Creating an app has become increasingly important for businesses and individuals alike in today’s digital age. However, the cost of developing an app can vary widely depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the app, the platform it’s developed on, and the level of expertise required.
As a result, it’s crucial to understand the different elements that can impact the cost of creating an app, so that you can budget accordingly and make informed decisions when hiring developers.
In this article, we will explore the various factors that contribute to the cost of app development, as well as some tips on how to keep your costs under control.
Before getting into topics, let’s first take a look at the statistics of developing an app.
1. App usage grew about 36% between the year 2020-2022 (Businessofapps)
2. The number of app downloads rapidly grew from 140 billion in the year 2016 to 230 billion in 2021. (Statista)
3. In 2020, some of the eminent subscription apps generated more than 10 million U.S. dollars in global revenues in the Apple App Store.
4. Mobile app revenue is predicted to increase from $318 billion in 2020 to over $600 billion in 2025. (Statista)
5. Business app usage is rapidly increasing and has an increment of about 90% in 2020.(Influencermarketinghub)
Let’s discuss the methods of calculating the app development cost.
How is the App Development Cost Estimated?
The app development cost is calculated by experts at the development companies. Mostly, their business analysts are involved with developers and project managers to decide the cost required to build an app.
Let’s look at the points below to make it easier to understand the cost estimation.
1. App cost calculator
There is a very simple formula to develop the app development cost. Almost all the developers use these criteria to find the estimated cost.
To get the estimated cost, the total development time is multiplied by the hourly rate.
2. Fixed prices
A fixed price refers to the cost charged for a given timetable to develop an app. This is the approach that many development companies use for building smaller apps with a clear and well-defined scope of work.
The cost that is decided once, prior to development, is the amount that needs to be paid to the service provider.
3. Time and third-party plugins
When there are more complex projects with many features and functionalities, often determined by the requirement of the time to build an app and third-party plugins, the price is mainly calculated on an hourly basis.
This approach of cost calculation, in this case, makes things simpler during the app development process as one never knows how long the developers may be stuck at a particular point of app development.
Now let’s further know about the most popular apps’ cost structures.
5 Most Popular Apps With Their Cost Structure
These are examples of a few popular apps that have redefined the strategy of knowing the customer experience and are currently at the top of the app market.
Uber is one of the most popular ridesharing apps that connects various drivers and riders all over the world, within a proximate distance. Using this app, customers can request and look for a car or auto instantly or schedule for other times too. Those requests are received by the drivers within proximity.
The average cost for developing an app like Uber ranges between $30,000 to $100,000, depending upon your budget and resources.
Snapchat has become one of the game changers in the world of social media and mobile app. This popular app is known for its best services of messaging and bringing creative reality through its incredible filters and lenses. It is one of the favorite and most used apps among people of all ages who are active on social media, especially teenagers.
The estimated cost for an app like Snapchat ranges from $45,000 to $200,000.
WhatsApp is a fast messaging app that allows its user to communicate through messages along with the features such as video calls, audio calls, photos/video sharing and uploading, etc, and that too very instantly.
The cost for app development like WhatsApp would range from $30000 to $70000.
Netflix is one of the widely known media streaming platforms. It allows its users to watch and stream movies, shows, series, etc. as per their convenience. This platform is quite popular nowadays.
The average cost for app development similar to Netflix is about $25,000 to $200,000.
Twitter is a microblogging service as well as a social media platform. It was developed and created by Jack Dorsey in 2006. It helps to keep oneself abreast of all the current affairs as many personalities, especially those related to politics, have joined it.
The cost of developing apps like Twitter is estimated to be around $30,000 to $300,000.
If you would like an estimate for your own app in one of these niches or another, then kindly contact our professionals with your requirements so that they can give you an estimate according to your specifications.
We have discussed the popular apps with their app cost structures. Now, let’s discuss the cost of app development by app type or niche-based apps.
Cost Of App Development By Type Of App Or Niche
Here is a list of some types of apps and their average development costs.
1. Retail App
A retail app is very effective in terms of sales growth. These apps are usually created to simplify the shopping experiences between sellers and buyers. An estimated cost for a retail app is about $50,000 to $150,000.
2. E-commerce App
E-commerce apps are now one of the must-have apps on every mobile device. People love to shop for goods online. An estimated cost for an e-commerce app is about $20,000 to $40,000.
3. Social Media App
Social media apps are the most used apps nowadays; people are addicted to apps like Instagram & Facebook. It’s always a beneficial idea to create a social media app in 2023. An estimated cost for a social media app is about $55,000 to $300,000.
4. Video Streaming App
In the era of digitalization, video streaming apps are the source of entertainment. Apps like Netflix are the most demanding and generate huge profits with the subscription model. An estimated cost for a video streaming app is about $25,000 to $200,000.
5. Dating App
The post-COVID world is heavily driven by online dating, with applications like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge gaining tremendous popularity among the present generation. Therefore, online dating app development can be an excellent and lucrative business idea. The cost of developing an online dating mobile app can range anywhere from $25,000 to $120,000.
6. Gaming App
Gaming apps are always trending terms in the app industry, but gaming is surpassed its popularity after the Covid-19 phase. Nowadays, people are addicted to gaming apps and enjoy in-app purchase benefits. An estimated cost for any game application is about $55,000 to $250,000.
7. Business App
Business apps are very useful for large businesses as enterprise mobility solutions. Mainly, businesses use these kinds of apps for in-house task management, office management, and employee management. An estimated cost for a business app is about $50,000 to $200,000.
8. Learning App
Learning has become very easy after the evolution of digital apps. Now, people are using learning apps to master their skills and hobbies. An estimated cost for an educational or learning app may range from $10,000 to $100,000.
9. Healthcare App
Mobile apps are helping the healthcare industry in several ways, such as hospital management CRM apps, patient apps, doctor appointment apps, and medicine home delivery apps. An estimated cost for a healthcare app is about $55,000 to $300,000.
10. Restaurant App
Restaurant apps are a combination of three apps: Restaurant Admin app, Food Delivery App, and Customer App. An estimated cost for a restaurant app is about $45,000 to $150,000.
11. Food Delivery App
Food delivery apps are the most favorite apps among people. Nowadays, users can easily buy any food from their favored restaurant at their doorstep. An estimated cost for a food delivery app is about $40,000 to $200,000.
Now let us jump to the step-by-step process to start app development.
Step By Step Process to Create an App
To build an ideal and successful app, you need to go through the stages mentioned below.
1. Research and Analyze the Target Audience
When you begin with app development, it is very important to research and analyzes the target audience, your competitors, etc. This will give you a clear idea about the market strategies and the leading players in your particular niche. This will lead to an ideal product.
2. Choose a Development Approach
Conducting thorough market research will enable you to determine your target customers based on their demographics. This includes the type of OS users you wish to target, which are Android users and iOS users.
You can target either one of these OS user markets or even both of them, depending on the scope of your application. Based on this factor, you can either go with native development or build a cross-platform application.
In native development, you have to code a different application for different mobile operating systems. This approach is popular for building fast-performing and feature-rich applications. Native apps are commonly written in Java and Kotlin for Android; and Objective-C and Swift for iOS.
Cross-platform app development, on the other hand, is based on the fundamental of ‘write once, run everywhere’. By opting for this approach, you can reduce your project’s development cost and time. Some of the most popular cross-platform technologies are Flutter, React Native, and Xamarin.
3. Hire an App Development Company
Hiring a reliable and top mobile app development company is quite a necessary step. Such app-building companies often ensure and analyze that your app contains all the necessary features and functions. In addition to this, they use the latest trends and technologies to build your dream project.
An app development agency comprises app developers, UI/UX designers project managers, marketing specialists, and testers. All of these provide valuable suggestions and strategies.
4. Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
If you wish to check and validate your app idea without spending more on it, just consider developing an MVP, i.e., a minimum viable product. You can ask your app development agency to determine the must-have features and functions and then develop the app further accordingly.
5. App Testing
Testing is one of the crucial steps to consider when your app is either partially or fully developed. It is the duty of the testers that you hire to test the overall app performance to provide an error-free app to users.
With thorough testing, you can easily determine the problems in your app and effectively improve it. Proper testing also reduces the extra cost and development time.
6. App Deployment and Launching
Once your app is tested and made bug-free, it is ready to be deployed on the selected platform and launched for end users. An app’s deployment process is crucial because it includes the app store process and marketing strategy.
7. Track the Performance After the Launch
Once your app is launched, ensure that you test its performance periodically. In this way, you can determine the users’ concerns and moods. Based on that you can improve the app’s performance.
These are the standard processes for developing an app. If you want to develop a result-driven mobile app, feel free to contact us to build your app!
We have already discussed the app development process, but some features can make your app more user-friendly.
Let’s discuss the must-have mobile app features.
Must-Have Features in a Mobile App
Mobile apps have become part of our lives, and as a result, users have become more demanding in terms of the features they expect from an app. In order to create a successful app, it’s essential to incorporate must-have features that meet the needs and expectations of users.
Here are some key features that you should consider when creating a mobile app:
1. User-friendly Interface
The user interface is the first thing that users interact with when using an app. Therefore, it’s crucial to design an intuitive and friendly interface that provides easy navigation and quick access to essential features.
2. Push Notifications
Push notifications are a powerful way to keep users engaged with your app. They allow you to send timely and relevant information to users, such as new content, updates, or promotions.
3. Social Media Integration
Social media integration allows users to share app content on their social media accounts. This feature can help increase the app’s visibility and attract new users.
4. In-app Purchases
In-app purchases are a way to monetize your app by offering users the ability to purchase additional features or content within the app. This feature can generate revenue and keep users engaged.
5. Navigation and Search
A well-designed navigation system is essential to help users easily find the information or features they need within the app. This includes a clear and consistent menu structure, as well as a search bar that allows users to locate specific content quickly.
6. Offline Access
Offline access is a critical feature for apps that require users to access content when they don’t have an internet connection. This feature allows users to access content even when they are offline, ensuring that they can use the app regardless of their internet connection.
It is a way to provide a customized experience for each user. This feature allows you to tailor content, recommendations, and notifications to individual users based on their preferences and behavior.
It’s always beneficial for entrepreneurs to finalize the requirements before creating the app. If you have a proper understanding of features and app development requirements then it’s easy to determine the app development cost.
Let’s discuss an estimated app development cost.
How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?
After getting the basic knowledge of app development, must-have features, and its demand in the market, the question arises of how much the overall app development will cost.
Although, it’s very tough to calculate the exact app development cost without knowing the requirements. The app development cost depends upon various factors such as the app’s complexity, features, third-party integrations, server cost, maintenance cost, app store cost, resources cost, and so on.
Various studies have shown that the cost to develop an app ranges from $10,000 to $500,000 based on various industry surveys and budgets.
If you want to know the exact app development cost based on your requirements then feel free to discuss it with our team of expert business analysts.
As mentioned above, many factors affect app development costs, such as features, functionality, UI UX design complexity, operating system, etc. Here are some elements that will help you understand the mobile application development cost so that you can get an approximate idea of the price range and through which you can set your whole project’s budget. So, let’s discuss the factors affecting app creation cost.
Here, we are listing the most important factors in determining the final cost of building an app.
Top Factors Affecting The Mobile App Development Cost
Before starting the project, the first step is to choose a platform. Based on this, the overall development cost of the app would be determined.
Let’s discuss the type of app based on different platforms in detail.
1. Cost of App Development By the Type of Operating System
Depending on your target users, you can choose between an iOS, Android, or hybrid application.
Being an open-source ecosystem, it makes things easier for the developers to develop an app on the Android platform. Developers can easily perform modifications and add lots of functionalities to Android apps. Thus, these are comparatively less expensive than iOS.
iOS, or Apple, formulates a closed ecosystem, which means that there is more control over the content and it provides stability. Thus, it imposes more restrictions on the iOS app developers to meet certain standards of the iOS platform. This is the reason why app development for iOS platforms is charged heavily by the developers.
What if we tell you that you can create your dream app for Android and iOS users without spending extra cost? Hybrid or cross-platform apps are designed to reuse the code of an app to develop the same app for another platform.
Below you will find a comparison of Native vs Hybrid app development.
Native vs Hybrid app development
A native app’s development cost varies from the hybrid model. A native app is basically an app built for your current operating system, either Android or iOS. When you choose native app development for Android and iOS, it will increase the development cost of the application.
In the case of hybrid or cross-platform mobile app development, the app is able to perform on multiple platforms or operating systems, in other words. If we look at it overall, making a single app for diverse platforms is comparatively less than making different apps for different operating systems.
It is a very popular app development method because it saves development time and reduces app development costs.
2. Cost As Per the Vendor Type
There can be two types of vendors: freelancers and app development companies.
There are many freelancers around us, including experienced as well as novice ones. Based on their experience level, they charge differently.
A highly knowledgeable and experienced freelance developer may cost you more as compared to a fresher or mid-level experienced developer.
2. App Development Company
App development companies, on the other hand, have expertise in diverse fields, and thus they can solve complex problems too. Also, they adopt different methods and strategies to implement your app development project.
In addition to this, you can get design, development, and maintenance services all under one roof, which is not possible when hiring freelancers. You need to hire different freelancers for different jobs, like designers, developers, testers, etc. Thus, hiring a mobile app development company is a practical choice.
3. Cost As Per the Location of Developers
The location of the mobile app developers also plays a crucial role in deciding the cost of the app development. In some locations, the cost of hiring developers or a company is less, whereas, in other areas, the cost may be higher.
For example, in the US, the average or overall cost to hire mobile app developers is 3X–4X more expensive than hiring app developers in India. Similarly, the development cost may vary in Ukraine, the UK, etc.
Our team at AGS researched the hourly costs of developers in diverse locations, as listed below:
4. Costs Based on the Number of Hired Developers
The cost of your project will rise as the number of team members increases. After all, hiring expertise in app development is not as easy as pie. Their experience, knowledge, and skills form the basis of their fee structure. Therefore, it is normal that to meet your app requirements, you need a team of dedicated developers, which can be less or more in number based on the complexity level of your project.
5. Cost As Per the Complexity of the App
The complexity of the app also determines its development cost. While a simple app will cost you very little, at the same time, a complex app will cost the most. However, if you go with an average app with average functionality, then it may prove to be pocket-friendly for many new business owners.
The smaller the application, the simpler it is for the audience. Also, the less time you will need for the development.
You need to analyze how many features will be in your app. How many screens and buttons would it have? What functions would it have?
1. Simple Apps
These are very easy to use and do not require too much effort. These contain main and necessary features and functions. On average, a simple app may cost around $10,000 to $60,000.
For example Calendar app
2. Mid-level Apps
These apps provide some integrations with API and have more screens. These accompany some complicated features with extra features like real-time messaging. On average, an average app cost around $60,000 to $150,000.
For example EHR
3. Complex Apps
These apps are multifunctioning. These provide some complex features like chatbots, media processing, UI animation services, and some advanced features like real-time synchronization. A Complex app costs around $1,50,000 to $300,000 or above.
For example a telehealth platform or an app
6. Cost As Per the Number of Features
The number of features also determines the app development cost. An app in any niche with simple and limited features will charge you nominally; however, if you want to build an app with lots of key features that must function appropriately, then this may raise the cost manifolds as the app becomes highly complex.
Some types of apps, like fintech ones, have sensitive features that mean a single error may result in a loss of finances. Thus, the cost to build such apps goes up.
7. Cost As Per the Complexity of UX/UI Design and API Integrations
The next factors that affect the overall price of app development are its design, structure, and the number of third-party integrations. When an app is designed, there are two options: Custom and standard user interface.
Custom UI is somewhat more difficult to design and implement than the standard one. Hence, the cost of the app increases when a custom UI is implemented.
Animation has also become a popular method to develop certain aspects of any app. It makes your app very creative, intuitive, and expensive at the same time.
Furthermore, implementing third-party APIs like payment gateways will add to the development cost of the app.
Remember that the primary goal of your app is to offer services to users on their mobile devices. Hence, an ideal app must possess all the necessary features and interfaces.
Also, the users must not face any problems or complications while using the app. Therefore, there should be careful design and structuring of your app so that you can provide excellent services that are also cost-effective from your side.
Hidden App Development Costs You Need to Know
While estimating the cost of the app, there are certain common factors that directly impact the cost, as discussed above; however, there are also some hidden fee structures that you need to know about to develop a proper scenario for the cost estimation of developing any app.
Let’s have a quick overview of the hidden costs.
1. Maintenance Cost
The app maintenance fee covers the cost of keeping the product available and usable for users. It constantly works on improving the performance of the app, which can be done on a regular basis, on-demand, or both. Hence, the cost will vary accordingly.
The app maintenance cost covers cloud hosting services, server subscription fees, infrastructure costs, SSL, 3rd party integrations, the tech team, and many more.
2. Marketing Cost
Developing and marketing a product or app are two different things. You can hire the same company for both services or hire them separately. Under the marketing cost, your app will be covered with various marketing strategies to make it the most popular among users.
This cost of marketing is divided into: social media ads, search engine ads, landing pages, copywriting, PRs, customer relationship management, email marketing, and many more.
Other hidden fees include:
Functional costs for third-party integrations such as payment gateways, push notifications, geolocation, etc.
Admin or management fees, Infrastructural costs, and support charges.
Time Required To Develop An App
The cost of developing an app is directly linked to the time required to build that app.
Based on the type of complexity level, the time frame for an app could be:
1. Simple App – 4 to 6 months
2. Mid-level App – 6 to 8 months
3. Complex App – more than 9 months.
Next, talking about the requirements of the app, the app development time may vary as per the number of features included. A fully featured app will definitely require more time than an app with fewer features.
In addition to this, the time required also depends on the level of expertise hired for the app’s development. Hiring a novice may be time-consuming, whereas if you go with experienced developers, they may get the job done in a very short span of time.
How Can You Reduce the App Development Cost?
After reading so much about the app development cost, and the factors affecting the cost, it really becomes difficult to expect a reduction in the app’s cost.
It is just impossible to imagine cost-cutting; however, the experts at AGS have gone through miles and brought some compelling ideas to cut the cost of app development.
Follow the below-listed ways to reduce the cost:
1. Opt for Clear Blueprints
The development process is accelerated by detailed technical blueprints, which reduce unnecessary time. Thus, to manage time and cost, you must thoroughly outline all of your functional requirements prior to development.
2. Prioritize the Features
Again, to save time and money, it would be wise if you prioritized the most important features above the less important ones to include in the app.
3. Number of Features
The cost of producing an app is heavily determined by the app’s functionality and features. So, to reduce the cost, opt for the MVP(Minimum Viable Product) with fewer features.
4. Error Detection
It is very necessary to find and correct errors or bugs as soon as they are detected, as otherwise, it may cost you a hefty amount of sums to fix them in the later development stages.
As the owner of the project, it is not always necessary to open an office or hire professionals to get the work done. This may be more time and money-consuming, so cut this additional cost by outsourcing your project to affordable developers, which will save you bucks.
How Can Auxano Global Services Help You?
Auxano Global Services has a team of experts with an edge over modern-age tools and technologies. We offer state-of-the-art services for startups as well as large-scale businesses.
Our highly energetic professionals possess a wide range of skill sets to build an intuitive and responsive app with compelling features. When you bring your requirements to us, we will analyze your project, and your competitors, and suggest if there is any room for improvement. Our ultimate goal is to deliver quality.
We have an in-house team of business analysts who will carefully analyze the project details, including- the number of features, hour estimation, the complexity of the project, etc. After looking at all the perspectives, we build a rough cost estimation for app development.
You may get in touch with us to get the exact cost estimation of your project!
Despite the upfront cost of developing an app, it can provide significant value to businesses and individuals by enhancing the user experience, increasing engagement, and generating revenue.
Investing in the development of an app can be a worthwhile investment for those looking to expand their reach and succeed in today’s digital age.
So, don’t delay. Start investing now to reap benefits in the future.
We hope this article has helped you understand the principles of the app development process and the cost of developing an app.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much does it cost to develop an app?
The cost of developing an app can vary widely, depending on several factors. Generally, simple apps with basic features can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000, while more complex apps with advanced features can cost $300,000 or more.
2. What factors affect the cost of developing an app?
The cost of developing an app is influenced by several factors, such as the app’s complexity, platform, development team’s location, number of features, and design requirements. The development process, quality assurance, and ongoing maintenance costs also contribute to the overall cost.
3. How can I reduce the cost of developing an app?
There are several ways to reduce the cost of developing an app, such as focusing on the essential features and functionalities, choosing a simpler design, and outsourcing development to a cost-effective location.
4. What are some hidden costs of developing an app?
Some hidden costs of developing an app include ongoing maintenance and updates, server hosting fees, third-party integrations, and legal fees for patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
5. Can I develop an app on my own to save money?
Developing an app on your own can be challenging, especially if you don’t have the required technical skills and expertise. Additionally, it can take more time to develop the app after gaining application development expertise.
Hiring expert developers who have a more profound knowledge of app development is beneficial. This will save you time and may result in a higher return on your investment.
6. How long does it take to develop an app?
The time it takes to develop an app depends on several factors, such as the app’s complexity, platform, and development team’s experience. Simple apps can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to develop, while complex apps can take 9 months or more.