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Cost Of Developing An App: An Ultimate Guide for 2023

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Nowadays, mobile apps assist businesses in fostering closer relationships with their customers through tailored user experiences and improved analytics feedback loops. With the benefits of having a mobile app, it’s no wonder why your businesses want to port the services to the devices where your customers spend most of their time. So let’s find out the cost of developing an app

What is custom application development?

Custom application development is the process of designing, creating, and implementing software applications that are tailored for specific users. For example, many schools, healthcare providers, and businesses create their own custom portals for students, patients, and staff, which are used for a variety of purposes.

Custom application software development is typically done by in-house developers or outsourced to third parties, using the same processes and methods applied to ready-made applications, but with much narrower focus. So if you question the cost to develop a mobile app, then you will definitely need to consider a lot of basic factors of custom app development.

What is custom application development?

How much does an app cost to develop?

How much does it cost to build an app for your company? It is the first question you should address when estimating cost of developing an app in 2023.

A basic mobile app development budget with average numbers can be extremely beneficial if you want to clearly understand what you spend your money on (and whether it is worthwhile to put in the effort) and what type of work you must pay for. It’s also an excellent opportunity to look at the “big picture” and identify strategies to reduce the cost of developing an app. 

How much does an app cost to develop

Cost statistics to build an app

Depending on the complexity of the app, the price to design one can be anything from $40,000 to $150,000. Due to the functionality of the app, the cost to create an app might easily exceed expectations.

The popularity of apps and the cost of developing an app are both influenced by the global rise of mobile development. Over 7 million apps are available for download overall through app shops.

Here are some cost statistics for developing an app, based on several sources and methodologies:

  • On average, Google Play sees over 100,000 new app releases each month, while the Apple App Store sees over 30,000 new releases (Statista)
  • The market for app development is dominated by free apps. Free and freemium are typically the most profitable price models. Free utilities, for instance, make up over 92% of the total offerings in the Apple App Store (Statista)
  • 2020 saw a $581.9 billion revenue increase for the mobile app sector. The industry’s sales will almost certainly hit $1 trillion in 2023 if this trend continues (Statista)
  • By 2026, the sector for mobile app development is projected to generate revenues of $407.31 billion, representing a growth of more than 18.4%. (Market Research)
  • People spend about 90% of their time on apps. Soon, people will use a mobile device for 4 hours each day, with application use accounting for 88% of that time (eMarketer)
  • Smartphone users download games in 66% of cases. Over 95% of all users are simultaneously downloading web browsers, messaging, and communication apps. (Statista)

The type of application has a significant impact on how much it costs to design an app. Now that you are aware of the market’s active and quick growth, let’s examine the factors that affect app costs. 

Compare the average cost of app development by type

Another crucial aspect that must be taken into account is the sort of application. Below is a list of the most popular types of apps and the average app price involved: 

App Type Estimate Cost Time
⭐ Mobile App $30,000-$300,000 1,200h
⭐ iPhone App $55,000-$300,000 1,200h
⭐ Android App $50,000-$300,000 1,200h
⭐ Web App $60,000-$300,000 1,200h
⭐ Startup App $40,000-$400,000 1,600h
⭐ Taxi App (Uber) $50,000-$400,000 1,600h
⭐ Game App $60,000-$250,000 1,600h
⭐ Retail App $50,000-$150,000 1,200h
⭐ Augmented Reality App (AR) $100,000-$250,000 1,600h
⭐ eCommerce App $60,000-$250,000 1,600h
⭐ Social Media App (Instagram) $60,000-$250,000 1,200h
​​⭐ Business App $50,000-$200,000 1,200h
⭐ Learning App (DuoLingo) $60,000-$225,000 900h
⭐ Video Streaming App $80,000-$300,000 1,600h
⭐ Restaurant App $40,000-$150,000 900h
⭐ Community App $18,000-$150,000 900h
⭐ Shopify App $18,000-$150,000 900h
⭐ Dating App $50,000-$350,000 1,400h
⭐ Food Delivery App $40,000-$150,000 900h
⭐ Hybrid App $40,000-$200,000 1,200h
⭐ Healthcare App $55,000-$300,000 1,200h
⭐ Typical App $40,000-$300,000 1,200h

Compare average cost of building a mobile app by region

A high price does not always translate into a high-quality product. It just displays the differences in programmers’ salaries between nations, yet the cost is vastly different. 

So how much does it cost to get an app made in detail? For instance, The United States charges $120-150 per hour for the most expensive app development process, but India charges $20–30 per hour for the same service. It is important to realize that the hourly rate will vary depending by region and following factors:

  • the programming language used to develop the application (Swift, Java, Kotlin, PHP, JavaScript, Golang)
  • the difficulty of the project, the specialists involved (programmers, testers, scrum master, business analyst, project manager)
  • the qualifications (senior, middle, or junior).

The more information you have, the more equipped you will be to evaluate the proposal. You can get a preliminary design for an application that satisfies your needs with the aid of these key application cost factors.

Successful case studies of using App Development Cost

Below you will find the 5 examples of applications together with their costs and length of app development. 

Example #1: Tinder

One of the most well-liked dating apps is Tinder.

It raised $485,000 in seed money the year it debuted on the market, in 2012. Users find Tinder’s functionality to be quite straightforward. Simply using the swipe right or left to like or dislike someone is all there is to it.

The application generates a match if the person you liked reciprocated. A similar application might cost as much as $70,000 and take 1,000 hours to complete.

Calculating the price of a dating app like Tinder involves considering features like permission, GPS location, settings, user profiles, matching capabilities, push alerts, communication, and third-party integration.

Successful case studies of using App Development Cost

Example #2: Ikea

Ikea is a brand-based application created with Augmented Reality. The photographs in their catalogs of furniture are largely 3D models.

These programs raise the price yet add many functionalities due to the different additional features and integrations, as well as security issues.

Such an application can cost up to $45,000 and take up to 1,000 hours to complete.

The mobile app design includes the following features: 3D product visualization, compliance with social media sharing, 360-degree product view, real-time dashboard and analytics, and CRM integration.

Successful case studies of using App Development Cost

Example #3: Uber

Uber is a successful example of a ride-hailing app. However, an app like Uber has three applications: two mobile applications for passengers and drivers, and one web site for the admin panel.

As a result, the app development budget should account for three distinct applications. Such an application can cost up to $50,000 and take up to 1,200 hours to develop.

Payment integration, geolocation, routing and advanced route optimization, SMS and push notifications integration, and other features are among the app’s features.

Successful case studies of using App Development Cost

Example #4: TikTok

TikTok is a popular video-sharing social media app. The cost of producing an app like TikTok can be affected by the number of features and functionality it provides.

The app includes features such as online messaging, video calls, multi-language support, image and video sharing, user connection, and much more. Such an application can cost up to $70,000 and take up to 1,200 hours to develop.

Successful case studies of using App Development Cost

Example #5: Airbnb

Airbnb is a successful marketplace app. A marketplace is typically the combination of an on-demand software and an e-commerce store. As a result, the cost of developing a mobile app will be higher.

It will include advanced features such as: searching for available living units and last-minute bookings, saving a list of favorite homes and places, trip planning and recommendation system, advanced booking workflow including date, check-in time, additional information, chat in-app, and more. Such an application can cost up to $75,000 and take up to 1,000 hours to complete.

Now that you know how much it costs to develop apps like well-known startups, it’s time to investigate the factors that influence app costs.

Successful case studies of using App Development Cost

11 factors that affect cost of developing an app

You can’t anticipate your software development business to provide you an upfront estimate of the development costs when you start working on an app. You must first grasp how to construct an app and select a coding platform before you can begin to examine the target market and company goals. The application’s buttons, screens, and other components give it a unique, interesting, and practical feel, but each more component increases the project’s overall cost to build an app. 

Therefore, it is crucial to create a prototype in advance and consider every last aspect of functionality. The following elements that affect the cost of developing an app are influenced by this functionality.

Project type

The most important aspect that affects development costs can be the nature of your projects, such as CRM, marketplace, LMS, and EHR, among others. Any vendor can estimate your project roughly based on the project type information.

Complexity of features and functionality

The less time you need to design an application, the smaller and simpler it is . When it comes to application development timing, you must consider the scope of the impending task because simple app development cost will be totally different with the cost of a complex app 

How many features will the product include? What number of panels, buttons, and functions will it have? How sophisticated will the business logic of the application be? The complexity level of the app is determined by the features and integrations you select, as well as how you have an app produced.

Simple apps

Simple apps are designed with no extra features. You will have the necessary functionality, low-tech screens, and UI solutions.

Mid-level apps

Mid-level apps have more complex features. API connectors, more panels, bespoke UI, and features like real-time messaging are all available.

Complex apps

Complex apps are those that have multiple purposes. Real-time synchronization, chatbots, media processing, UI animation, and more advanced and complex capabilities are available.

App Design

Unique user interface design creation is a difficult task that adds extra app developer fees to your project. The ins and outs of application design are numerous. But it starts with the user interface, or how the application will seem to the viewer. Following the development of mockups that provide a visual representation of the solution, an application is designed. Different design approaches are needed for various applications.

Firstly, the design will be determined by your objectives:

  • Engagement
  • Sales
  • Information

Furthermore, the type of application you are producing will also affect how much it costs to develop an app.

  • Basic app
  • Authentication
  • Social networking
  • On-demand
  • E-commerce
  • Marketplace
  • IoTВ

The less expensive option advises creating screens from basic elements and OS-supplied components. Another deciding element is the quantity of screens.

Platform of the app

We then move on to the platform after determining how much it costs to construct the app by taking complexity and design into account. You need to decide between two kind of platform for an app: 

Option 1. Develop Hybrid or Cross-Platform App

In this context, the term “Hybrid” denotes that the program will either run on Android or iOS devices. Three elements should be taken into account before settling on one platform:

  • Market Segmentation 
  • Device Fragmentation
  • Prevalence

The market you initially intend to target will determine all of these.

Understanding the market will help you determine the cost of developing an iOS application. Where iOS is more common than Android has to be known. Although the process of creating apps for the two platforms differs, the price is the same.

Cross-platform programs can exploit the platform-specific capabilities while also operating easily and smoothly. In doing so, it improves the user experience and lowers the cost response to the question.

Option 2. Develop a Native App

A native program, as opposed to a hybrid app, only functions on Android or iOS.

Thus, you’ll need to employ 2 distinct development teams if you want to create an app using native frameworks for both Android and iOS. two, one to develop an iOS version and the other an Android version.

Since you would need to hire different employees for various platforms, there is no real cost difference between developing apps for iOS and Android. However, the cost will undoubtedly increase.

The cost is the same for both, notwithstanding the differences in the technologies, SDK, databases, frameworks, and quality assessment systems.

Backend Infrastructure

Backend in the context of developing mobile applications is typically an OS that offers developers APIs to facilitate data exchange between an app and a database. It has analytics so you can monitor user activity and evaluate how well your consumer app is doing. “How much does it cost to build an app” varies depending on the number of parameters you plan to track and how thorough and precise the tracking will be.

Location and structure of software development team

As was already noted, a significant factor affecting the final pricing of the product is the location and organizational structure of your app development team. The members of the development team are listed below:

Enterprise Analyst

Before moving forward with development costs if you deal with an outsourcing company, Enterprise Analyst is a crucial phase to discover tech and business requirements.

A Business Analyst is a person responsible for the following:

  • Collecting demands
  • Recognizing business and technological issues
  • Evaluating rivals
  • Setting the project’s value
  • Specifying a project in writing

This is merely a framework for the planning stage. Planning ahead thoroughly is essential to preventing costly scope adjustments and misunderstandings throughout the development process. In other words, Enterprise Analyst’ work affects how much it costs to design an app.

UI/UX designer

Users today place a premium on beautiful design. Without a skilled designer who can provide UI/UX design services, it is virtually impossible to create a great product. Among the duties of the designer are:

  • Study of related applications
  • evaluation of user preferences and problems
  • Wireframe creation
  • Ultimate design creation

Therefore, you should account for the rates of UI/UX designers in the cost breakdown of the app.

Mobile app developer

You will require one to several iOS and/or Android developers, depending on the platforms you plan to release the app on. Their primary responsibility is to develop and distribute the application while taking into account every technical and commercial quirk mentioned in the specification.

QA engineer

Engineers in charge of quality assurance run regression, load, smoke, and other test types to determine the stability of the application. In addition, they examine the UI and other parts of the program to make sure they adhere to the standard.

Project Manager

Project managers oversee the work of the entire team, ensuring that the final product is completed on schedule and in accordance with all specifications. Therefore, cost of developing an app is significantly influenced by the management strategy used.

As a result, in order to assemble the ideal development team at a reasonable cost, carefully analyze the prerequisites and determine the team size, select the team structure that best suits your project — whether specialists, generalists, or a hybrid team composition — and ensure you have covered all of the necessary software development team roles. Set up project management software to speed up everyday operations and provide more transparency of project processes, as well as to develop productive communication once the primary tasks have been covered.

Maintenance and additional expenses

How much it costs to maintain an app is one of the final factors to think about. An annual maintenance budget of 15% to 20% of the initial app development cost is customary. Bug fixes, new features, getting ready for new OS versions, and other maintenance charges are typical. It also depends on how sophisticated they are and how many features you want to add each year.

Even if you have no plans to scale the program up or add new features, maintenance is a necessary service. With time and as your software becomes more complex, these charges will increase.

The following is a list of maintenance tasks:

  • fixing bugs constantly
  • upgrading the performance and stability
  • optimized code
  • Including the newest OS versions in the support
  • the creation of new features
  • updating third-party services to the most recent versions

Therefore, after the product is ready, your collaboration with your tech partner or development team doesn’t end. Each software development business has its own policies for post-release support, and it is a constant process.

Hidden app manufacturing cost you need to consider

The following expenses are added to the total to determine developing an app cost

  • Functional charges as integration fees from outside parties. Examples include geolocation, SMS or push notifications, and payment gateways.
  • Administrative or management fees. For instance, the pay for a content manager.
  • Expense of infrastructure. The server, CDN, and integration fees for Redis, for example.
  • Support obligations Additional charges for application updates, bug fixes, or future upgrades.

Boost Your Business With Custom Mobile App Development

Outsource or In-house team to build an app: How to choose?

The app development budget is important, but it’s not the only factor to consider while designing a mobile application. You may be considering hiring someone to create an app if you don’t already have a team to get the job done. So, the decision between in-house development and outsourcing is raised.

It’s difficult to decide whether to develop apps internally or externally. It makes sense that you would want the best experts in charge of creating your future mobile app because you want it to be the best it can be.

The least risky option appears to be an in-house development team, but outsourcing app development can be very advantageous financially and in terms of time savings. There are benefits and drawbacks to both strategies. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, however, as with everything in life.

The advantage of in-house development is physical proximity to the development team, which facilitates quicker and easier collaboration. In any case, many IT businesses require their staff to work remotely. Although it may appear difficult, communication with your employees located abroad is not impossible. If your remote crew is well-trained and fluent in English, there won’t be much of a difference.

When looking for senior developers, the conventional hiring process takes much longer. Even if not, it won’t take two weeks to look for, interview, onboard, and train the ideal candidates. When you outsource, it takes only a few weeks, as opposed to months, to find the right specialists. Foreign developers are able to perform significantly better than local ones due to their higher level of expertise and affordable app development pricing

It takes time and effort to choose the correct tech vendor. These are the basic steps:

  • Examine tech suppliers.
  • Find a business that charges reasonably, is the right size, and specializes.
  • Look through their list of published apps.
  • Obtain opinions.

Outsource or In-house team to build an app: How to choose?

Summary

As a result, before beginning an app development project, app brands and developers need to know the cost of developing an app. Again, based on prior experience, app development is a multi-step process that necessitates careful planning and a reasonable timeframe.

Companies must first consider the complexity of the app, the location of the development team, and the platforms when estimating the cost of producing a future app. While a straightforward cost would be good, the reality is that the app manufacturing cost can vary significantly depending on a variety of factors.

>> Learn more: Outsourcing Software Development

Bùi Xuân Hiền
Bùi Xuân Hiền

I can solve your problem by a free 30-minute meeting with 15-year-experience expert.

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