Lucky are we to live in an era where there’s an app for everything. From entertainment and fitness to workflow management and learning, mobile apps have simplified our daily lives.
Currently, the global app bank is flushed with 8.93 million mobile apps. Studies by Statista also reveal that consumers are expected to download 143 billion mobile apps from the Google Play Store by 2026. That’s an increase of nearly 30% as compared to app downloads in 2021. Likewise, from the Apple Store, it’s projected to be about 38 billion downloads – an increase of 15% than in 2021.
This increasing reliance on mobile apps will spike the market revenue across various segments. This is expected to reach around $613 billion by the year 2025.
Given its widespread popularity, it’s only natural for every online business to build an app and invest in mobile app development. But do you know what’s the biggest consideration most businesses ponder when planning to develop an app?
It’s the mobile app development cost!
Also Read: How much does it cost to create an app
Has the same question hit your mind as well? If yes, then this comprehensive blog on mobile app development cost is for you! Through this blog, you will get insights on:
- Overview of mobile app development cost estimation
- Most popular apps and their development cost
- 8 Factors impacting mobile app development cost
- Hidden factors affecting cost involved app development
- Systematic process of how to create an app
- Various app monetization models
- Tips to reduce your mobile app development cost
- How can iTechnolabs help you with mobile app development costs?
- Frequently asked questions about mobile app development costs.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Brief Overview Of Mobile App Development Cost Estimation
The latest industry reports suggest that the tentative cost to make an app is between $30,000 and $250,000. These costs can even rise above $300,000 for building a more complex, feature-rich mobile app.
According to a Clutch survey, the average minimum cost for an app development project falls within the range of $5,000 to $10,000. However, it also quickly establishes that costs only cover the discovery phase. The actual app development costs are much higher with a median total cost of $171,450.
On the other hand, GoodFirms places a basic mobile app in the price range of $40,000 to $60,000 and a medium complexity app between $61,000 to $69,000. For a feature-rich app, GoodFirms places it between $70,000 to $100,000.
Well, you might have expected to see a simple number here. But, here’s the truth – the cost of developing an app will always vary. That’s because several factors go into determining the cost of building an app. We will cover these factors in detail in the sections ahead.
It’s worth noting that there are several phases in app development. So, the overall cost will also include the cumulative hours required for each development process, multiplied by the billable hours of resources involved.
So, before we discuss the factors that determine the cost to create an app, let’s look at some popular apps and their development cost. Knowing the average development cost of these apps will help you better plan your upcoming app and associated budget.
Trending Apps And Their Development Cost Estimation
Here are a few apps leading the current app market that have transformed and redefined the concept of customer experience.
The most widely used instant messaging app that allows you to chat, and share multimedia files, like photos, videos, links, and documents with your contacts. If you want to develop an instant messaging app, the cost to develop a chat app like Whatsapp would be between $30,000- $70,000.
Love binge-watching on Netflix? We all do! After all, it’s the world’s leading media streaming platform. However, creating such a complex media streaming app may cost you somewhere around $25,000 to $200,000.
A popular ride-sharing app that allows customers to request a vehicle (car, bike, and auto) instantly or on schedule. Developing an Uber-like app that involves maintaining a huge database of drivers and customers, would cost you between $30,000 – $100,000.
It is a popular e-learning platform that offers a range of distance education programs and degree courses across the globe. The estimated app development cost for Coursera-like apps can range between $60,000-$120,000.
Are you also a tiktok holic? This video-sharing app allows users to re-enact their favorite scenes from different music videos and movies and lip-sync dialogues. The app also has various filters to enhance your pictures and videos. If you want to build an app like TikTok, it’d cost you around $60,000 to $100,000 for a single platform and up to $150,000 for hybrid development.
|Trending Mobile Apps
|Average Development Cost
Now that you have an idea of the average mobile app development cost of different app types, let’s consider the factors now.
8 Essential Factors Affecting Mobile App Development Cost
As mentioned above, different factors are involved when determining the cost of developing an app. Understanding these factors will help you plan your app budget wisely while giving you the best return on your development.
App Features and Complexity
A mobile app is all about its features & offerings. However, how feature-loaded your app would be plays a critical role in determining its development cost. For example, a simple app will have basic features, like a login system, profile management, messaging, etc.
Now, the more features you add, the more complex your app becomes. Based on the feature sets, you have medium complex (includes features like social media integrations, audio/video streaming, payment gateway, user privacy, etc., and highly complex apps (includes features, like integrated analytics, AI, and ML processes). These increasing features and level of complexity add to the overall app development cost.
The cost of a medium-complex app can fall between $50,000- $120,000. Whereas, the cost of a complex app could be from $100,000 to $300,000 and more.
Experts recommend incorporating only the core features in the initial app version. It will help you cost-effectively build your app. Plus, equipped with essential features will allow the app to offer a great customer experience.
We advise you to develop an MVP (Minimal Viable Product). It’s the first version of a product/app with a basic feature set. It will help you get valuable feedback on your new app while saving you time and money.
Below we have showcased the average time and app development cost required for basic features and complex features.
|$500 – $1,000
|Push notifications and reminders for users
|$1,000 – $1,200
|Basic admin panel: User management
Table: Mobile app development cost breakdown based on basic feature integration
Table: Mobile app development cost breakdown based on advanced feature integration
App type or category
The type of your mobile application can have a significant impact on its development costs. Different types of apps will have different features and functionalities, ultimately leading to varying development costs.
Some of the top app types/categories are:
- Social Networking Apps
Social media apps like Facebook & Instagram are developed with third-party integrations. These also have the ability to use hardware functions such as audio recorders, cameras, etc. Such apps are highly scalable to support and manage millions of users simultaneously.
This richness in features and functionality leads to a higher development cost than that of other less complex ones.
- eCommerce/mCommerce Apps
eCommerce platforms such as Amazon, Nike, and Sephora, are loaded with a plethora of features. These features enable them to perform effectively in real time, have robust security, and handle millions of users at once.
- Hardware-dependent Apps
IoT-based mobile apps depend on hardware devices for carrying out actions like sending commands for a particular action or extracting data.
- On-demand Apps
Whether it’s a basic or a complex on-demand app, it will have three versions – for vendors, customers, and the business.
|Development Cost Estimation
|$50,000 – $300,000
|$50,000 – $150,000
|$50,000 – $350,000
|$60,000 – $250,000
|$60,000 – $225,000
Table: App development cost estimation based on category
The cost of developing your mobile app will also depend on the platform you choose. You can choose to build an Android or iOS or cross-platform app, depending on your audience. If you have a minimal budget, we recommend you initially opt for one platform. You can definitely shift to multiple platforms later on.
Below are listed the most popular mobile app platforms you can choose from:
- Web App Platform
Web apps are application programs stored on a remote server and delivered over the internet through a browser. The development of such apps is more cost-effective than other platforms.
- Native App Platform ( iOS & Android)
Applications developed for one particular platform. iOS apps are built using Swift and Objective C languages, whereas Android uses Java and/or Kotlin.
These are the apps that can run on both platforms, be it iOS or Android. Developing such apps offers many benefits, such as less development effort and single code use. Cross-platform apps are usually built using Flutter and React Native.
These apps are a mix of both native and web platforms. Installed like a native app, it runs in a web view component.
|Mobile App Development Platform
|Average Development Cost
|Native apps (Android & iOS)
|$50,000 to $100,000
|$25,000 to $60,000
|$15,000 to $50,000
|$10,000 to $150,000
Table: Mobile app development cost estimation based on platform
Important: How Much Does it Cost to Start an App?
Mobile app design is a combination of two aspects – user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). The UI is basically the look and feel of your app, while the UX encompasses the app’s use and functions. Focusing on app design is crucial to ensure maximum user engagement.
When it comes to deciding on app design, generally there are two options – Standard UI and Custom UI. Since designing custom UI is time-consuming and complex, it is comparatively more expensive than standard UI designing.
Other components of app design are:
- Wireframing: The process in which developers create a visual guide (through sketches) to explain how an app will work. It is an important aspect of app design as it helps create effective user experience features and maps.
- Animations and illustrations: App developers use various animation effects to make certain aspects of any application intuitive and interesting.
|App Design Process
|Average Development Time
|Average Development Cost
|App Design Research
|Based on the niche and available resource
|UI Design (Visuals)
|Creating brand identity
|Logos, icons, and social media
|Animations and illustrations
|Based on the level of animations
Table: Mobile app development cost estimation based on its app design
It’s a myth that app development costs come to an end at the development stage. Your app needs to be constantly refined to keep up with the changing market trends, OS versions, and new devices. All this comes at a cost. But what all take up your budget after the development stage?
- Design changes: To keep users hooked, businesses should keep improving their app designs.
- Bug fixes: A big-free mobile app is a fallacy. There will always be one or the other issues arising with your app. To detect and fix them timely for uninterrupted use, businesses need to have a look out for bugs.
Typically, app maintenance cost is calculated annually at the valuation of 20% of the overall app development cost.
Development Team Size and Location
The overall cost of developing an app greatly depends on the developer you choose. You can choose from multiple options – a seasoned app development company, an in-house development team, a local team, or a freelance developer.
Of all the available options, outsourcing your development project to a proficient app development company would cost you more than others. However, this investment and trust can do wonders for your business app. An experienced development team will build an app with the best features and functionalities.
|Cost Factors and Requirements
Table: Estimated cost for outsourcing mobile app development
Besides the team size, the location of the developer/team you appoint for your app development needs also affects the overall app development cost. Check out the table below to get a better idea.
|App Development Cost
Table: Mobile app development cost estimation based on developer’s location
So, these were the eight important factors that determine the cost of building an app. However, some other factors are adding to the app development cost that often go missing.
Let’s learn more.
Hidden Factors Affecting The Cost Involved In Mobile App Development
When planning for your next app or even hiring a developer to build it, consider discussing these hidden factors:
Include expenses for data delivery, data storage, and app hosting. All this adds to both the complexity and cost of a project. Some examples of infrastructure items include data warehouses, servers, development tools, and libraries.
To ensure the quality of your mobile app, you will need to hire a quality assurance team and a project manager. In addition, you will also need business analysts to help you reduce the development cost and keep it within your budget.
IT Support Costs
Developing an app without IT support is like embarking on a foreign land without a GPS. It’s impossible to build a high-quality app without continuous IT support services. These may include bug fixing, iOS and Android updates, and API maintenance. However, over time, the IT support cost may increase.
Securing your app should be your top priority to ensure user trust. For this, you should have a proper security plan. Considering this aspect from the beginning, and taking time for thorough testing and security checks in advance will ensure a smooth process. Failing to do so may result in higher costs, potentially leading to financial and reputational losses.
So, these are all the factors that may affect your mobile application development cost. Based on these factors, plan your next app budget wisely.
Interested in understanding the complete app development process? Continue to read…
Related Article: Cost to Maintain an App – A Brief Guide
Step-by-step Process of Developing A Mobile App
A typical mobile app development life cycle comprises several stages, which include:
Research the target market
The purpose of your mobile app is to cater to the needs of your customers. But who are your target customers? To determine this, conducting thorough market research is important. The findings of this research will help you understand the market dynamics, who are the leading players in your industry, and more.
Through research, understand who your target customers are, their goals, preferences, and behaviors, and the platforms and mobile devices they use.
Also, make sure to research the top-performing apps in your industry. This competitor analysis will help you develop a better product.
Choose the right app development platform
You can choose to develop your mobile app on any platform, including iOS and Android. But if you are tight on the budget, it’s better to select any one platform. Once your app monetizes well, you can enhance your functionality to make it multi-platform-supportive.
Find the right app development company
According to EvansData, there are nearly 26.4million app developers globally. Of these, over 5.9million people are Android developers and 2.8 million iOS developers. So, whom to choose to develop your app? Not all the app developers you come across can develop the best app for you.
Hiring an experienced and reliable mobile app developer will ensure a feature-rich and secure business app. So, choose wisely. Do your research, make a decision based on their portfolio, track record and reviews, skills and communication, and pricing.
To validate your mobile app idea without hefty expenses, consider developing an MVP. Ask your mobile app development company to suggest essential features and key unique selling prepositions (USPs) to ensure the success of your app.
Test the app
Do not ever ignore this important phase if you want to develop a good quality and reliable app. Test your app thoroughly for its performance content and UI. Proper testing ensures bug-free apps with reduced development costs and time. Remember, a well-functioning app will improve your market reputation, bringing you more customers and increased sales.
Submit the app to the store
After completing the testing, you can submit your app to the Apple or Google Play Store, according to its OS. However, when publishing, keep a check on the developer’s guidelines by Apple or Google and adhere to them.
In addition, ensure your app’s monetization model aligns with the specifications outlined by both platforms.
Launch and track performance
After submitting the app to its respective store, launch it carefully. Also, track its performance using in-app analytics tools. Make sure to introduce updates regularly to improve your app and enhance user engagement. Lastly, keep up with users’ concerns and issues and address them.
To get more details about the app development process, check out our blog: https://itechnolabs.ca/comprehensive-step-by-step-guide-to-make-an-app/
So, this is how you can develop your mobile app. But how can you leverage your mobile app to make money?
Let’s find out!
How To Monetize Your Mobile App?
Well, there are numerous ways mobile apps make money. In this section, we have shared some of the most popular app monetizing models that businesses use. These models help businesses generate more revenue and enhance customer value.
In this model, users are required to buy a subscription plan in order to access some advanced features of the app. Different subscription plans are usually available for users to choose from, according to their budget. These often include daily subscriptions, monthly subscriptions, or yearly subscriptions.
One of the most common ways to monetize an app. Here, you promote products or services for third-party clients on your app. In return, you get paid.
In this model, you find a sponsor related to your industry and set up a compensation structure. In exchange for monetary compensation, the app could include the sponsor’s brand, and promote its products and services, or direct users to its website.
Now that you are aware of making money through an app, here’s a SECRET! You can actually make the most out of your app monetarily! One way is to use the above models to make money through your app. Another way is to save money on developing your app, which can be easily done by following the tips shared in the next section.
Practical Tips To Reduce Mobile App Development Costs
Follow these simple tricks to reduce your mobile app development costs without compromising the quality:
Choose the best features for your app early on
When developing your app, you must prioritize its features and functionalities. Doing this will help you start driving business value as early as possible. Save the advantageous features for the later stages. Therefore, build an MVP before developing the app.
Plan for the future
The initial version of your app might not remain the same a few years later. You will need to enhance your app according to the evolving market trends, OS upgrades, and user expectations. Hence, it’s wise to consider short-term and long-term goals when developing your app. Planning well in advance will save you considerably in the long run.
Bring in quality assurance beforehand
Your mobile app is prone to errors and bugs, Hence, you must fix them immediately. This can be achieved by including quality assistants right from the beginning. These professionals will identify and address potential issues with the app even before the development phase begins.
This way, you can save a lot of investment in building a bug-ridden mobile app. Fixing such an app at later development stages can become demanding and expensive.
Consider cross-platform development
Developing native or hybrid apps can be expensive compared to cross-platform development. In the case of cross-platform app development, developers can design mobile apps for several platforms using a single codebase. This saves the money and time needed to produce numerous versions of the same program. Popular technologies for developing cross-platform apps include Flutter and React Native, amongst others.
Save On Your Next Mobile App Development Cost With iTechnolabs!
Our seasoned tech experts specialize in building scalable apps equipped with next-generation functionalities. Our expertise ensures efficient development, reducing the likelihood of errors and rework that could incur additional costs.
We have a vast team of developers, QA, testers, and project managers who can ensure quality, bug-free app development.
Further, we streamline the development process using Agile practices that help us optimize resource utilization and reduce unnecessary expenses. By keeping up with the latest industry trends, we ensure the use of scalable and cost-effective technologies.
Moreover, our proficient developers ensure faster development cycles, enabling quicker time to market, and potentially reducing overall project costs.
So, if you’ve got an app idea and want a cost estimation for its development, contact our experts! Request a free quote today!
Frequently Asked Questions About Mobile App Development Cost
How much does it cost to make an app?
While it’s not possible to predict an exact mobile app development cost, here’s an estimation, based on the level of complexity:
- Simple apps: $5,000- $50,000
- Medium complex app development: $50,000-$100,000
- Complex app development: $100,000- $300,000 and above.
To get more insights on this, check out: How much does it cost to create an app in 2024? And, if you want an exact quote for your next app development project, get in touch with us.
How much does the app maintenance cost?
In the first year of launch, the maintenance costs of your app can be half (50%) the initial cost of development. From the second year, the annual app maintenance budget can range from 15% to 20% of the initial cost.
How long does it take to build an app?
Typically, the average time it takes to build an app can be around three to nine months or more. The interval of app development depends on the app complexity and structure of the project.
What factors affect the overall development cost?
The most common factors that can affect your mobile app development costs include the complexity of the app, features and functionalities, app design and animation, size and location of your development team etc. There are some other hidden app development factors you should consider as well.
What services are covered by iTechnolabs under mobile app development?
At iTechnolabs, we offer end-to-end mobile app development services. We follow a comprehensive process that includes business analysis, designing an integrated UI/UX style, and building your mobile app from conception to launch through the Google Play, or App Store. We also provide additional maintenance and scaling up according to the needs of your business.