mobile app development

How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App in 2023: A Complete Guide on Pricing

Planning a budget for the development of an app can save you time, effort, and money.

app development cost

The mobile app development industry is growing like never before. Whether to order your next meal or to book a ticket for a trip, there is at least one app for everything you need. As per a Statista report, by the third quarter of 2022, there were around 3.5 million apps on the Google Play Store and 1.6 million apps on the Apple App Store, rewarding both app stores with the largest and the second largest app store titles respectively. This data alone is enough to justify how mobile apps are practically transforming the world, as Nikola Tesla once predicted, almost a century ago, when he was called a fool.

As a result of this rise in mobile app usage, top custom software development companies that can build apps are flourishing. This further opens a gateway for a wide range of operations that fall under the umbrella of the app development process and its most significant aspect is the cost to develop an app.

It’s good to have a roundup of the requirements that affect the mobile app development cost. Who knows, you may benefit from this knowledge when you are up for hiring top mobile app development companies.

This app development cost breakdown guide is useful for all levels of expertise. If you are an expert, it will polish your knowledge and if you are a beginner, you have hit the jackpot!

Cost to Make an App

Cost to Make an App:

Let’s talk development!

The average cost of developing an app is one considerable factor for everyone looking to get an app developed. Right from curating the blueprint to putting money into on adding complex features, every penny matters.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App in 2023: A Complete Guide on Pricing

How much does it cost to develop an app?

The foundational factors of the mobile app development process include the following aspects:

  • Relatively low price and high quality
  • Affordable resources, and
  • The best team

Needless to say, the cost of  creating an app varies from company to company and on the basis of operating systems, as well. So, here are the factors that contribute to mobile app development.

  • Pre-development
  • UX/UI design
  • App development
  • App testing and deployment
  • Ongoing support and maintenance

Pre-release expenses of a mobile app

If you are still struggling to find answers to the question- how to calculate the development cost of an app? Keep reading!

Depending on what your project needs, the size of the team may vary. The team would include developers, designers (UI/UX), a quality assurance tester, and a delivery professional. The team will also include an API engineer for backend development. All of these working professionals add to the overall custom app development cost.

So, whenever you meet an app development company, ask about the team size, the experience of the professionals, and the technology they work on. This will give you a better understanding of the mobile app development cost.

 cost of mobile app development

Technical aspects of development cost

It is important to understand the technical facets to learn more about the cost to build an app. Here are the factors that contribute to the entire app development cost:

1. The complexity of the project

The technical complexity of a project again includes a number of features. Here is a brief on the most important ones.

a. Integration with third-party libraries

Apps are integrated with third-party libraries, frameworks, and services. Features, like implementing payment functionality, coding the real-time chat integration, and adding social media share buttons, are some of the functionalities that come under these categories.

Additionally, there are social media sharing capabilities that need to be integrated successfully into mobile application development and it asks for an added cost to development.

b. Backend and admin panel development

Backend development makes it possible to exchange data between the app and the database. And, from the admin panel, apps are managed for publishing the content, viewing the stats, and for other crucial information that requires a frequent update.

c. The use of hardware components

One thing that developers need to understand here is, users wish to have a mobile application and not a mobile website. The difference here lies in embedding the functionality in the application development.

Additionally, the latest smartphones have features like NFC, Bluetooth, GPS, and others. The hardware components may increase depending upon the type of device. The addition of software components would also add to the price of mobile app development in addition to the overall time as well as the effort.

2. Choice of the operating system

When it comes to choosing the operating systems, we have two different options. You can either go with Android or choose to develop an iOS application development strategy.

For iOS development, the app must remain compatible with at least the latest and the previous version of the iPhone. The best thing about iOS app development is that developers need to develop it only for one platform, i.e., iOS.

The world of Android looks much more diverse in this sense. Android is very much device-specific and the factors that influence the decision of every app developer include the following:

  • The size of the market share for each device
  • Devices specific for a given market &
  • Demands of the client.

More devices would mean more effort, more time to spend, and more cost on mobile app development. There are additional factors including screen sizes, resolutions, hardware specifications, and testing that adds the cost of making an app.

Because of the fragmentation in Android app development, the mobile app development cost estimate that runs on Android automatically increases as compared to iOS.

3. Design and animation

Custom user interfaces are complex to implement owing to which the cost of mobile app development becomes much higher. Custom development has specific interfaces depending upon the client’s choice and it ultimately pushes the custom app development cost further.

Here the role of UI/UX designers of the application matters the most. There are many renowned app development companies that would suggest the right path depending on the preference of the development. Additionally, custom animation also adds to the cost.

4. App testing

Every app needs tons of codes to work and it also increases the chances of bugs that may get along. Therefore, it’s crucial to get the app tested before rolling it along with the users. The testing becomes a significant part of the app development process because the later you find the bugs, the more it costs.

As per the Systems Sciences Institute at IBM,

Another research by the University of Cambridge states that the software bugs cause economic damage of $312 billion per year, which is an alarming figure for sure.

In 2017, another research by Tricentis based on 606 software bugs from 314 companies, found out states that software bugs caused economic damage of $1.7 trillion in losses and impacted almost the world’s half of the population.

Post-release Expenses of a mobile app

After covering the pre-mobile app development cost, let’s talk about post-release expenses.

It is not the actual app programming cost that you need to spend on; when the app development is done, the post-release expenses also add to the complete expenses. You need to spend on growing your product too. Just like any other business, your product needs promotion and that would add to the average cost to develop an app.

Moreover, the app development needs frequent updates, customer support, backend server maintenance, cost of hosting on the cloud, sometimes legal support, and application development, marketing, and promotional costs too.

Companies generally do not add the post-development and maintenance cost in the initial quote that is sent to the clients. So, keep in mind to have a backup of more cash even after your app development is done. You may have some additional expenses known as post-promotion costs.

Post Release Expenses of a Mobile App

1. App maintenance

Every mobile app needs maintenance and it comes with the cost of creating an app. The average cost to maintain software is nearly 15-20% of the original cost. The maintenance cost can be divided into different sections and here we are going to talk about all of them in brief.

Also read: How Much Does it Cost to Maintain an App

2. App monitoring

Monitoring your product is extremely important for its success. There are several tools that can help you monitor your product’s performance in the market. The fact that each app has its own audience makes it important to ask for a typical tool or plan to come into existence.

Here are some of the best app monitoring tools that will help you track the progress of your app:

  • New Relic APM
  • AppDynamics
  • Stackify Retrace
  • Scout
  • Riverbed SteelCentral

In case, you are not sure of using the tools impressively; it’s advised to consider the help of companies providing similar services.

3. Licenses

There are licensed technologies that many developers use while developing specific apps. Paying for this license is an additional cost that the company needs to pay. This gets added to the total cost of developing an app.

Then there is the license fee that the app developers need to pay the app stores to get the app listed on their portals. The license fee for the app stores may vary from platform to platform.

4. App updates

The apps that are released on app stores need updates from time to time, as it helps the app to stay away from bugs and it holds true for all stores. These version updates do add extra cost that is added in the post-expenses of app development.

Subsequent updates are important as it adds more features. A release to a version may generally take around one hour for a developer to do the job and that adds significantly to the total cost of development.

5. App engagement and marketing

App engagement is another element that is important to draw more and more users to the application. The engagement elements include CPI(cost per install) as one of the most important aspects to perform the same in order to grow the audience.

Engaging the users in a new product is more of performing the additional marketing tasks that again require a marketer to spend huge chunks of money in the after the sales process.

Types of mobile apps

There are various kinds of apps available in the market, which can hugely alter the mobile app development cost. Depending on the DNA of the app, we can differentiate it into three categories:

  • Native: This software program is developed for a single platform or device. If the native app is developed for multiple platforms, it costs higher than the hybrid and web.
  • Hybrid: These are web applications in the native browser and usually cost low, but require high skills for development.
  • Web: This is a client-server computer program that runs in a web browser and includes webmail, online auction, and online retail sales. It cost the lowest due to its single code base.

Now going by the features and functionalities that can be packed in an app, there are eight types of apps that can be developed:

  • Basic app: It costs around $15,000 and takes about a month to develop. Some of the prominent basic apps include a calculator app, a Camera app, a Clock app, and more.
  • Data-driven app: It costs around $15,000 and might take a month or two to develop. Some of the prominent basic apps include calendar app, weather app, map app, and more.
  • Authentication app: It costs around $30,000 and takes more than two months to develop. Some of the prominent basic apps include McDonald’s Loyalty app, the Google Drive app, and more.
  • Social networking app: It costs around $22,000 to $115,000. A social networking app takes about three to four to develop. The time may vary up to eight months as well, depending upon the complexity of the app. Some of the prominent basic apps include Instagram app, Facebook app, LinkedIn app, and more.
  • E-Commerce app: It costs around $35,000 to $170,000 and takes between six months to a year to develop. Some of the prominent basic apps include Amazon app, eBay app, Alibaba app, and more.
  • On-demand app: It costs around $50,000 TO 60,000, depending upon the platform and takes between six to seven months to a year to develop. Some of the prominent basic apps include Uber app, UberEATS app, Postmates app, and more.
  • Marketplace app: It costs more than $115,000 and requires more than seven months to develop. Some of the prominent basic apps include TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and more.
  • IoT & Hardware app: It costs more than $30,000 and requires between three to five months to develop. Some of the prominent basic apps include Beacons, Amazon Dash Buttons, and more.

mobile app development cost

Hourly app development rates across the globe

Choosing the right mobile app development companies is a tough call. Especially when your budget is lesser than what is the trending mobile app development cost in your local market. However, you can explore app development cost breakdowns offered by companies from cheaper regions even if they are from abroad. For instance, app development companies in the Indian market are cheaper in terms of mobile app development costs compared to app development companies UK market.

Here is a basic outline of the cost of developing an app that developers across the world ask for:

  • The US and Canada app development companies - $50 to $250/hr
  • Australian app development companies - $50-$150/hr
  • Western Europe and the UK - $35 and $170/hr
  • Eastern Europe - $20 - $150/hr
  • Indian developers charge a cost between $10-$80/hr

The low cost to create an app makes in India makes it quite an attractive destination for mobile app development.

cost of different developers

Cost to Develop an App Depending Upon The App Complexity Level

As prescribed earlier, the cost of making an app majorly depends upon the complexity of the application and here is a brief on what this complexity means.

app development procedure generally takes 600 hours and the cost to develop an app under this category can reach up to $20,000.

1. Elementary Apps

Simple app development includes basic functionality. No major third-party integration and a simple UI/UX is all such app development includes. These are the basic kind of applications that do not need much time to develop. Talking about the timeframe, such an app development procedure generally takes 600 hours and the minimum app development cost stands to be of $20,000.

2. A bit complex Apps

The next is a bit complex apps that include customized UI/UX (depending upon the requirement), real-time chart, payment feature, integration with API, and more. The basic cost of developing an app starts from $50,000 and it generally takes 600-800 hours to application development.

3. High-tech apps

Higher complex apps have advanced functionality that includes custom animation, real-time synchronization, complex backend, and more. The time frame for building such an application is more than 800 hours and the costs of creating an app starts from $60,000 and can jump further.

App Development Cost

The mobile app development cost of a company vs. freelancers

Depending on the choice (company or freelancer), the cost to develop an app varies greatly. The mobile app industry is filled with developers, companies, and freelancers of every category. The years of their experience and the expertise they hold matter a lot. The team size, as stated above also adds to the additional mobile app development cost.

The considerable amount of cost to create an app would vary in the following manner as stated below:

  • Large app development companies cost – $450,000 to $1,500,000
  • Mid-cap app development companies cost – $150,000 to $450,000
  • Small enterprises cost – $27,000 to $150,000
  • Freelancers or small companies cost – $2000 to $25,000

How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App in 2023: A Complete Guide on Pricing

Mobile app development cost depending Upon The features

There can be many features that can be integrated into an app. More the features, the more time it will take to get integrated and overall, it will propel the overall costs of creating an app.

Below is the image that displays the time and mobile app development cost a particular feature consumes to get into an app.

Mobile App Development Cost

Mobile app development cost when starting from scratch vs. white label solution

In case your development company is developing an app from scratch, the cost to build an app will increase. Starting the work from scratch means piling things up right from the start.

It, of course, needs time, effort, and an extra cost. There is no such requirement of developing apps from scratch until you have such an app in mind that has not been developed yet. 

App development companies are now opting for a different solution, which is called ‘White Labeling.’ It is the practice of selling a product under the name of a company that has not actually developed it.

White-label solutions are now trending as companies add their tags to the apps developed by other companies. The cost to develop a white-label app can start from $6000 and go up to a higher amount depending on the features and type of app you are going for.

Mobile App Development Cost

Wrapping up- MobileAppDaily’s advice

From the above guide, you must have gotten an idea of the tentative app development cost that can be expected in the current mobile app market. So, to summarize the strategy to come up with an approximate cost- consider the app development companies worth your time, brainstorm and figure out the number of hours required for the development of your apps, and get an idea of all additional costs you might have to bear and consider post app development costs that you will invest in maintenance and marketing of the app. 

Remember, every app has its own functionalities which are always different from others because every app has its set audience. It’s advisable to invest time and effort before having a word with the development team, so that, you can explain the exact requirements for the app and also, so you can come up with a strategy to generate good ROIs.

While brainstorming with the potential development partner, apart from the functionalities of the app, do talk about the audience you would like to target. It will help the developers to add a USP (depending upon the specific genre of the app and the audience to be targeted). 

Your app needs to be an offering for the audience, which can only be possible when your developer is well aware of the type of product you wish to have.

Develop Your first app on a desirable budget

So, How to develop an app? and how much does it cost to create an app? It’s something that varies from product to product depending upon the elements that are included while developing the same. Although the entire cost may differ, basic mobile app development can range anything between $30,000 to $700,000, or you can create your own app for free using App builder.

Other than this the corporate budget may also vary and the basic cost of developing an app can reach anywhere between $250,000–$500,000. That’s merely a rough estimation of a basic project.

As stated above, the cost may differ depending on various factors along with the features of the product playing one of the most crucial roles. Based on the above data, it is advised to analyze your own elements to find out the cost of your mobile app development. Based on the data and research that you do for planning your app, the development cost can easily be estimated.

To summarize once before we wrap up this blog for good, some points to consider for developing your first app within a budget:

  • Know what you want;
  • Set a target audience;
  • Choose the right platform;
  • Hire a professional app development team;
  • Keep your app simple (you can always add more features later);
  • Stay involved in the process;

Hopefully, now you know how to figure out the tentative app development cost, so Good Luck with your app development!

Aparna <span>Growth Strategist</span>
Written By
Aparna Growth Strategist

Aparna is a growth specialist with handsful knowledge in business development. She values marketing as key a driver for sales, keeping up with the latest in the Mobile App industry. Her getting things done attitude makes her a magnet for the trickiest of tasks. In free times, which are few and far between, you can catch up with her at a game of Fussball.

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