Are you a startup founder, serial entrepreneur, or investor thinking of creating a mobile application? If yes, a question that’ll definitely be paramount in your mind is “how much does mobile app development cost?”
The cost of developing a mobile app ranges from $15,000 to $230,000 for most applications.
However, your exact price is determined by the app type, complexity, business model, and development team.
The MVP for a typical app of average complexity at $30/hour is:
- iOS–$60,000 and
When it comes to app development, you’ll get what you pay for. Pay beneath a certain threshold, and you’re undoubtedly hiring a low-quality team.
On the other hand, hire cost-effectively, and you’ll have a perfect price-quality ratio.
This article will discuss the intricacies and nitty-gritty of pricing a mobile application.
Points we’ll discuss in this article entail:
- App development costs
- Factors that impact the cost of building an app
- App development costs that are easily overlooked
- App development cost by example.
Let’s delve right into the crux of the article:
How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Mobile Application?
The cost of developing a minimum viable product for a mobile app from us ranges between $15,000 and $230,000.
However, the exact amount you’ll pay may slightly differ with:
- The product complexity
- The type of app
- The development team involved
- The location of the development team.
These factors can affect mobile app development by as much as 100%. Thus, it’s imperative to consider what they entail and how to influence those factors to reduce development costs.
Let’s help you understand their intricacies:
Mobile App Development Cost Defined by Product Complexity
The complexity of a mobile application refers to the number of features, functionalities, components, and interactions in the product’s codebase.
You may also describe complexity as the level of difficulty a coder faces in creating a mobile application.
For example, a typical fintech mobile application is more complex than a single-page to-do list app due to the number of functionalities and features the latter has.
However, that a mobile app has a single purpose doesn’t entirely imply that it’s not complex. Some of them are more complex than most multi-purpose apps. Some examples are:
- Instagram: Albeit a uni-purpose image and video social media app, in its backend are highly complex algorithms that track the number of metrics to sort and determine which ad and image to display to users.
- Spotify: This is a single-purpose platform with highly complex functionalities. One such is its highly sophisticated transmission protocol that powers its offline music streaming mode.
And as you might have imagined, the more complex a solution is, the greater the time needed to develop it fully. This, in turn, affects cost.
For proper understanding, we’ll break down cost into three types:
- Basic app
- Average app
- Complex app
Let’s help you with a spreadsheet detailing the estimated cost per complexity:
|Basic||$15,000 to $25,000||12-24 weeks||Mindoo|
|Average||$30,000 to $50,000||24-36 weeks||Form Assist, Sephora|
|Complex||Starts from $700,000||Over 36 weeks||SnapChat|
Mobile App Development Price Defined by Application Type
The type of mobile app you’re developing is another factor to consider.
Some mobile apps are generally more difficult to create than others. Take native apps for example, the requirement for creating one for an iOS platform differs from an Android application.
Likewise, cross-platform apps (applications that can work on both iOS and Android OS) differ in cost from Native apps.
Here’s a table detailing the price estimate per app type for a solution of average complexity:
|App Type||$ (Total estimate)|
Both iOS and Android apps are often categorized as native apps, as each only work on a single platform.
Mobile App Development Cost Defined by Team Type
Your team type is a huge cost-influencing factor to take note of.
For illustrative purposes, we’ll assume that you’re creating a mobile application with average complexity, Here’s the amount it’ll cost you:
|Internal team (US, UK)||$400,000|
|Software Development Agency (Intelivita)||$50,000|
For the internal team, we’re assuming your workforce consist of a mobile developer, backend developer, UI/UX designer and QA tester.
Wondering about what each team type means? Let’s take a dig into that:
This hiring model entails onboarding full-time developers as an employee of a company.
They receive daily orders from the company’s administrators and regularly interact with team members to ensure that common objectives are attained.
Before opting for this model, you should weigh its pros and cons:
Software Development Agency
A software development agency is a company that develops, maintains, and provides other services related to websites and mobile applications.
These app and web development agencies have an on-demand network of highly-skilled professionals. They are a go-to option for startups in need of a cost-effective means of outsourcing development for better profitability.
You can either partner with a local development company or an offshore agency. By local development company, we mean partnering with an agency situated in your home country.
For improved cost-effectiveness or to access a larger talent pool, then you may partner with an offshore development agency with a verifiable portfolio.
Pros and cons of partnering with a software development agency:
These are programmers working independently and handling tasks on a per-project basis.
Most freelance programmers know multitudes of frontend and backend stacks. Thus, they often handle full-stack roles and seldomly work independently on projects.
Here are some merits and demerits of handling this project:
Note: The costs mentioned above are not finite, as there are some hidden fees to consider when preparing your budget.
Mobile App Development Costs by Region
Country where a software development agency operates from is a huge cost influencing factor.
In the US for example, the average cost of hiring a developer is 3X – 4X more expensive than the cost of app development in India.
Here’s a table depicting how prices differ per region:
|India and Southeast Asia||$25|
Now that you know how mobile app development cost differs from country to country, let’s discuss the stages that accumulate into the total price tag.
Stages of Mobile App Development Cost
For proper understanding, well break down different aspects of app development cost, and what each entail:
1. Discovery Phase (20% of Mobile App Development Cost)
The discovery phase of mobile application development is where team members research the viability of the idea, technical requirements, business needs, and talent required.
This phase helps to serve the groundwork for other development activities, and has multitudes of parts, which entail:
|Market analysis||Market analysis helps you research market demand, size of the market, technological trends in your niche, and number of competitors.
This aspect will be conducted by a business analyst, and may require assistance from a team of data analysts, data scientists, and tech leads.
|Competitor analysis||Competitor analysis is the process of assessing the weaknesses and strengths of prospective competitors.
This way, you can tailor your business model for better advantage amidst rivals.
|Budgeting||Budgeting helps you identify total app development cost beforehand.
This aspect requires input from the tech leads, UI/UX designer, business analyst, project manager, and idea owners.
2. UI/UX Design Phase (20% of Total Mobile App Development Cost)
The UI/UX design phase is where a designer creates a pictorial view of the app idea, per co-founder expectations, and results from the discovery phase.
Depending on the complexity of the design, the number of screens, and the UX map out, the timeframe for completion usually ranges around 20-140 design hours.
At the end of this phase, you should have the:
- Interactive prototype
This phase is the most fluid, as it requires regular feedback from the team, and startup founders.
3. Coding Phase (50% of Total Mobile App Development Cost)
This phase, also called the core development phase, is where backend and mobile developers write necessary codes needed to create every feature, functionality, button, and icon that should be in the application.
The activities here can be divided into two:
- Backend Development
- Frontend Development.
|Aspects in the Coding Phase||Description|
|Back-end development||The backend development phase involves creating server-side features, using tech-stacks like Java, Node.JS, Laravel, GoLang, Python, Next.JS, etc.,
Features created here are not visible to users, but are key to the core-function of the application. See them as the brain-box of the overall system.
Backend is responsible for 30% of overall app development cost. Or 60% of app development cost expended in this phase.
|Front-end Development||The frontend development phase entails the creation of user-sider features and functionalities with tech-stacks like Swift, React Native etc.
The features here are those users will interact with, and they determine the aesthetics of the application.
Frontend is responsible for 20% of overall app development cost. Or 40% of app development cost expended in this phase.
At the end of these two phases, the deliverable should be a fully functional mobile application.
4. App Launch (10% of Total Application Development Cost)
There’s no point creating a mobile application if you wouldn’t launch it; isn’t it?
Knowing how to launch an app is as important as knowing its creation process. Beyond facilitating installation, it improves performance, and user loyalty.
This launch process comes with its own cost, as you’ll need to pay requisite fees on mobile app stores like Apple Store, and Google PlayStore.
The launch process requires that you have top-notch App Store Optimization techniques. For example, you can test a range of animations, videos, descriptions, and images to see what works best.
Now that you know the app development cost stages, let’s consider some examples for better understanding:
Cost of App Development By Examples
We’ll use three diverse examples as case studies to help you understand the cost of building a mobile application.
Example 1: How Much Does it Cost to Create a Fintech App Like Revolut?
Revolut is a Neobank that offers services like peer-to-peer money transfer, fee-free currency exchange, and other regular banking features.
Primary features in the Revolut App
- Peer-to-peer money transfer
- International rate conversion
- Easy registration
- Secure login
- Profile personalization
- Protected biometric system.
According to Business of Apps, the platform currently enjoys over 1.1 million daily users. And with a valuation of over $33 billion, it’s a no-brainer that multiple startups would want to create a similar product.
The cost of building a neobank app like Revolut starts at $40,000. The exact cost will depend on the features and functionalities inherent in the app.
Example 2: How Much Does it Cost to Create an App Like Uber?
Uber is a ride-hailing app that connects its app users with the nearest available rider. It’s the largest hailing service and has over 93 million monthly users.
Get a precise and accurate cost estimate for your custom mobile app with advanced features.
Primary features of Uber App
- Real time location tracking
- Card linking
- Driver review
- In-app location.
The cost of creating the MVP of a ride-hailing app from us is about $40,000. Expected timeframe for completing the project is 6-8 months.
Example 3: How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App like Instagram?
Instagram is one of the most visited social media platforms, as it currently boasts 1.4 billion users as of July 2022. Little wonder why most startups hoping to leap into the social media space consider it a noteworthy model.
Core features of the Instagram app are
- Instagram reels
- QR codes
- Instagram stories
Instagram-like app development cost starts at $30,000.
Example 4: Cost of Building an App Like Tinder
Tinder is a dating app with over 75 million users, and is popular in over 197 countries. To attain optimum usability, the platform has a variety of languages that is auto-selected per user location.
Features to build in a dating app are:
- In-app messaging
- Profile customization
- Swipe-to-match feature
- Real-time location tracking.
App development cost for an app like Tinder is $30,000.
Example 5: Cost of Developing an App like Netflix
Netflix is a subscription-based streaming service that lets users watch TV, videos, and make in-app downloads. The app currently has over 223 million active subscribers with a growth rate of 22.7%.
Core features in the Netflix app are:
- In-app payment
- Video download feature
- In-app video streaming
- Timeline customization.
The cost of developing an app like Netflix is around $35,000.
Now that you have a succinct idea of app development cost, let’s consider some factors that might alter prices:
Factors that Affect the Cost of Mobile App Development
Let’s educate you on factors affecting app development costs:
Factor 1: Business Logic of the App
In mobile app development, business logic or domain logic refers to the core function of the app, its business model, and the outcomes users get from the application.
The app’s business logic provides direction to the following attributes:
- The overall size of the mobile application
- The ideal tech stack for developing the solution
- The size of the development team
- Timeframe for completing the application
- QA validation process required
- The dependables needed.
Generally, mobile application development with more complex business logic is more expensive. This is due to its complex architecture and multiple functionalities that the programmer needs to implement.
Factor 2: Technology Architecture
Technology architecture in mobile app development entails the aggregation of logical components that are required to create a functional application.
The software architecture is a blueprint that programmers will follow to create a deliverable.
The technology architecture attributes that impact costs are
- The tech stacks
Since tech architecture is a workflow mapping of how the app operates, it’s only logical that the longer the workflow, the more expensive the mobile application.
A good technology architecture has its root in the app discovery phase. This phase is a step whereby the development team gathers requisite information about the target audience, solution’s objectives, founder’s expectations, and competitors.
An ideal discovery phase will carry a budget of about 10% of the complete development budget–this is partly due to its research-intensive nature, and it involves input from every team member.
The result from the discovery phase allows the CTO or any tech lead in charge to map out the technology architecture of the solution appropriately.
Factor 3: UI/UX Design
The UI/UX design is a prototype or mock-up detailing the look and user experience end users will derive from using a solution.
It also provides insight to coders on what features and functionalities they’ll need to create within the mobile application for it to achieve the founder’s ultimate objective.
UI/UX attributes that influence app development cost:
- The number of screens needed to complete a process,
- The type of user interface (Native UI’s cost more than hybrid interfaces),
- The number of animations in the design.
The higher the number of screens and animations in the design, the costlier the app developmental fee.
Factor 4: Core Features of the Mobile Application
The core features of a mobile app are those necessary for it to perform its primary features. Here, we’ll consider some key elements needed for each mobile app niche:
|Fintech (Banking)||Peer-to-peer transfer, connection with external service providers, account balance, payment processor, and transaction history.|
|Edtech||In-app video chat, in-app messaging feature, subject categorization, feedback sections.|
|Social Media||Messaging system, real-time notifications, content sharing element, and profile personalization.|
|HealthTech||Appointment scheduler, video-conferencing, in-app reminders and notifications, symptom checker, healthcare tips.|
As seen in the table above, the product niche highly influences the cost of software development.
Take fintech app development for example; there are lots of key features it must have to function appropriately, with each of them being highly complex.
Also, the features are sensitive, as a single error can lead to a loss of funds. This makes the cost of creating a fintech application is naturally higher than in other niches.
For more exposé on these factors, then read this article.
What’s more? There are some app development costs to take into account.
Hidden App Development Cost
By hidden costs, we mean expenses that are elusive to founders at the onset of product development.
Albeit hidden, they’re salient to creating a robust mobile app, making it remain functional, and helping it reach its target users.
The two most common hidden costs in mobile app development are:
- Marketing costs
- Maintenance costs.
These costs should be estimated within the mobile app project research phase and added to the total budget.
Let’s provide you with more information on what each entails:
Hidden Cost 1: Maintenance Cost
The maintenance cost is the funds needed to pay recurrent technical subscription fees and keep requisite skills for troubleshooting software errors.
Your yearly software maintenance cost should be about 25% of your overall app development price.
That is, if it costs you $200,000 to create your mobile application, set aside about $50,000 as the cost of maintaining your solution for a year.
Your maintenance budget will likely be expended on the following:
|App integration||Most apps are regularly updated every 1-4 months. Here are some possible updates that’ll be made:
Note: Maintenance cost may increase significantly if you’re undertaking a major update. In the case of a total app revamp, or code migration, you may pay as high as 100% of the total development cost–depending on the intricacy of the maintenance.
Another hidden cost to consider is the product’s marketing cost. Let’s take a dig into that right away:
Hidden Cost 2: Marketing Cost.
Marketing cost is a budget set aside for advertising your mobile application to your target audience. This is an important step in ensuring the app’s objectives are met.
The ideal annual app marketing cost for a mobile application should range between of your overall development costs.
If your app development cost is $50,000, then have a yearly marketing budget of about $100,000 – $150,000.
The high financial marketing demand is due to the following aspects:
Search engine optimization helps to improve the quantity and quality of web and mobile apps from search engineering.
It helps platforms gain unpaid traffic rather than paid or direct traffic.
According to HubSpot, 81% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the most effective form of content marketing.
Email marketing is a strategy to help introduce customers to discounts, products, and other services by communicating your offerings via electronic mail.
|Product hunt launches||This marketing aspect entails launching your products on platforms primarily for tech-loving audiences.|
|Social media marketing||
According to nealschaffer, 93% of marketers worldwide use social media for advertisement.
This aspect of marketing aims to use social media as a primary means of driving app traffic, interacting with users, and improving app retention.
Now that you have a detailed knowledge of the price of creating a mobile application.
Interested in Mobile App Development?
Interested in creating a mobile application that aligns with your technical or business requirement?
At Intelivita, we have a robust team of mobile developers that create scalable, secure, and resilient mobile applications.
Through failure-proof project management practices, we’ll ensure that deliverables align with both your technical and business needs.
Doubt our capacity to deliver as promised, then visit our portfolio, and check through our clutch testimonials.
Get in touch with us by filling out the form on our website and a representative will get in touch soon. Alternatively, you can send us a mail within work hours for a prompt reply.
Check out the highlights of our detailed guide “App Development Cost in 2023” to learn some key points about stages of app development, the costs of app development, factors affecting it, and more.
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