App Development Cost (2023) : The Definitive Guide
Estimating the cost to make an app includes evaluation of factors like developers, UI/UX design, number and complexity of features, and the required mobile app building hours. The average app development cost ranges from $25,000 to $65,000 for a standard version. However, knowing the exact cost to make an app for your business requires you to analyze your business requirements/goals, project budget, and chosen app developers. For example, if you wanted to know how much does it cost to make an app for the FinTech industry, you would need to research that specific market and determine required resources to build a user-friendly app that can stand out. Only then can you estimate and manage the exact cost for your mobile app development project.
Why is researching the app market for your business necessary?
The global count of mobile app downloads (in Google Play store) is expected to be 114 billion by the end of 2022 and 143 billion by 2026. A report by Grand View Research indicates that the value of the mobile application market may reach $565.40 billion by 2030 compared to $206.73 billion in 2022, with a CAGR of 13.4% between 2022 and 2030.
Analyzing the mobile app market is the best way to understand and determine app development costs but what does this tell you about the mobile app development pricing? It reveals the growth opportunity of the app market and the competition you will face.
Therefore, information like download rates, kind of apps users are investing their time in, app categories that are making the most money, etc. will help you figure out the average app development costs for your project, while aiding in the creation of a strategic plan to estimate and manage the cost to your benefit.
How Much Does It Cost to Build an App?
Average app development cost varies largely depending on two major factors- the industry your app falls under and the country your app development agency is based in. Then, the factors like the app type, location, complexity, functionality, developers, features, and design influence the mobile app building cost.
You can take a quick look at the average app development cost in various countries before analyzing the factors that affect the cost.
Here’s a quick look at the app creation cost categorized by industry and country:
|Fintech App||$45,000 to $70,000||$40,000 to $60,000||$25,000 to $55,000||$20,000 to $50,000|
|Healthcare App||$40,000 to $80,000||$35,000 to $75,000||$25,000 to $65,000||$20,000 to $60,000|
|Social Media App||$35,000 to $60,000||$30,000 to $60,000||$20,000 to $50,000||$20,000 to $50,000|
|eLearning App||$75,000 to 90,000||$60,000 to $80,000||$25,000 to $60,000||$25,000 to $60,000|
|Ride sharing App||$45,000 to $70,000||$40,000 to $70,000||$25,000 to $60,000||$25,000 to $55,000|
|Food Delivery App||$35,000 to $65,000||$30,000 to $60,000||$20,000 to $50,000||$20,000 to $50,000|
|Tourism Apps||$40,000 to $55,000||$30,000 to $55,000||$20,000 to $45,000||$20,000 to $40,000|
|Mobile Games||$25,000 to $60,000||$25,000 to $50,000||$15,000 to $40,000||$15,000 to $40,000|
|Live Streaming App||$45,000 to $75,000||$40,000 to $75,000||$25,000 to $55,000||$20,000 to $50,000|
|eCommerce App||$45,000 to $70,000||$35,000 to $65,000||$20,000 to $55,000||$15,000 to $55,000|
|NFT Marketplace||$55,000 to $80,000||$45,500 to $80,000||$30,000 to $60,000||$20,000 to $50,000|
|Enterprise App||$60,000 to $150,000||$48,700 to $120,000||$40,000 to $80,000||$40,000 to $80,000|
While the chart offers a holistic view into the app development cost, there are multiple elements that go behind it.
Factors That Determine App Development Costs
The below-mentioned factors can increase or decrease your app development costs according to your design requirements, features, and development strategy.
- App Categories
- Types of Apps
- App Platforms: Android and iOS
- Development Team
- App Features
- App Design
- Development and Launch
- App Maintenance
You will need to consider each of these factors and market requirements to learn how much does it cost to make an app that provides value to users.
App Development Cost By App Category
Apps have multiple categories like educational, social media, entertainment, and lifestyle. Each of them has a different target audience and development requirements.
The most common basic applications are calculators, clocks, flashlights, notes, and camera applications. Such apps do not require an internet connection or backend development to function. These apps are usually in-built into every smartphone available on the market today. Thus, your app would have to provide something unique through these apps (for example, a multi-color flashlight) to generate revenue.
The development cost for basic apps ranges from $10,000 to $15,000.
The E-commerce applications require multiple features such as user registration, customer support, product catalogs, product descriptions, payment gateways, and a user-friendly design.
The cost to create an app for the e-commerce industry typically ranges between $45,000 to $80,000. The same app with advanced features and design can cost between $100,000 and $300,000.
Applications such as health tracking, maps, and weather solutions receive a large amount of data, process and evaluate it, and share it with users. Many data-driven apps personalize the data for users to improve their services. Almost every smartphone today provides these applications as byproducts.
The cost of developing a data-driven app ranges from $15,000 to $20,000.
On-demand Service Apps
On-demand services apps connect service providers with customers to help them offer their products/services. Examples of on-demand service apps are Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. These apps require multiple APIs and e-commerce features to function effectively. The cost to develop an on-demand service app like Uber or Lyft can cost between $60,000 to $85,000 for a standard version.
A good user interface, geolocation, multiple payment gateways, quick page load times, and Android+iOS-compatibility are essential in a food-delivery app like UberEats and Doordash. The development cost of a food-delivery app like DoorDash ranges from $40,000 and $55,000 for a standard version.
Social-networking apps handle millions of users, their personal information, and information exchange. Such operation requires a reliable backend infrastructure like the cloud.
These apps also require exceptional design, live chat/video, real-time notifications, and user profile security. The app making cost for a social-networking platform can cost between $40,000 and $65,000 for a standard version. You can expect the cost to increase to $100,000 and $300,000 for an advanced version.
Fintech apps can include mobile payments, consumer banking, trading, blockchain and cryptocurrency, loans, and insurance. These apps require a top-of-the-line security system due to the financial information they receive and store. These apps typically run on third-party integration for bank account linking, user registrations, and push notifications. Fintech app development costs range from 55,000 to 80,000 USD for a standard version and take up to 6 months to complete.
Streaming apps are now among the most popular apps in the world as they provide one-click access to thousands of movies, tv shows, and live events. According to Statista, Netflix had 18.63 million app downloads globally in 2022, while Disney+ had 15.16 million downloads. Live streaming apps like Twitch and YouTube live are also quickly becoming the mainstream mediums of online entertainment.
These apps require a tech stack like Content Distribution Network (CDN) or cloud computing for better performance and scalability. Developing streaming apps can cost between $60,000 to $85,000 for a standard version and takes about 7 to 8 months to complete.
Telemedicine apps provide a digital platform for patients, doctors, and medical institutions. Patients can store and share medical records, contact the doctor, and make an appointment through such apps. On the other hand, doctors can use the app to check patient data, confer with colleagues, and reschedule/accept patient appointments. Additionally, medical institutions can use the app to digitize everything they provide and make it easy for patients to get help.
These apps include electronic health records (EHR), prescription list view, user registrations, and profiles, doctor information, scheduling calendar feature, push notification, QR code scanning, notes, and a photo library. Telemedicine apps need great scalability and app security that requires technology like cloud computing.
Developing a telemedicine app costs between $50,000 and $80,000 for a standard version. A telemedicine app with advanced features and design may range from $150,000 to $250,000.
App Building Cost By Types of Apps
The app niche will determine the type of app you have to develop and the platforms you must use for better reach. The general app types are Native, Hybrid, Web Apps, and Cross-platform.
A native application is an app developed only for use on a single operating system (OS) like Android or iOS. The app will not work on iOS if its code is only compatible with Android. The cost to build an app will increase significantly if you have to develop native apps for both platforms. The pro is that native apps have high performance, user-friendly functionality, and better security. Examples of native apps are WhatsApp, Spotify, and SoundCloud.
The cost to develop a native app (Android & iOS) can be between $55,000 and $100,000 or can vary depending on the project requirements.
Hybrid apps are a combination of native and web apps that can function on multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows. Hybrid apps come with multi-platform compatibility, faster development, easy bug fixes/updates, and lower development costs. However, these apps can have poor performance/functionality and user experience compared to native apps.
The average cost to develop an app like this ranges from $35,000 to $55,000 based on design, features, and required scalability.
A web app is a program stored on the internet that runs on a web browser instead of operating systems like Android and iOS. The internet is required for these apps to work on any platform like iOS and Android. Examples of web apps are Skype, Zoom, and Gmail.
Cross-platform compatibility, easy customization, and lower development costs are benefits of web apps. The cons are poor data security, performance, and internet dependency.
The cost to develop a standard web app ranges from $15,000 to $60,000.
Cross-platform mobile apps can function on multiple platforms like Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS. The common factor between hybrid and cross-platform apps is that they need a single reusable code and database, which leads to lower development costs and simplified work for developers. The difference between hybrid and cross-platform apps is that cross-platform apps have a superior user interface that is similar to native apps.
Developers can only use web-based technologies and languages to develop hybrid apps, but they can also use on-web technologies and tools to develop cross-platform apps. Examples of cross-platform apps are Chrome, VLC media player, and Adobe Reader.
Cross-platform functionality, code reusability, cost-effective development, faster development and launch, and an increasing user base are some benefits of cross-platform apps. Disadvantages are poor performance and customization, complex code design, and unreliable security.
The cost to develop a cross-platform app ranges from $40,000 to $60,000 for a standard version.
Progressive Web Apps
Progressive web apps are developed using web technologies but made to look and function like native mobile applications. These apps have a quick loading time, better performance, offline usability, mobile app-like features, and lower development costs. The cons of PWA apps are fewer functionalities in iOS devices, incompatibility with legacy system devices, fast battery drainage, and limited hardware accessibility. Examples of PWA apps are Starbucks, Telegram, and AliExpress.
Developing a progressive web app can cost between $10,000 and $25,000 for a standard version.
App Creation Cost For Platforms: Android and iOS
Android and iOS are the leading operating systems in the smartphone industry. A survey by Statista reports that the global number of smartphone users today is more than 6 billion. The primary reason behind such growth is Android users. 70.96% of the mobile operating system market belongs to Android. On the other hand, iOS apps tend to give higher revenue to the entrepreneurs in terms of in-app payments and has a massive user base in geographies like USA, UK, and UAE.
Choosing Android, iOS, or both will significantly impact the app building cost. Android app development will require tools like Java and Kotlin, and iOS app development will need Objective C or Swift.
You can refer to the table below to understand the development cost for a standard app based on platform and type.
Mobile App Development Cost Breakdown based on Platform
|Native Apps||$55,000 and $100,000||$60,000 to $120,000|
|Hybrid Apps||$40,000 to $60,000|
|Cross-platform Apps||$40,000 to $60,000|
|Progressive Web Apps||$15,000 and $30,000|
Creating an iOS/Android or cross-platform app will include paid and free tools, different development durations, and Android and iOS developers. All of these factors will add to the final development cost.
App Making Cost Based on Development Team You Hire
Hiring or creating a development team is the most influencing factor in determining the app development cost depending on how you approach it. You may get an in-house team, freelancers, or outsource to onshore, nearshore, or offshore developers. It is best to figure out the kind of experts your development team will need to simplify this process.
The Ideal App Development Team
- Scrum Master
- Quality Assurance Engineer
- Android Developers
- iOS Developers
- Business and Market Analyst
- UI/UX Designers
- Project Manager
- Product Owner
- Backend Developers
Every one of these team members will cost you more or less depending on the method you choose to hire them. Here you can take a look at the average cost to develop an app based on how your hire the development team:
Standard App Making Cost Based on Team
|Inhouse||$120,000 to $200,000 PA|
|Freelancers||$50,000 to $90,000|
|Onshore||$80,000 to $150,000|
|Nearshore||$72,000 to $120,000|
|Offshore||$45,000 to $80,000|
Take a look at the cost estimation based on the location of the developer:
App Developers Cost per Hour
|Country||Junior Developers||Senior Developers|
|USA||$50 to $65||$80 to $100|
|UK||$35 to $40||$60 to $80|
|Ukraine||$20 to $25||$40 to $50|
|Romania||$15 to $20||$30 to $50|
|India||$15 to $20||$40 to $50|
The location of app developers is another aspect that may significantly influence the cost to develop an app. Outsourcing to offshore developers from Ukraine or India is the best way to acquire top-tier app development solutions at affordable rates.
Cost Breakdown Based on App Features
The cost to create an app increases with every new feature you include in your app. You will have to plan your budget for essential and advanced features (if any) from the beginning. For example, features like geolocation, add address, restaurant listing, and place an order are essential features in a food delivery app. The advanced features would be track driver, chat/call driver, call the restaurant, and order for others.
The type of features has a similar impact on the cost as the numbers. You can use many different basic and advanced versions of the same feature. For example, a basic stream live video feature would stream a live video as it is, while its advanced version would have elements like filters, effects, and stickers to improve the live-streaming experience. Choosing between such types of features can determine the development cost.
Such an example is given below. Here is a quick mobile app development cost breakdown based on features:
App Making Cost Based on Features
Cost of Live Streaming App
|Live Streaming App||Features||Cost|
|User Registration||$2500 to $3000|
|Live Streaming||$4000 to $6000|
|Search||$3000 to $4000|
|Live Chat/Comment||$4000 to $5000|
|Filter & Effects||$7500 to $10,000|
|Private Chats||$7000 to $8500|
|Screen Sharing||$8000 to $15,000|
|Multilingual Search Filter||$10,000 to $15,000|
Cost of Ride-hailing App
|Ride Cost Estimation||$4500 to $6000|
|Ride Booking||$3000 to $4000|
|Call/Message Driver||$4500 to $5000|
|Push Notifications||$2000 to $4000|
|Cancel the Ride||$7000 to $8000|
|Split Fare||$7500 to $8000|
|Schedule for Later||$8500 to $10,000|
|Book for Others||$8000 to $12,000|
You can use this example to understand how much does it cost to develop an app for the industry your business or entrepreneurial venture falls in. Each app has its own set of essentially required features and based on the type of features you include in your app, app cost estimation becomes easier.
App design costs
Effortless app navigation and appealing design are vital elements in any mobile app. They determine whether the new user becomes a loyal customer or goes to your competitors. You must understand the difference between UI and UX to implement them effectively in your app.
The user interface design’s core app architecture includes standardized and platform-specific components that are easy to create and implement. Implementing these components will make the entire method dynamic and reduce data server development expenses.
You must design every color, font, icon, and functionality of your app according to the liking and preferred convenience of the target audience. This approach toward app design will ensure its success but significantly increase the development cost. You can refer to the table below to get an average estimation of the app design cost.
Mobile App Design Cost
|Basic App Design||$8000 to $12,000||$10,000 to $15,000||20 to 160 hours|
|Standard App Design||$18,000 to 22,000||$25,000 to $30,000||150 to 400 hours|
|Complex App Design||26,000 to $32,000||$36,000 to $42,000||500 to 1000 hours|
Determine your app design requirements to know the exact cost estimation for your app and be ready to spend a significant portion of your budget on the design to do it right.
App development costs for different phases
The development strategy determines the duration of development and the cost of developers you hire for the job. You have to be flexible with the development strategy to meet market and app requirements. The widely recommended approach is the Agile methodology as it is the best way to manage development and protect the budget.
Mobile app development phases:
- Research and Planning
- App Design
- App Maintenance.
Research and Planning: This stage involves thorough market research, prototype creation, and product discovery. Research and planning require extensive study of market reports, team meetings, and business analysts. You can expect to spend between $5000 and $7000 during this stage. It is usually due to the business analyst rates and access to market information.
App Design: This app development phase involves UI and UX creation, testing, and improvement. The duration of this stage depends on the designers, feedback, and market requirements.
Development: This is when Android, iOS, and backend developers develop your app. Adopting the Agile methodology can speed it up or slow down the process based on how the app features/design turns out. The methodology helps perfect your app from the beginning and accelerates the development process by leading it in the most productive direction.
The duration of this stage will determine the cost of the tech stack, developers, and designers.
Testing: The testing process can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 for a standard version. The more complex apps may increase the testing cost to ensure user-centric design and app functionality. Apple developer programs may save money with app testing tools like TestFlight. You will need to manage the cost of Android/iOS testers and QA engineers for as long as the process takes to ensure it meets all expectations.
Deployment: App deployment requires someone who has a deep understanding of Android and iOS app stores. The pre-deployment stage can include product launch campaigns and a creative ad message to promote through multiple social media platforms. You have to create a unique ad strategy to capture the target audience attention and secure a decent user base after deployment. It can cost $5,000 to $10,000 or more based on the reach you need for your ad message.
Launching an app on the Apple app store will require creating an Apple Developer Program account which costs 99 USD per year. Google play store app submission requires a one-time fee of $25 to create a Google play developer account. You can upload and submit as many apps as you want for free after that.
App Maintenance Costs
Your app requires regular maintenance that includes bug fixes, updates, and OS optimizations. It is essential to prevent app UI/UX errors that could lead to customer defections.
The cost to maintain the app can be 50% of the development cost for the first year after the deployment. Typically, an app can require a lot of bug/error fixes, new features, updates, and user feedback implementations in the first year. The app maintenance cost decreases by 15% to 20% after the first. For example, the maintenance cost will be around $30,000 a year for an app that costs $150,000 to develop.
Frequent app maintenance leads to better user experience, prevention of crashes/glitches, trendy UI/UX design, fewer or no app uninstallations, and fewer or no downtimes.
Types of App Maintenance
Different types of app maintenance will cost more or less depending on the condition and requirements of your app.
Emergency maintenance prevents unexpected downtimes, sudden crashes, and bugs. You can avoid spending too much on this maintenance by doing frequent testing during development and after deployment.
Adaptive maintenance is required to optimize your app for updated OS and make improvements. For example, if the app store has a new policy which requires every app to notify users every time it uses the device camera, you will need to add such a pop-up notification feature and test it. You can plan the cost for this app maintenance from the beginning.
Perfective maintenance is analyzing user feedback and needs and implementing them to improve the overall app functionality/experience through new/advanced features and UI/UX. This maintenance will cost a lot depending on how much you have to improve your app.
You can plan preventive maintenance and its cost from the beginning to identify bugs and coding errors in your app to avoid crashes and app downtimes. This maintenance also includes updates and app optimization.
Corrective maintenance involves solving the same problem as during emergency maintenance, except the solutions are not required urgently. It includes dealing with bugs, design issues and updates, and coding errors.
Preparing for all the types of maintenance your app needs will help you plan a secure budget for it from the early days of development.
Hidden Mobile App Development Costs That You Should Know
The app development process involves multiple tools and services that cost differently based on the app type.
Consider third-party integration fees like SMS notification with Twilio, push notification with One Signal, and geolocation with Google Maps API/Geocoding API in your app development costing.
Third-party integration tools can cost between $5000 and $10,000 or more based on your requirements.
Consider the cost of app administrative tools for content management, analytics, dashboard, access management, updates, and user management.
Content Distribution Networks
You will have to regularly pay the cost of the content distribution network you choose for your app for better performance. Content distribution networks improve app performance by accelerating personalized content delivery. Rackspace CDN, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud CDN, and Microsoft Azure are some top content delivery network providers.
Google Play Store and Apple App Store are highly competitive platforms with millions of apps. You will need a great marketing plan for your app every month in the first few years after launch. The cost for continued app marketing ranges from $6000 to $10,000 and may lead to $25,000 if you want to regularly keep your app on top of the app store search results.
Tips to Reduce App Development Cost
Most app startups have a tight or fixed budget to work with for the whole project. Ensuring the app meets user expectations with such a budget requires planning and multiple team meetings. It is the only way to manage the project within the budget or reduce the cost by customizing certain aspects of the app development process.
Prioritize App Features
Multiple and complex app features are what significantly increases the development cost. You can add features that your app could use but does not necessarily need. For example, an AI-based customer support feature email is not essential in the first few years after deployment, the app can work with a chat/call customer support feature in the beginning.
Knowing which features your app must have and does not need will help you save money during development. Extensive research of the target market and user needs should help determine features that serve your users and budget. Prioritizing an app does not necessarily mean adding only core features. You can also add advanced app features that provide value to the app target users.
Consider Cross-platform Development
Considering cross-platform app development will help you cut down your app building costs. It includes a single code that developers can reuse for multiple platforms. This saves your project from a lot of development hours and developer costs. Building a cross-platform app costs $40,000 to $60,000 and is lower in some cases, especially when compared to native apps (Costs between $55,000 and $100,000 for a standard version).
Hire an Offshore Development Team
Outsourcing app development to offshore developers from India will prevent excessive spending on app development. Developers from such countries provide similar top-notch solutions at affordable costs. You can hire an offshore development company for the whole project and let them manage the planning, research, development, design, testing, and deployment at much lower costs than in countries like the US and UK.
Prepare a Prototype
Creating a prototype will give a basic idea of how your app will look and function. You can also use it to present the app potential and gain new investors – something that will lead to a better development budget and provide more room to get creative. A prototype also helps identify and prevent many flaws in your development strategy that could lead to expensive results.
Start with an MVP
Developing an MVP app is widely recommended for mobile app startups. A minimum viable product is an affordable way to build a functional app that you can use to test the app on the user and gather feedback to improve the app step by step. You only need to add core features and basic design in the MVP version, which lowers development costs significantly. It also reveals the potential and weakness of your app in the market. You can use this information to add updates and improvements that are well-planned and directed towards success.
Conduct User Acceptance Testing
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a final step in the testing stage where the target users test the app to determine whether it provides any value to the users. An app is a solution to a problem, and UAT helps verify whether your app solves that problem for end users. This type of testing makes you aware of your app’s acceptance rate and provides valuable feedback that you can use to improve the app before deployment.
User Acceptance Testing prevents the chances of failure for your app caused by inadequate market research and development, which can only lead to more development hours and updates costing more money. It helps detect and fix app functionality issues, reveals an end-user perspective on the app, improves app design, and helps create user-centric applications.
How Ailoitte Estimates the App Development Cost
Most companies provide a cost estimate of mobile app development for free and so do we. An app development company like us (Ailoitte) has an easy-to-follow process to estimate the final cost to develop an app.
- Fill out our contact form to get started.
- Schedule an appointment with our relationship advisor.
- We will then examine the information in the form and ask questions about your company’s objectives and processes, current customer base, app development initial budget, and goals with the app.
- We assess the acquired preliminary product specifications and undertake basic market research to find a solution that meets your priorities and standards.
- Then our Solutions Architect reviews the market research findings and produces detailed recommendations for app setup, practical use cases, and implementation strategy.
- We will then conduct a meeting to provide feedback, discuss and determine strategies, and list all market and business requirements.
- We will also discuss essential/advanced app features and UI/UX design.
- Our team will then present a project bid that typically includes hours of labor, technology stack, and app design strategy for the initial and future launches.
- We will discuss a contract and engagement model to determine the best app solution for your business.
- Our team will give a cost estimate based on all your requests, goals, market research, and app requirements. We will quickly start building wireframes once you approve the project and costs.
Your initial app development budget will determine the direction you must choose for mobile app development. It will ensure that you spend every dollar on an element that adds real value to the app. Refer to this article to estimate the cost for app development projects with both tight and flexible budgets. You can also get a free estimate from us now to plan and manage your development budget.
We are a mobile app development company handling multiple app development projects for clients from all over the world and sectors. Our team can offer solutions that cut software development expenses at every stage.
Contact our experts to reduce app development costs and build your app under global tech standards.
Frequently Asked Questions
The cost to develop an app ranges from $40,000 to $150,000 and may even go to $300,000 depending on your app type, platforms, number and type of features, and app design requirements.
The app development duration depends on your requirements with app design, features, and overall functionality. The average hours to develop an app is between 900 to 1200 hours.
January 4, 2023
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