestyle, and fitness app, and the list goes on. In short, every B2C mobile app’s goal is to gain a higher number of customers and thus generate higher revenue.
To get higher revenue, you need mobile applications that attract users, keep them engaged and provide value against the money they have given to use that mobile app. It is not an easy feat to achieve, but with careful planning and proper market research, it is possible.
Another big difference between B2B and B2C is the need for constant updates. Customer-centric mobile applications are often updated regularly as compared with business-centric applications. The reason is simple when general users have multiple options to choose from, within the same category, it becomes really important to stay on top of the market competition. To do this, mobile applications are usually updated regularly and new features are constantly added to keep the mobile application fresh and keep users engaged.
In B2C mobile apps, the app design plays a significant role since customers are attracted to the application because of its design. The UX/UI is an essential element to consider. If the app is engaging and has a sleek and engaging design, the chances of users liking your app will be greater. Your job is to have a mobile application that can provide ease of use along with great features which can please customers.
Since customers are picky, they think twice about investing money in some application. B2C mobile apps follow two models one is the free-to-use model and the other one is paid version. The free model also is profitable since it provides advertising space and has in-app purchasing options.
Web applications or web apps are applications accessible through a browser. They are stored on a remote server so users don’t have to download the mobile application. Web apps also save time and development costs, however, they might not be the best when it comes to having an optimized UI/UX.
Further, you can have many users access the same application from all different platforms such as laptops, desktops, and mobiles. Examples of web apps include online calculators, web email, e-commerce websites, and much more.
Complexity is the biggest factor when we talk about the cost of app development. Complexity means the amount of work needed to be done for the development of an app and whether it will take a lot of time. If an application has a lesser number of hours, it might be a basic app with simple features and basic design. However, when we talk about a higher number of hours, the app becomes more complex since the number of features add on and the final app is something every user would enjoy.
Make sure you don’t pile on features that your users don’t need. Proper market research is needed to determine the number of features and the type of features that are needed by users in your target audience. So, the complexity increases as you increase features and integrations in your app.
Check out the chart below to understand all types of mobile application complexities
|Type of Complexity||Characteristics|
For mobile app development, the following team is required:
As a rough timeline estimate, here is the expected time it would take for all types of mobile app development:
Let’s take a look into the different types of complexity:
Simple apps are easy to develop and less time-consuming but they might not be the best option when it comes to competing in the app stores. The app development budget for these apps is pretty low and they contain simple features/functions, less than 5 screens, and plain design.
You can expect the following options in a simple mobile application:
Apps like these include notepad app, time tracking app, calculator app, and calendar app.
The logic is simple, bigger things cost more. This is why cars are less expensive than airplanes. Similarly, a mobile app having multiple difficult features will be more expensive. To give an idea, your basic app can be upgraded with multiple features that can increase the complexity of the mobile app. The features that you can expect in a mid-level complexity mobile app are:
In terms of usage, mid-level apps carry higher accessibility and better infrastructure. Further, you get options like data storage, synchronized database, and much more. To build an app so complex, you must understand your customer base so you can access your price and cost range as well.
Therefore, applications such as photo-sharing apps, food delivery apps, or hail riding apps are filled with advanced features that enable a better customer experience and they also cost a lot more than simple apps.
The highly complex mobile apps are the most expensive and time-consuming ones. Such apps are usually developed for large corporations. Such applications can be B2C or B2B as well depending on the requirements.
For B2B, think of CRM applications that are specially designed for clients who want custom solutions installed in their existing systems or have an entirely new customer app developed for their business needs. B2C on the other hand has apps such as social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Similarly, gaming apps are also from the advanced complexity category since they require extreme features, graphics, navigations, storytelling, design, characters, etc.
The cost of these kinds of mobile apps is extremely unpredictable because many factors can change the cost drastically. Let’s take a look at some of these factors:
When mobile applications are advanced, their planning and research also take a significant amount of time. The company you hire to develop the app will need excessive time just to plan and research for the product to provide a result you’ll be happy with.
Your app will have an in-depth dashboard that will have all the features your app needs to be more user-friendly and easily accessible for the end-users. Further, the development platform you choose will also have its difficulties along with high redundancy and availability requirements.
For an app requiring heavy customizations, the coding will be done by developers which itself is a long and tiring process. The more custom coding your app demands, the longer it would take for the app to be fully developed. Be ready for lengthy meetings to discuss your app project scope with the development company and decide on the costs that you are willing to bear.
So far, we’ve discussed the cost to develop mobile applications considering the mobile app type and level of complexity, now let’s move to the platforms on which you want your app to be developed.
For platforms, you have the option to choose between two platforms, Hybrid or Cross-Platform App and Native App.
Hybrid or Cross-Platform App
Hybrid apps work on both, Android and iOS devices which is why they are called cross-platform apps. When your application is working on both platforms from a single development, you save time, efforts and the costs go down drastically.
There are three things you need to consider before you choose which platform you want for your apps:
These are important when you’re looking to target initial markets so make sure you pay attention to these. In terms of prevalence, you can compare iOS and Android to find out where Android is more prevalent than iOS. Similarly, you can check where iOS has a stronghold.
Both platforms have different development processes but surprisingly both of them cost pretty much the same. Now that you know they both cost the same, the important thing to decide is which platform is more profitable for your app.
For hybrid apps, your cost savings are huge since you only need to develop your app once and it can work on both platforms.
Hybrid offers great user experience, smooth operation, ability to use platform’s features, and an easy fit. However, native apps are much more detailed since they are developed for one particular platform.
Native Apps run only on one platform which means you have to decide on which platform your app should run on, either Android or iOS.
If you want to get your app developed for both platforms through this option, you need two different development teams with different skill sets.
Naturally, if you have to get the same app developed twice, the cost will double in comparison with the first option (hybrid).
Both development teams will need to work on their respective Native frameworks to develop apps for Android and iOS platforms.
You understand why the cost will be high, right?
Employing double teams is a costly option; however, most of the times hybrid apps are enough to provide the quality you will be hoping for.
In some rare cases, apps will need Native development to customize the app on the platforms to provide the best UX/UI.
Moving on, the next important part of this article is to discuss the hidden costs that you need to know for mobile app development.
Depending on the region, the cost of development might vary due to several reasons, one of them being the different salaries of programmers and different cost standards of that region.
Take a look at the table below which indicates different rates depending on the region:
|Region||Hourly rate, $|
The difference between these prices is higher since Asia has a less average cost of mobile app development and the currency difference with the dollar ($) plays a huge part in the prices being comparatively low. North America has the most expensive mobile app development out of all others due to Canada and USA being the most expensive countries for mobile app development in this region. On the other hand, Asia has the lowest cost of mobile app development.
High cost doesn’t mean high quality, you can get the same quality of mobile apps at a low price as well; however, you’ll save big bucks.
Now that we have covered the app development costs by different categories and regions, let’s dive into the factors that affect the total cost of mobile app development.
The final part of this extensive article is the options you have when you’re looking to have your app developed. Let’s take a look at all the available options along with our suggestions to help you understand them better. If you are a startup, chances of affording a costly app development company are slim; however, with careful research and proper planning, you should be able to find what you’re looking for.
As a general rule of thumb, you have to focus on your product, the design of your app and do constant marketing to get the word out.
Check out your options below:
When you plan to hire a local agency for app development, it’s essential to select the region first from where you’ll be hiring developers because the per-hour rate of developers varies from region to region. The average per-hour rate of a development team and a design team for the USA region can range from $120 to $150, while for the Western Europe region, it can range from $90-$120. However, if the total working hours for developing an app take up to 600 hours and the average per hour rate of a developer is $100, then you’ll be going to spend around $60,000. So in this way you can estimate the cost when you want to work with a local agency.
There are many advantages of hiring a local agency for your app development that comprises:
Likewise, the advantages offered by a local agency, there are some cons too that you must be aware of:
When you decide to work with a local agency, you should consider the above-described factors that help you to decide whether this option is a good fit for you or not. However, if you can and are ready to spend $60,000 on the product in one go, then this can be a good option.
You need to carefully analyze the cost of hiring a local agency so that you can work within your targeted budget.
The cost of building an in-house team is significantly higher as compared to hiring freelancers or local workers because they are included in every stage of the app development therefore the yearly salary of an in-house specialist can fall around $70,000 to $145,000 depending on their experience and skillset. The cost of hiring a full-stack developer is around $100,000 per year, while for a designer and iOS or Android developer, it can range between $90,000 per year. However, you can save the budget if the developers you hire work for equity from the very start. Moreover, you’ll also require different resources such as personal management, office space, laptops, and other devices, payroll taxes, training, and so on for which you need to spend the cost.
There are various advantages of building an in-house team that includes:
It all depends upon your budget and resources that you can accommodate to your in-house team. If you think you’ve enough management skills, resources, and budget to build an in-house team, then you can go for this option. However, you must be well aware of the cost you’ll be going to spend on each resource.
When it comes to hiring freelancers, the talent pool is unlimited. You can hire them on a contractual basis, which means you don’t need to bear the expenses that come with a permanent employee. Further, you can also hire them on an hourly basis at a rate you’ll willing to pay. Since freelancing is huge these days, you will definitely find a bunch of freelancers who fit your budget. Platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr are your best resource in finding talented individuals. The hourly rate is different for different regions, for Asia you can find freelancers for $15-35$ per hour. For countries like the US, the average per hour rate would be more than 50$ per hour. The experience of freelancers dictates how much they charge for their work.
The biggest problem you face when you’re hiring a freelancer is that the freelancer can leave your project anytime without notice. Therefore, you need to be very careful that the experts you’re hiring will see the whole project through with dedication and hard work.
We don’t think hiring freelancers and trusting them with the whole app development is a wise choice. You need to constantly monitor them and supervise them to ensure proper project delivery.
Outsourcing your app development project is the best option since it allows you to find the best talent from anywhere in the world at the price you’re willing to spend. You can find multiple IT companies that are cost-efficient and can provide expert work.
Choosing to outsource app development is without a doubt, the best option. Sure, you will lose some control over the process but the benefits are far more. With proper planning and regular meetings, you can ensure your application is on the right track.
The cost of outsourcing will be around $30,000 to $60,000. Make sure you check the case studies of your chosen app development company, previous references from clients, and experiences to ensure your decision is correct.
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We have discussed the number of options you have when it comes to choosing an app development company. Now, we’ll give you some tips on things to look out for before you finalize your hiring decision.
First of all, you need to ensure that the partner you choose for app development is capable enough to handle the requirements and deliver a superior app within a reasonable time.
You need to list down the number of companies that intrigue you and the ones you feel are trustworthy. In-depth research about these IT companies will help you narrow down to a few IT companies that you need to choose from. Here are some tips for you:
Know your Requirements
Requirements must be laid out before you can make a final decision. You need to figure out every little detail which you expect in your app, your budget, the platform, and the estimated timeline you’re expecting.
Knowledge of the popular technologies will help you to understand what your application needs. It will also help you to look for the IT companies that specialize in that particular technology which you are looking for.
Lean towards Full-Service Companies
New IT companies are not your best bet since they would not have enough experience or well-established names so, trusting new companies might be difficult.
Try to lean towards full-service companies that are already in the market for a few years and have a successful apps portfolio along with qualified professionals who can handle your app development.
Pro tip: Choose among the app development companies that have already made a name and have an impressive portfolio for services.
Focus on Interviews
Personal interviews are great for assessing the capabilities of your chosen app development company. Make sure you ask them about their experience and their expertise.
Brief them about your app idea and what you are expecting. It is important to take their feedback and assess if their ideas will help your app.
This way, you can ensure that the app development company has what it takes to execute your app idea into a brilliant app.
When you look at a company’s portfolio, it shows expertise and experience. Make sure you go through the app development company’s portfolio and scrutinize their previous apps.
You need to focus on the design element of apps as well as the UX/UI. Finally, look out for the app’s originality aspect. If all apps developed by this company look similar, it’s a bad sign.
Company’s Privacy and Data Security Policy
Security and privacy are important with any business. If you decide on an app development company, make sure you read their policy regarding data security and privacy.
Signing a confidentiality agreement and non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a good way to ensure the protection of your information.
Intellectual property rights and other related policies must be discussed as well before you start working with an app development company.
There you go.
We have provided you with an extremely in-depth article regarding the cost of app development and the course of actions you need to take in order to get your app developed.
If you’re looking for applications that scale well, APPSTIRR can help you realize that goal. Being a leader in app development, we can help you develop an app you’ll be proud of.
Let us know how we can help.
The timeline required to implement your application can range between 6 to 9 months if you’re planning to build a medium complexity app. Mainly, the timeline needed to build an app can vary from 1 to 9+ months. The cost can be determined by a variety of elements, including the number of features and their complexity, the design's uniqueness, the use of third-party services, and so on.
Hybrid apps are relatively less expensive as compared to native apps but there is some considerable limitation found in the hybrid app. Native app development provides better quality, performance, and user interaction. Moreover, they are more possibilities for customization, facilitation, and optimization in native app development. This results in providing more value to the target audience. Most importantly, native vs hybrid app has lower chances of the app being excluded from the app stores.
The first and foremost step is to identify the shortlisted IT vendors. Checkout or research different factors such as their experience, industry focus, tech specialization, portfolio, client testimonials, and much more. In addition, you need to look into different factors like the estimated duration of the project, required budget, documentation, tools required for software development, and the number of developers assigned to the project.
Over the next two years, the cost required in app maintenance can take around 35% of the total budget spent on original app development. Please, keep in mind that the budget won’t be less than $5,000 - $10,000 annually. However, from the recent findings, we found that during the first year the cost spent on the maintenance is 50%, in the second year its 25% and 15%-25% each subsequent year.
17, Mar 2022
Arsal is a business grad who loves everything about content marketing. He loves to write about tech, cybersecurity, business, and gaming. You can find him playing Dota2 or binge-watching Netflix.