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How much does it cost to develop an app for business in 2024?

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.

The Statista Digital Market Outlook estimates that the mobile app market revenue across various segments will increase and reach around $613 billion by the year 2025.

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 2023 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 App Development Cost?

  • Type of Business

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
  • Type of App & Platform

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.

Choosing the right platform for app development is crucial, as it directly impacts costs. Native app development, tailored for iOS or Android, can vary from $40,000 to $300,000. If budget constraints are a concern, web app development provides a cost-effective option, ranging from $15,000 to $500,000 for more complex projects. Embracing the growing trend of cross-platform development with technologies like React Native or Flutter offers a balance but comes with a cost ranging from $90,000 to $700,000. To summarize, mobile app development typically falls between $20,000 – $200,000, while web app development can span from $15,000 to $500,000. Careful consideration of the platform aligns your project with both functionality and budget goals.

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)
  • Chat/Messaging
  • File uploading
  • Dashboard
  • Search
  • Native Device Features
80 to 160 Hours $5,200 to $10,400
Complex User Features
  • User Engagement (Social Media, Email, SMS, etc)
  • Activity feed
  • Camera/Gallery
  • E-commerce – Catalogs, Ordering, Shopping Carts, etc
  • Geo-Location
  • 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
  • Customization
  • Multi-language support
160 to 400 $10,400 to $26,000

Source: GoodFirms

  • Developer Team

Building an app involves a diverse development team with various roles, including Business Analysts, Project Managers, Architects, Developers (front-end and back-end), UI/UX Designers, and QA testers. The hourly rates for these professionals in the Asia-specific region are as follows:

  • Architect: $45 – $80
  • Project Manager: $30 – $55
  • Business Analyst: $30 – $50
  • Lead Developer: $50 – $80
  • Intermediate Developer: $35 – $55
  • Junior Developer: $25 – $60
  • DevOps: $30 – $60
  • Senior QA: $30 – $50
  • Intermediate QA: $25 – $45
  • Junior QA: $20 – $40
  • Graphic Designer: $30 – $55

Understanding the roles and hourly rates helps estimate the cost of hiring app developers, giving you a rough idea of the budget required for your project. When considering outsourcing, it’s essential to thoroughly verify the foreign vendor’s previous projects, released apps, and overall processes to ensure a reliable partnership.

The location of your development team significantly affects the cost of building an app. Developers in North America and Europe command higher salaries than those in Asia and South America. Taxes, regulations, and infrastructure costs also vary. Hiring in some countries may incur additional taxes and benefits, while office rent and utilities can contribute to overhead costs. Availability of skilled professionals and specific technology requirements may impact costs. Working with a team in a different time zone can affect development speed and coordination costs. Here’s a general breakdown of the cost per hour based on location:

  • USA: $120
  • UK: $100
  • Australia: $90
  • Western Europe: $80
  • Eastern Europe: $60
  • India: $40
  • South America: $50

Consider these factors when planning your app development budget and choose a location that aligns with your financial and project needs.

Here are the questions you must be asking before you finalize your developer team.

1. 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.

2. Cost of Releasing an App

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.

Breakdown of App Development Cost

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.

Popular Apps and Their Development Costs:

1. Facebook:

Facebook, one of the most popular social media platforms globally, has undergone extensive development over the years. Its initial development costs likely ranged from $500,000 to $1 million. However, ongoing maintenance, feature additions, and server infrastructure costs bring the total development expenses into the billions.

2. Instagram:

Instagram, a subsidiary of Facebook, was initially developed as a mobile app. The initial development cost was estimated at around $250,000. However, this cost significantly increased after Facebook acquired Instagram, as the platform continued to evolve and expand its features.

3. WhatsApp:

WhatsApp, a widely used messaging app, was initially developed by a small team. The development cost was relatively modest, estimated at around $250,000 to $500,000. The acquisition by Facebook added to the overall expenses.

4. Snapchat:

Snapchat, known for its innovative messaging features, initially had development costs in the range of $50,000 to $100,000. However, the addition of new features and enhancements has increased development expenses.

5. Netflix:

Netflix, a popular streaming service, invested significantly in its app development. The cost includes not only the development of apps for various platforms but also the creation of complex recommendation algorithms. The initial development cost was estimated at over $1 million.

Strategies for Reducing Mobile App Development Costs:

  • Begin with clear project objectives and a well-defined scope to avoid scope creep.
  • Select the development approach (native, hybrid, or cross-platform) that suits your project requirements.
  • Leverage open-source libraries and frameworks to save development time and costs.
  • Consider outsourcing to reduce labor costs, but vet developers for quality.
  • A well-designed user interface and experience can prevent costly user confusion and support requests.
  • Focus on core features to avoid development and maintenance overhead.
  • Develop modular, reusable code to save time and effort.
  • Use agile practices for flexibility and efficient resource allocation.
  • Use cloud and Backend as a Service platforms to handle backend functions.
  • Automate testing and deployment to reduce manual effort and errors.
  • Plan for ongoing maintenance to avoid costly issues later.
  • Validate your app idea before heavy development to ensure demand.
  • Gather user feedback and iterate based on real-world usage to improve the app and prevent costly rework.

Reducing mobile app development costs involves a combination of careful planning, efficient development practices, and smart resource allocation. By following these strategies, you can create a successful mobile app while keeping costs under control.

Wrapping it up:

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.

You might also be interested in:

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 2023

Sharon Mariam Koshy

Loves getting creative with mundane topics in addition to geeking out over books and movies.

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