Our clients often have a question: how much does it cost to develop an app? Mobile applications are very diverse. In some, there may be a few buttons. In others - a whole enterprise management system. Therefore, the cost of developing each app is different. It can range from $5,000 in Asia to $50,000 for a simple app if you hire a mobile app development partner in North America. The complex app development cost can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Yet, this does not mean that the issue of defining the cost of mobile app development cannot be sorted out. It just needs to be approached systematically. In this article, you will find out how much it costs to create a mobile application, depending on the location of the developers and the app's complexity.
Let's figure it out!
Mobile app development costs: an overview
As of 2023, almost everyone has a smartphone. There are roughly 6.65 billion smartphone users worldwide as of 2022. That's 86% of the global population. People listen to music on streaming services and chat on social networks. They play mobile games and order food using their smartphones.
For instance, there are over 3.5 million apps on the Google Play Store and approximately 2.2 million apps on the Apple App Store. Hence, both Apple's iOS and Google's Android make up 99% of the world's mobile operating system market.
Any statistics in this area allow us to conclude that digital technologies are becoming integral to human life. So, it is a good time to develop a mobile app and enter a rapidly growing market.
But before you plan to enter the lucrative app market, you should figure out what kind of product you want to get. Also, it is essential to define which budget you will need to spend on its development.
App development cost varies widely depending on many factors. These are the platforms (iOS, Android, or both), complexity, features, design, location of the development team, and others.
Let’s consider mobile app development in detail and discover the main factors that form its final cost.
App development cost statistics and trends
Our experts collected some statistics about app development costs.
- A VDC survey states that the development of the enterprise app will cost about $140,000.
- Research by Kinvey estimates the approximate app development price to be $270,000.
- Based on a survey by Clutch, the price of creating a mobile app differs from $10,000 to $49,999 and more.
As of 2023, here are some of the top mobile app development trends:
Cross-platform app development. This means developers use the same codebase to build apps for both iOS and Android. Thus, they can build apps that work seamlessly across multiple platforms. The main cross-platform tools and frameworks are Flutter, React Native, and Xamarin.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). AI and ML are being used in app development to improve user experience, personalization, and automation.
Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things is a system of interconnected computing devices. They can collect and transmit data over a wireless network without human intervention.
Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR). VR and AR technologies are gaining traction in app development. They are applied particularly for gaming, education, and retail apps.
Progressive web apps. The PWA projects allow users to access an app without the need to download it. This trend is growing in popularity because of its convenience and speed.
Wearable applications. The market for wearable devices is growing. So, wearable apps are becoming more popular, particularly for fitness tracking and healthcare app development.
Cloud-based applications. Cloud application development provides users with easier access to data. They allow for better scalability, security, and cost-effectiveness.
Cost of developing an app by type
The prices of apps differ very much according to their types.
Simple apps. These are simple apps with minimal features, such as contact forms, basic utility functionality, and push notifications. The cost of developing an app with simple features can range from $5,000 to $20,000.
Database-driven apps. These apps require a database to manage and store huge amounts of data. The cost of developing a database-driven app can vary from $20,000 to $50,000.
Social networking apps. These apps require complex features such as user profiles, messaging, and content sharing. The cost of building an app for social networking can be from $50,000 to $150,000.
Gaming apps. These apps require complex graphics and animation. Also, sometimes, they need integration with third-party tools. The price of making a gaming app can range from $50,000 to $250,000.
On-demand apps. These apps provide services on demand, such as vehicle renting or food delivery. On-demand apps require complex features. These are real-time tracking, payment gateway integration, and a rating and review system. The price of developing an on-demand app can range from $50,000 to $250,000.
Enterprise apps. These apps are designed for businesses. Apps can streamline their internal processes, such as inventory management or customer relationship management (CRM). The budget you need for enterprise app development can be from $50,000 to $500,000 or more.
There are various types of mobile apps. So, the cost to develop an app will vary accordingly.
Cost to create an app by region
In terms of location, the price of app development varies significantly across different regions. For example, app development costs in North America are generally the highest worldwide. The app development price in Eastern Europe is lower than in Western Europe. And Asia provides the lowest app development costs in the world.
How much does it cost to create an app in various countries? Let’s find out.
|The app development price by region|
|Region||The cost of a simple app (approximate)||The cost of a complex app (approximate)|
|North America (the highest cost worldwide)||$50,000 - $100,000||$500,000+|
|Western Europe||$30,000 to $80,000||$300,000|
|Eastern Europe||$10,000 to $30,000||$150,000|
|Asia||$5,000 - $20,000||$100,000|
App development cost per stage
The cost to develop an app can be broken down into different stages. Each of them can have a different cost. Here's a breakdown of the cost per stage:
Product discovery phase
The discovery stage typically involves researching and defining the project's demands and goals. Specialists identify potential risks and constraints. Also, they create a roadmap for the app creation process.
For small projects with limited features, the price for the discovery stage can range from $1,000 to $5,000. For large projects, such as a mobile app with advanced functionality and features, the cost for this stage can start from $15,000.
Here is a video with our sales manager, Taya, where she tells why this stage is needed for any business. We recommend conducting discovery sessions at the start of development, whether it is a small or large project.
Related reading: What Is Project Discovery Phase in Custom Software Development
This stage involves making a user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design for the app. This process includes wireframing, prototyping, and making the full design itself.
Wireframing is the sketching of prototypes of the future solution. The wireframes show the functionality and structure of the product without details. Prototypes look like real apps, not like sketches. They present the architecture and flows of the project.
After the wireframing and prototyping stages, the designers move to the complete UI/UX design services stage. In general, the cost for the design stage can vary from $5,000 to $20,000 or more.
Read also: Top UI/UX Trends to Follow in 2023
An MVP means the early version of the app with the most important features. This functionality allows you to test your concept and get feedback from early adopters. The cost of creating a minimum viable product (MVP) for a mobile app can change widely depending on the app’s complexity and its features.
For a simple MVP with basic features (login screen, user profile, single core feature), the cost can range from $15,000 to $30,000. For an MVP with advanced functionality and features (multiple integrations, custom backend development), the cost can go up to $60,000.
At Codica, we recommend using MVP development services to test your project and receive feedback from users. We made MVPs for multiple startups, and the clients were pleased with the obtained results. By the way, you can check our portfolio to see a lot of successful cases of our clients.
Recommended reading: MVP Development Cost: 5 Main Aspects for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
The development stage typically involves coding the app. Developers program the app based on the specifications and design determined in the earlier stages. How many resources will be required for this stage of development?
For example, if the client wants to build a mobile app like Snapchat, the cost of the development stage in Eastern Europe will be the following:
|Features||Time, hours||Cost, $50/hour|
|Payment (Stripe or PayPal)||64||$3,200|
|Authorization and security||24||$1,200|
|Main app page||32||$1,600|
|Video and audio calls||128||$6,400|
|Lenses or filters||160||$8,000|
|Uploading pictures and videos||48||$2,400|
Sure, if you decide to build an app with simple functionality, the total price will be lower.
The cost of automated testing will depend on the cost of the testing tools. It also depends on the time required to create, maintain and execute the automated tests.
In general, the cost of the testing stage can range from 20% to 50% of the total price of mobile app development. Still, the actual cost will depend on the special requirements of the app and the testing approach used. It's important to invest in testing. Thus, you can ensure the quality of the app and avoid issues and bugs that can harm the user experience.
In general, the cost for this stage can vary from $5,000 to $10,000 or more.
The application cannot live without support. The app needs updates, support for the server side, and cloud hosting. And be sure to refine and develop the app to meet the needs of the target group. So, the app will continue to be useful.
This stage involves ongoing maintenance, updates, and support for the app. The cost for this stage varies from $5,000 to $20,000 or more per year. The expenses depend on the level of support needed.
Factors that impact the app development cost
Application development is certainly an exciting but complex process. App development is influenced by several factors. Due to these factors, the final cost of developing an app varies greatly from project to project.
The cost of designing a mobile app can vary widely regarding the app’s complexity. It also depends on the level of design customization required and the specific design services needed. Some common design costs associated with mobile app development include the following:
UI/UX design. UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) design are critical components of any mobile app. The cost of UI/UX design can depend on the complexity of the app's features, the number of screens, and the level of customization.
Graphics and animations. Graphics and animations can help enhance the visual appeal of your app and make it more engaging for users. The cost of graphics and animations can differ according to the quality and complexity of the design work.
Prototyping and testing. Before launching your app, you will need to prototype it. Thus, you can test various design elements to ensure that they are functional and user-friendly. The cost of prototyping and testing can depend on the number of iterations required and the level of detail needed.
Design tools and software. To create and refine your app's design, you may need to invest in design tools and software such as Adobe Photoshop, Sketch, or Figma. The cost of these tools can be different depending on the specific software and licensing options picked.
It's crucial to work with a skilled and expert design team. Thus, you can be sure that your app's design is both aesthetically appealing and functional for your target audience.
You may also like: 15 Most Common Web Design Mistakes Startups Make
There are several additional factors that define how much does it cost to build an app. These are the complexity of the features, mobile app tech stack, and platform (iOS, Android, or both).
Here are some general estimates of the cost of mobile app feature development based on its complexity:
Basic features: Simple features such as login, user profiles, and push notifications can cost between $5,000 to $10,000.
Medium features: Features that require more development time. These are payment integration, location-based services, and social media integration. The cost to make an app with these functions can vary between $10,000 to $50,000.
Advanced features: Complex features require a high level of customization. These features are artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and others. So, the cost of creating an app with these features can be between $50,000 to $250,000 or more.
Apart from those features, there have always been aspects of the app that are challenging to develop and thus cost more. To name a few, they are:
- Backend development. Development of the "virtual part" of the application - the one that is located on the servers. This development means databases’ storing and linking together with all the services that work with the app. These services are CRM, acquiring, warehouse, and other systems necessary for doing business.
- Introduction of complex technologies. These may include VR/AR, artificial intelligence technologies, or integration with external devices.
- Creation of an administrative panel. Development of a part that allows managers on the client side to manage the content in the application. This part means changing banners on the main screen and arranging seasonal promotions. Also, this process includes changing headings and adding new images.
The final cost of mobile app development greatly depends on the type of app being created. iOS, Android, and cross-platform apps are the three main types of mobile apps based on the platform they are built for.
These are apps specifically built for Apple's iOS operating system. They run on iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Macs, and other devices. iOS apps are typically made using Apple's proprietary programming languages. These are Swift or Objective-C. Also, theApple's App Store is the only platform responsible for the distribution of these apps.
These are apps specifically built for Google's Android operating system. This type of app runs on many mobile devices from different manufacturers, except Apple’s ones. Typically, Android apps are made using Java or Kotlin programming languages. These apps are distributed through Google Play Store.
Both Android and iOS are considered native apps. A native app is a software app made with a specific programming language for a particular device.
These are apps built to work on various platforms. These are iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms. Cross-platform apps can be built with a variety of programming languages and tools, such as React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter. These apps can be distributed through various app stores or via web-based platforms.
Here are some estimates for the price of making diverse types of mobile apps.
|Native||Intended for the particular device platform, either Android or iOS||Fast, provides a responsive experience to users||from $25,000|
|Cross-platform||Suitable for both iOS and Android||Has a single codebase, reaches a wider audience, provides a consistent user experience||from $15,000|
Additional costs of app development
In addition to the direct costs of app development, there are also several additional costs that you may need to consider.
There are many mobile apps available in the app stores. Therefore, many good apps often get lost in the crowd. To stand out from the competition in the app stores, dedicate a significant amount of resources to launching and promoting the app.
The cost of marketing a mobile app can vary depending on several factors. These are the target audience, marketing channels, and overall marketing strategy. Here are some common marketing costs associated with mobile app development.
ASO (app store optimization). ASO means optimizing your app's description, title, and keywords to enhance visibility in the app stores. This can involve hiring a specialist or using tools to optimize your app's store presence.
Paid advertising. Paid advertising can include various channels such as search engines, social networks, and display ads. The cost can depend on the specific channel, targeting options, and the amount of traffic or impressions you want to generate.
Influencer marketing. This type of marketing means collaborating with influencers and bloggers on social networks. Thus, you can promote your app to their followers. The cost can depend on the popularity and reach of the influencer.
Content marketing. This marketing means making valuable content. These are blog posts, infographics, or videos, to attract and engage users. The cost can depend on the quality and quantity of the content produced.
Content marketing assists Codica in developing and growing steadily. In this video, our chief marketing officer at Codica, Maria, shares the best tips for effective digital marketing.
Community management. Community management involves managing social media channels and responding to user reviews. This can involve hiring a community manager or using tools to monitor and respond to user feedback.
Public relations (PR). PR involves reaching out to media outlets to secure coverage for your app. This can involve hiring a PR agency or specialist to manage media relations.
Overall, the cost of marketing depends on the specific channels and strategies used. Consider your target group, budget, and overall marketing aims when choosing your marketing strategy.
Related reading: Top 11 Effective Partner Engagement Strategies for Business Owners
App maintenance cost
App maintenance and updates are important to provide a satisfying user experience and ensure that users continue to use your app. You may use app maintenance services from a developer company or have an in-house support system. Anyway, you must consider these costs.
The price of mobile app maintenance can differ depending on the frequency of updates and the specific maintenance activities required. Some common maintenance activities that may require additional costs include the following:
Bug fixing. As people interact with your app, they may encounter bugs or issues that require fixing. The cost of bug fixing can depend on the severity of the issue. The price also includes the time required to fix bugs and the expertise of the development team.
Updates and feature enhancements. To keep your app up-to-date and relevant, you may need to add new features or update existing features. The cost of updates and feature enhancements can depend on the complexity of the changes and the time required to implement them.
Security and performance updates. As new security threats emerge, you may need to implement security updates or performance optimizations. Thus, you will ensure that your app continues to function smoothly and securely. The cost of security and performance updates can depend on the specific measures required and the expertise of the development team.
Hosting and server maintenance. If your app relies on server-side components, you may need to pay for hosting and server maintenance. This way, you will ensure that your app remains accessible and reliable. The cost of hosting and server maintenance can depend on the size and complexity of your app. Also, the price is affected by the specific hosting and server requirements.
Recommended reading: How to Choose Web Hosting for Your New Product
App development costs by the team type
When it comes to mobile app development by professionals, you have several options to choose from. It is vital to pick the best development approach so that your requirements are met in the best possible way.
Moreover, different approaches to development have their pluses and minuses. Selecting the best type of development can reduce mobile app development costs and improve its efficiency.
Let’s consider the main development ways more thoroughly.
Hiring an app development company
An experienced software development company will implement your mobile app in the best way. A professional team knows how to make your site unique and effective.
The exact mobile app development cost through a software development company is quite high. Hiring an experienced app development team will cost you in the $150 to $250 range. The exact rate varies with the complexity of your project and the experience of the app developers. This means that if you need an app that can be developed in 400 hours, you can expect your app development budget to be between $80,000 and $95,000.
- Expert skills. Such companies offer high-quality services and work with proven professionals. They also keep abreast of the latest developments in engineering and new technologies. So, they keep informed of all innovations.
- Full control over scope and budget. Agencies give you the same flexibility and control over a project as freelancers. But at the same time, you get specialists (from UI/UX designers to developers and marketers) with proven skills.
- Work continuity. Your own employees take annual leave. Freelancers can get sick. But when you interact with an agency, they take care to ensure that their specialists are replaced if necessary. When you turn to the company, you don't have to care about software and project management. The company itself will provide its specialists with the necessary tools.
- Investment is higher. Hiring highly qualified experts is expensive. The total cost of working with these agencies may be higher than, for example, working with freelancers. But in return, you get high quality and an app that fully meets your expectations.
- Certain tech expertise. The software development company can offer you not the modern stack but what they use and have experience with. So, you should choose a team that can provide you with an objective assessment of whether they can make your app or not.
Building an in-house team
Quality applications require the involvement of various specialists. This usually requires a large team, but is it advisable to assemble one? Having your own development team will give you maximum transparency and great communication with the team. However, hiring and supporting professional developers in your company is significantly more expensive than hiring a local software development agency. A full-stack developer charges around $98,000 per year. So, you should decide according to your short and long-term plans.
- General vision. The main benefit of internal teams is that their employees have a good understanding of your business. They feel responsible for the outcome of the project.
- Face-to-face communication. Direct interaction and the ability to quickly assemble your team. This helps to avoid misunderstandings and effectively build work. However, this benefit only applies if your team works in the same office.
- High price. Gathering an entire team of in-house experts is by far the most costly way of development. In addition to the salary you have to pay every month, there are expenses for rent, taxes, software, equipment, and training.
- A long search for specialists. With your own team, you are responsible for hiring the best people for your project. But this option requires much time, expenses, and significant effort.
- A small pool of professionals. With global competition in the IT market, the demand for experienced professionals is also growing. Therefore, they are difficult to find and, if successful, expensive to hire.
Working with freelancers
Another mobile app development way is partnering with freelancers. You can look for them on many online platforms. But is it worth it?
The cost of hiring a freelancer depends on the platform you use. Generally, you can hire them on an hourly or contract basis.
It is highly recommended that you fully discuss your requirements with a freelance app developer. You should hire them on a contract basis to control the cost of developing the application. Websites like Fiverr, Upwork, and PeoplePerHour are some of the many freelance platforms you can use to find the best freelancer.
- Moderate cost. By hiring freelancers, you can save up to 30-50% of your budget.
- Flexibility. Hiring a specialist, in this case, usually happens quickly. You determine your expectations and budget and view available profiles on freelance exchanges. And if you find the employee unsuitable, you can end the cooperation at any time.
- Control. Using modern project management communication platforms, you can easily track the progress of work and influence the execution of the project at every stage.
- Lack of organization. Often, freelancers have diverse skills. However, they won't be able to handle everything on their own. Thus, you should take responsibility for some management decisions and communication processes.
- Unpredictable quality of work. Be prepared that hiring freelancers is often a bit of a gamble. You will not be able to control the progress of their work. So, if they disappear and stop answering calls, you will lose time, money, and resources.
Tips to reduce app development cost
Shh...These are some tips to cut down on app development costs!
Option 1. Try a boxed solution
Constructors allow you to create typical mobile apps with a minimum of functions. They help to test hypotheses on the launch of a mobile product. They check whether users need it and whether there will be a demand for it.
But out-of-the-box products are non-adaptive. If you see that users are interested in the product, you will not have the opportunity to scale and develop the project. The surest way to keep the audience is to close the "box" and develop the app from scratch.
Another reason to move away from a boxed solution is rights. They will not belong to you because you are not buying the product itself. You buy a subscription to the constructor program.
Option 2. Develop a cross-platform application
If you want to make a more flexible product, try developing a cross-platform app. Applications written on it work on both Android and iOS.
One code for two platforms allows you to make an application cheaper than a native one instantly. But in the long term, the support and development of such apps are more expensive than native ones.
Option 3: Start by developing basic functionality (MVP)
This option is great for any project. These are acceptable investments at the first stage of work and the opportunity to make a profit after the first months of development and flexible scaling of your product.
You may also like: Minimum Viable Product Design: How to Build a Successful MVP
Examples of app development costs
Below are some of the more popular examples of app development costs based on their features and complexity.
Uber is one of the most successful and popular taxi apps in many countries. It has three different applications. Two mobile consumer apps are for Uber’s passengers and drivers. And a web app is available for use as an admin panel.
The development process of an app like Uber can take anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 hours. Let's break down the costs of developing an Uber app in terms of its core features:
- Geolocation - $2000.
- Payment integration with major payment channels - $2,500.
- Push notifications – $2,500 to $3,500.
- User profile management – $2,500 to $3,500.
- Travel schedule - $6,000.
- Server part for storing user data and travel history - from $ 7,000 to $ 8,000.
- Quality assurance - $12,000 to $15,000.
- Library integration and additional features - $15,000 to $20,000.
So the average cost to develop an app like Uber in Eastern Europe is between $50,000 and $65,000.
It is a well-known dating app. In just three rounds, it raised $50 million. Tinder's quick and easy operation has made it the leading dating app industry. All users need to do is swipe right or left to like or dislike people. Let’s discover the average cost of app development like Tinder.
Below is the approximate cost of developing the Tinder app:
- Push notifications to inform app users when a message or match has been received - $3,500.
- User profile management to store user data - $3,000.
- Geolocation - $2000.
- Feature mapping with swipe left and right - $3,000 to $5,000.
- Third-party integration - $2,000 to $3,000.
- UI/UX designer and quality control team - from 10,000 to 15,000 dollars.
- Additional features - from 4000 to 5000 dollars.
So, the total cost to develop an app like Tinder is between $35,000 and $40,000.
Our expertise in mobile app development
At Codica, we are proud of our experience and professionalism accumulated over all eight years. We provide quality mobile app development services. They enable clients to enhance their businesses.
You can turn to us with diverse requests, and you will receive quality results:
- Mobile consulting,
- Mobile app prototyping,
- Mobile app design,
- MVP app development,
- Mobile app marketplace development,
- Mobile app testing (QA),
- Maintenance and support.
Our expertise is proven by our clients. For example, not long ago, we worked on an efficient marketplace for boats at the request of a client from Australia. We optimized the solution for both mobile and website users and redesigned the existing platform to look up-to-date. Also, our experts maintained various integrations with third-party providers and systems.
Below you can see the feedback from our client. Here, Celso Prado talks about the outcomes they received. Thanks to our work, the lead generation performance of this marketplace solution increased by 480%!
Conclusion: build the app and produce great results
As you can see, defining the price of developing mobile applications is not an easy task. However, the above factors should help you make a more precise estimate. It will enable you to calculate an actual budget for your project. Let's summarize:
- For your application to be in demand and bring you income, you should meet the needs of your audience.
- Before choosing one of the development teams, make a comparison of prices. Also, check the portfolio of companies you have picked.
- Discuss with the team all the details of the project. Insist on creating a prototype of the application. Decide on the design and functionality of the mobile app. You must clearly understand what you need and what you don't. Then the work cost can be significantly reduced if you define some features as excessive.
- And only after discussing all the issues, sign the contract.
If you have any doubts about estimating the cost of a mobile app project, feel free to contact us, and we will help you.