How much does it cost to make an app? This is one of the first questions that pop up when an out-of-the-box app idea is discussed. The mobile app development cost can be determined by defining many parameters, such as type, region, design and structure, the platform for which the application will be developed, and more.
Based on the app’s size and complexity, the cost to develop an app varies. For instance, a simple app development cost ranges from $30,000 to $50,000, whereas an app with medium complexity can cost you anywhere from $60,000 to $120,000. This price can reach up to $300,000 depending on the additional features and functionalities.
Therefore, to find out how much it costs to develop an app, you need to dive deeper into the cost-driving factors.
Why Do You Need A Mobile App?
Google Play Store is home to more than 3.33 million apps, and the App Store has over 2.2 million apps. With such growth and the increasing popularity of apps across geographies, every business leader, irrespective of size and scale, is looking to develop an app to give their business a digital makeover. From your local salon to a cafe, many business sectors are leveraging the vast market of mobile apps.
There are many ways mobile apps can provide various lucrative opportunities and add value to your business, such as:
With mobile apps, you can engage with your customers in a meaningful and interactive manner. Moreover, you can target customer’s challenges and needs effortlessly, which, in turn, boosts customer satisfaction.
You can reach out to your customers and keep them updated with your products and services with mobile apps. Hence, they are a powerful marketing medium to increase brand visibility and drive traffic to conversions.
There are many features, like live chat, push notifications, and gamification, that you can integrate into your mobile apps, facilitating an engaging and fulfilling user experience. Also, you can enable omnichannel sales opportunities and provide better accessibility, retaining customers in your business.
Now that you understand how mobile apps are crucial to your business, the next thing you need to figure out is the mobile app development cost. Gauging the total estimation to build an app can help you determine the exact requirements and make informed decisions in case of development hours and budget.
Average Estimate of the Cost of Developing Mobile Apps: An Overview
Well-known platforms like Clutch and Good firms have reported that the average app costs between $5,000 and $500,000, depending on the functionality and features of the overall product and its developmental cycle.
Industry stalwarts believe that one of the major drivers for estimating the cost of an app is its features. How an app performs, how many clicks and buttons it has, and various fields & the screen accumulates nearly 60% – 70% of the app cost.
When building an app, a leader’s first search on the internet is precisely around app development cost and how to make an application. However, when it comes to the investment one has to make for developing a result-oriented app, there are various factors to consider, such as features, functionalities, and complexity involved in the process. Moreover, connecting with experienced developers is a reliable and convenient way of building an app.
Mobile App Development Cost and the Factors That Affect It
As the world is moving towards feasible and convenient solutions, your business should focus on building mobile app solutions to increase customer traction and revenue generation.
To know the average cost for app development, you must focus on various factors that affect it, such as:
1. App Features and Functionalities
As we said before, there are a number of features and complexities that determine the final mobile app development cost estimate. Let’s understand in detail and look at the average development time and cost involved in making basic and complex features of an app.
Discover what other significant features like APIs, advanced technologies, and accessibilities put an extra burden on the cost of app development.
App Development Cost Breakdown Based On Basic Features
Social Media Login
$500 – $1,500
User Basic Info
20 – 30 Hours
$800 – $1,200
20 – 30 Hours
$800 – $1,200
Online/ Offline Status
Read/ Send Message
$3,000 – $5,000
Return/ Refund status
25 – 45 Hours
$900 – $1,500
User List Management
60 – 80 Hours
$2,400 – $3,800
App Development Cost Breakdown Based On Complex Features
Detect Current Location
$3,000 – $4,500
Debit/ Credit Card
60 – 80 Hours
$2,400 – $3,000
Audio/ Video Call
250 – 400 Hours
$12,000 – $15,000
2. App Category
As the features, technologies, and requirements vary based on the different app categories, it influences the overall app development cost breakdown. For instance, shifting from a basic standalone app to a social networking app will alter the cost of making an app due to changes in functionalities, the time to build an app, and much more.
3. App Design
The UI/UX design of an app constitutes the overall visuals, branding, and end-user experience. Therefore, spending the budget on a mobile app design is imperative for creating a unique application. Design elements of an app may include icons, buttons, layout, menu, pattern, color, typography, etc.
The average cost of designing the user interface can be categorized as follows:
Average Cost, $/hr
Medium Design Complexity
High Complex App Design
$350-$850 (or more for additional features)
4. App Platform
Typically, app development costs can be bifurcated based on the platform on which it will run, such as iOS or Android. You can opt for hybrid or native app development as per your requirements and budget.
Hybrid or Cross-platform App Development Cost
Hybrid app development refers to the process of building an app that runs on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, and Web. The cost of building an app with a hybrid approach can be comparatively less due to the use of cross-platform app development frameworks, such as Ionic, Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, etc.
Native App Development Cost
The next option is to select the native app development, in which you have to build an app separately for iOS and Android platforms. This approach will cost you slightly more than the hybrid app development as it requires more resources and effort.
The app maintenance process includes bug fixing, performance optimization, security and data updates, analytics and reporting, UX updates, etc. Maintaining an app’s performance is essential to ensure so that its functionalities and user experience remain intact even after the development. You need to spend 12-20% of the original app development cost every year to maintain the optimal app quality.
6. Development Team Size and Experience
The total experience of the developers you hire will affect how much it costs to create an app. A company with skilled and experienced developers will charge you higher for its services compared to less experienced developers. However, you must hire an app development company with talented professionals to build transformational apps.
App Development Cost Breakdown as Per Team Size
App Development Team Members
When it Comes to App Development, What Are Your Choices?
One of the crucial elements to consider while making a pricing strategy for your mobile app development is choosing an in-house/ local or outsourced/ third-party development company. This largely influences the average app development cost and is also significant for app quality and maintenance.
Option #1: Hire a Local Agency
When you decide to hire a local app development agency from your region, it will cost you anywhere from $120 to $300 per hour. There are many factors influencing this cost, including expertise, country, skills, etc.
Option #2: Build an In-house Team
The next choice is formulating an entire in-house team for building apps that will receive a monthly payment from your company. When you hire professionals for an in-house team, you can have a better flow of development process and smooth communication. However, this type of hiring model is costlier than any other option because it includes additional costs like training, office space, medical insurance, etc.
Option #3: Outsource App Development
Outsourcing an app development company means you can hire skilled professionals from all over the world. This opens up a range of possibilities for you to work with talented agencies with expertise in different industries. Outsourcing your app development requirements is a cost-effective option that offers multiple benefits, including high-quality products, adherence to compliances and policies, faster development, fixed scope, and more.
Get Started with Mobile App Development Using a Step-by-Step Process
The app development cost highly depends on the development process. It is necessary to consider the development steps given below to estimate the cost according to the step-by-step process.
1. Conduct Market Research
The initial step of the app development process is defining an app’s purpose, target audience, features, scope, technologies, and other requirements. In this stage, plan the app with complete market research to dive deeper into the app’s USPs.
2. Choose the Right Platform
Next, you can decide the suitability of the platform to deploy the app based on your budget. If you have a limited budget and want to incorporate both iOS and Android platforms, hybrid app development is the right approach for you. However, both native and cross-platform have various benefits that you need to consider along with your requirements.
3. Hire an App Development Company
When you are clear with your app development objectives, needs, and platform, the next step is to hire a suitable app development company. There are many elements to check while selecting the best resource for developing your app, such as the developer’s portfolio, communication skills, technical expertise, and charges. They will be responsible for handling the complete process of app development, including designing, development, testing, and maintenance.
4. Build an MVP
MVP is one of the critical elements in estimating the cost of building an app. Successful MVP creation saves a lot of money on unwanted features and functionalities that might not be required for an app at the first release. It is also an ideal model to check the basic functionality of the product without investing much in complex design and deep architecture.
A reliable MVP development company helps you launch a successful and scalable mobile app in various ways, such as:
Check the app performance and identify the bugs.
Focus on customer experience to get better results for the product.
Submit the app to the app store to push it out in public.
Make the app available to the user and release the final version.
App testing is an essential part of the mobile app development process, and you must invest significantly in it. This phase includes bug fixing, vulnerability testing, removing glitches or errors, and UI/UX incompatibility.
6. Submit App to Stores
For submitting the app to the Play Store or App Store as per your preference, you need to ensure it meets the respective development and security guidelines. Ensure that the pricing model of your app is compliant with the selected store policies and requirements.
7. Launch And Track Performance
Once your app gets approved by the respective store for publishing, it will be launched for the public to use. To ensure your app excels in the competitive market, you need to invest in the app development and maintenance costs as well as monitor its performance with in-app analytics tools. This way, you can enhance the user experience and engagement of your app.
Hidden Factors Affecting Mobile App Development Cost
Since app features, complexities, and scope change as per your unique business requirements, this incorporates an additional mobile app development cost. This cost can arise from server payments, bug fixing, updates, and third-party integrations like SMS, payment gateways, push notifications, etc.
Here are the hidden factors that constitute extra cost for building an app:
1. Quality Assurance
Quality assurance is imperative to ensure the app performs optimally under any circumstances. Therefore, you can hire an app development company that offers reliable QA services.
2. Infrastructure Costs
App infrastructure deals with the storage and management of data and hosting services. Its cost includes data delivery, development tools, libraries, data storage, etc.
3. IT Support Costs
Technical support is needed to maintain the exceptional performance of the application and resolve any issues that app users may encounter. The costs included in IT support management are bug fixing, API maintenance, improving network downtime errors, application security, cloud services, etc.
4. App Publishing Costs
Google Play Store and App Store have specific costs of publishing an application. The Play Store will charge a one-time fee of $25, and the App Store will charge $99 dollars per year for hosting your mobile app.
5. App Security
An application may contain sensitive user information, such as passwords, financial information, personal details, etc. Therefore, investing in app security is an extremely crucial aspect of app development and enhancing customer loyalty.
Cost of App Development by Type
Now, to make it simpler to calculate the cost of building an app, let’s break down the application by type. The cost of app development largely depends on category to category.
1. Basic/ Native App Development Cost
Essential apps are calculators, utilities, and miniature games that do not require a network to operate or run any feature. The development usually takes 400 – 600 hours and is one of the cost-efficient app categories, with development costs of around $5,000 – $12,000.
Examples: Compass and Notes
2. Data-driven App Development Cost
These apps receive a lot of information and exchange data over a network. Such apps include maps and weather forecasts. These apps are gradually losing their market as they are now coupled up as a by-product of the comprehensive applications in intelligent devices. The average cost of app development is around $10,000 – $15,000.
Examples: Calendar and QR Scanner
3. Social Media App Development Cost
One of the most prominent apps of the era, social networking apps like Facebook, Instagram, and others usually handle millions of conversations and loads of data at one time. These apps require a robust back-end infrastructure and complex functionalities like media management and real-time data sync.
Combined with features like in-app purchases, chatting, video calls, etc., such mobile apps require significant investment ranging from $50,000 to $300,000 (and more as per additional features and high complexity).
Examples: LinkedIn and WhatsApp
4. eCommerce Marketplace App Development Cost
eCommerce or online shopping apps are trendy and needed in the digital world in current times. Applications like Amazon and MakeMyTrip extend a massive list of features to connect the vendor with the end user and extend unparalleled customer experience by serving their immediate needs of finding a product online or booking a hotel by comparing prices online. Developing an app like this costs around $62,000 – $400,000 and more.
These types of apps serve three users: the person who needs the service, the person who delivers the service, and the businessman in the middle. The user interface and flow of such apps are very different from all other apps. Apps like Uber cater to the immediate need of a user to book a cab and commute from one place to another.
On-demand apps require significant funding and multiple stakeholders to handle complex back-end operations and front-end services. The on-demand app development cost is around $80,000 – $200,000 and more.
So, how much does an app developer cost? The average cost to hire an app developer varies across the globe. Here is the breakdown of the price you can expect app developers to charge in various regions.
Average Developer’s Charges, $/hr
India and Southeast Asia
Popular Apps and Their Cost Estimation
The cost of building an app is also affected by its objectives, goals, and services it incorporates. Let’s take a look at the examples of some of the widely used applications to get an idea of how much it costs to build an app.
1. Social Networking App Development Cost Like WhatsApp
One of the most widely used instant messaging apps, with a fast, simple, and internationally available phone and video calling platform.
The cost of developing a WhatsApp-like app ranges from $40,000 to $90,000.
2. On-demand App Development Cost Like Uber
One of the popular ride-sharing apps connects drivers and riders to each other. The module has a passenger app, a driver app, an admin control panel, and data analytics.
The cost of developing an Uber-like app ranges from $30,000 – $80,000.
3. Cost of App Development Like Tinder
An online dating and geosocial app for networking that creates a user profile and allows them to match profiles of similar interest over the internet.
The cost of developing a Tinder-like app ranges from $35,000 – $90,000.
4. Video Streaming App Development Cost Like Netflix
One of the leading subscription-based media streaming applications allows subscribers to watch TV shows and movies on an internet-connected device at their convenience.
The cost to develop an app like Netflix ranges from $40,000 – $150,000.
5. Educational App Development Cost Like Udemy
A popular e-learning app that allows learners to access thousands of courses and skills online connects faculties and students with each other via video and also provides distance-learning courses.
The cost to develop an app like Udemy ranges from $35,000 – $1,20,000.
Note: This cost can exceed according to the maintenance fees, developers’ charges, complexity, and many other factors.
Mobile App Development Costs: How Can You Reduce Them?
We have discussed multiple factors affecting the mobile app development cost, including complexity, UI/UX design, platform used, integration of advanced technologies, etc. As a business owner, it is essential to use the right blend of strategies and make better financial decisions to optimize the app development price.
1. Code Reusability
With code reusability, developers can recycle or repurpose some functions or elements of the app, reducing app development costs. It can also enhance efficiency, minimize development time, and improve overall quality as compared to building every element from scratch.
2. Hybrid App Development Approach
You must decide which development approach is best for your business, Native or Hybrid. Native app development can provide better performance and user experience as the app is built for iOS and Android platforms separately. However, it requires twice the effort in contrast to hybrid app development, where you can create an app with cross-platform frameworks.
3. Better Communication Flow
Another important factor to keep in mind is to facilitate better communication and collaboration among the development team. It will ensure better monitoring of the development process and clarity for all the stakeholders, reducing the development time and optimizing the cost.
4. Hire Skilled App Developers
Choosing the right app development company that follows agile development practices is important to reduce the app development cost. Ensure you spend your time, effort, and money in the right direction in order to create an app that helps you obtain maximum ROI.
5. Focus on App Testing and Maintenance
One of the major factors that influence the app development cost is how well the QA testing is done. If the app is not tested properly, it can create issues with the app’s performance and quality. This will require more testing effort from the QA and development team. Therefore, following the enhanced testing approach is necessary to reduce the average app development cost.
How Long Does It Take To Make an App?
The total time it takes to build an app is a crucial factor affecting the app development cost. Development time can vary as per the complexity of an app idea, proper documentation, detailed requirements, and the expertise of a partner app development company.
The cost of building an app depends on the number of hours a developer takes to complete every element of the app developmental cycle, adding to the developer’s cost as a resource. Therefore, It is essential to define a detailed project scope to avoid any delay and change in app development cost.
Generally, many development companies follow this formula to calculate the cost.
Final Cost of the app development = No. of Development Hours x Hourly Rates
Since, based on the project complexities, development companies require different modules and functionalities to calculate the cost of elements developed for that app, this formula doesn’t work every time. Moreover, the platform for which an app is created influences the development time, making it difficult to compare the cost as per this formula.
To help better understand the average app development cost, consider the cost table containing the type of app, its overall development time, and the associated cost.
Cost For Android App Development
Types of Applications
Cost of App Development
3 to 5 months
$15,000 to $40,000
6 to 10 months
$30,000 to $50,000
$60,000 to $1,20,000
Cost For iOS App Development
Types of Applications
Cost of App Development
3 to 5 months
$10,000 to $15,000
6 to 8 months
$20,000 to $40,000
$50,000 to $1,00,000
How Can Successive Digital Help You With Mobile App Development Cost Estimation?
Successive Digital is a next-generation digital transformation company with over a decade of experience in revolutionizing various industry verticals with futuristic software solutions. With our reliable and cost-effective app development services, you can build high-quality applications overhauling the conventional challenges and complex business practices.
Nonetheless, we follow optimized and agile development practices to provide solutions tailored to your unique needs. So, if you want to develop a scalable and innovative application, contact us to get a price quote distinctive to your requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
The cost of maintaining an app can vary depending on several factors, including the frequency of bug fixes and updates. Also, it largely depends on the ongoing support required.
App development is just the initial phase, and once the app is launched, there are several ongoing expenses related to testing, ongoing support, and iteration based on user feedback. This cost can’t be eliminated but can be easily optimized with the help of the right app development company.
Developing a simple version of an app can take around 3 to 5 months and can cost between $15,000 to $40,000. At the same time, a complex app with more functionalities can take 10+ months and can cost around $60,000 to $1,20,000.
Yes, creating an app on a limited budget is possible by adopting the Minimum Viable Product approach. The MVP approach lets you focus on core functionality and launch the app faster while reducing costs.
In the fixed price model, the development company and the client agree on a fixed cost based on the project requirements and scope for the entire app development project. In the hourly rate model, the development company charges an hourly rate for the time spent on the app development project.