While mobile apps are becoming the backbone of any and all businesses in today’s world, the cost of developing an app will eventually become the make-or-break point in deciding its outcome. This is because cost is dependent on the specifications you decide to go ahead with, for your app. In this article, we will break down the factors for detailed insight into the cost of developing an app.
What decides the cost of an app?
The cost of developing an app is not determined by an isolated factor, rather by multiple factors including business model, the nature of your app, its purpose, the developer team working on it, the audience who will utilize it, to name a few. According to a report, the mobile app development market is set to increase at the rate of more than 14% by the end of 2022 from what it was 5 years ago.
Then again, each app varies in terms of complexity. This also majorly determines the cost of an app. Let’s look at each of these points in detail which you must consider as a large company or entrepreneur or even a start-up while making the decision of developing an app.
What factors play a major role in determining the cost of app development?
Your business model is the starting point in figuring out the kind of app you want to build. Your business could be based in gaming, healthcare, entertainment, lifestyle, food, shopping or finance industry, to name a few. Again, it could either be in a B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to customer) space. This alone becomes a major differentiator in the kind of app to be developed. The starting point is to analyze and be clear on the kind of problem your app is trying to solve and the customer needs it is trying to meet. Else, the next steps would be futile. For example, Ikea mobile app lets customers virtually see how the furniture fits in their home space. This improvisation in meeting customer needs is probably why the app was downloaded 8.5 million times.
As per a recent GoodFirm survey, following is the estimated cost based on the type of app you’re planning to develop:
|Type of App ||Estimated Cost |
|Simple App (Minimum Viable Features) ||Between $24,830 to $59,150 |
|Complex App (Popular Features) ||Between $36,107.5 to $85,150 |
|Advanced App (Cutting-edge features) ||Between $59,507.5 to $137,150 |
Native app, Web app or Hybrid app? What does your target audience prefer? The type of app you decide to go ahead with is important to determine your investment cost and development timeline.
Native App: These kinds of apps are expensive but offer excellent user experience across iOS, Android and Windows platform. They’re known for their high performance since it is specifically built for the particular platform.
Web App: It’s not an app but a mobile version of a website that provides a user-friendly experience across screens, including smartphones and tablets. It’s comparatively easier to develop and less expensive than a native app. However, users generally prefer mobile app over web apps.
Hybrid App: These apps use a single codebase across multiple platforms. Its framework makes it possible to launch it on Android and iOS at the same time. It’s a cheap option but often results in app crashes and defects which is why developers don’t recommend it.
This Tech Nugget by our Senior Software Engineer, Sanjeev Karat will give more clarity on the type of approach you should adopt.
- Features and functionality
A mobile app is defined by its core features. The price varies based on the features you want to prioritize, and this depends on the kind of app you’re about to build. For example, an e-commerce app should have a seamless payment gateway integrated. Similarly, a fitness app should have a calorie and step tracker. Apart from basic features like login and profile editing which also comes at a minimal cost of 500$ onwards, features like social media integration, file uploads, video, search suggestions, number of screens, push notifications, geotagging also comes at an approximate cost as below:
|Complexity ||Included Features ||Time To Develop |
Cost To Develop
|Simple User Features |
- Login (Email/Social Media)
- User Profile (Make & Edit)
- File uploading
- Native Device Features
|80 to 160 Hours ||$5,200 to $10,400 |
|Complex User Features |
- User Engagement (Social Media, Email, SMS, etc)
- Activity feed
- E-commerce - Catalogs, Ordering, Shopping Carts, etc
- One-click contacting
- Payment Integration
- QR/Barcode Scanner Integration
- Stream Audio/Video
- Sync across all devices
- User Privacy Setting
|100 to 240 Hours ||$6,500 to $15,600 |
|Advance User Features |
- Augmented Reality
- Multi-language support
|160 to 400 Hours ||$10,400 to $26,000 |
The developer team generally includes a Business Analyst, Architect, Project Managers, QA and Designers. The cost of developers also differs across geographical locations. It’s imperative to find the right tech vendor. Outsourcing projects to foreign vendors may sometime be cheaper but this must be done only after thorough verification of their previous projects, apps they have released and the overall process they follow.
Here are the questions you must be asking before you finalize your developer team.
- Backend Infrastructure and App Maintenance
The backend panel must be robust to keep track of APIs, assess user activity and provide credible data on user behavior and app performance. Hence, it is equally important to invest in developing a good admin panel to track all of these metrics.
One of the important factors that must not be overlooked is the app maintenance cost. Generally, apps are scaled up over time and more features are added. Even if that’s not the case, an app requires regular bug fixing, optimizing codes, supporting the latest version and regularly improving stability and performance. A credible support will cost around 15 – 20% of the original development cost as per a report.
Although it is a nominal cost, this cannot be excluded while calculating the overall app cost as this is the final stage in the app development process. As of now, Google Play Store charges $25 as one-time payment and App Store charges $99 which is to be paid yearly.
Let’s understand better with the help of an example.
Have you ever wondered what it costs to build a marketplace app?
Let’s look at a rough estimate for the ease of understanding. Development of any app usually starts with a wireframe. This is the rough template of the mobile app and would cost anything around $800 - $1000. This is followed by designing the actual app which will determine the ease of using and adopting it as the go-to-app for any kind of shopping. An effective design of this sort will range anything from $7000 to $10000. And finally, comes the actual development which involves building functionalities and constantly maintaining them. This could cost anywhere between $30000 to $80000 in extreme cases where the features are more complex.
Given that there is no fixed price tag for app development, these factors could help you decide better on the kind of app you want to build and to what extent you can customize it. If you’re still looking for answers, reach out to the experts at Zuci.
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Hybrid, Native or PWA – What type of Mobile App is Best for My Business?
10 Key Steps In Mobile App Development
Top 10 Mobile App Development Trends for 2022