How Much Does It Cost to Build a Mobile App?

About The Author

Nikhil-KhandelwalNikhil Khandelwal VP Engineering
LinkedIn|22 Jun 2023

The mobile app world is booming! From fitness trackers to language-learning companions, apps have become an undeniable fixture in our pockets. But for those with a brilliant app idea, a crucial question arises: how much does it cost to build this potential game-changer?

According to a Clutch survey, the average minimum cost to develop a mobile app is between $5,000 and $10,000. Creating a basic app cost between USD $40,000 and USD $300,000. Always remember that the initial figures are usually only estimates. The final price may be significantly less or more based on the specific project’s requirements.

However, this figure only scratches the surface. App development costs can vary significantly depending on several factors we'll explore throughout this blog. With the benefits of having a mobile application, it’s no wonder why every business invests in app development. Many factors affect the app development cost. Depending on its complexity, the average price would be:

  • Simple App Development Cost – USD $40,000 to USD $60,000 
  • Medium App Development Cost – USD $60,000 to USD $150,000 
  • Complex App Development Cost – from USD $300,000

But what is the cost of a successful mobile app development service? You should ask this question, especially if you want to build a profitable app for your business. So, whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or a tech enthusiast with a groundbreaking concept, this blog will guide you to understand the cost landscape of mobile app development in 2024.

Mobile App Development Cost Statistics

Data from reputable sources like Statista highlights the growing profitability of mobile apps. To understand this trend further, exploring Mobile App Development Market Stats & Trends is crucial. This dive into market data will reveal valuable insights that can inform your mobile app development strategy. Here are some incredible statistics to support this claim;

  • Mobile app market revenue will grow by $1,095.9 bn in 2027. 
  • Google PlayStore has over 100,000 users, and the app store gets over 30,000 new mobile apps for download monthly. 
  • App Store market revenue will reach nearly $200 bn by 2025. 
  • App Store market’s revenue is $34.1 bn in Q1 2023, marking the highest quarterly recorded amount. 
  • The Mobile Application Market in terms of revenue was estimated to grow by USD 1095.9 billion from 2023-2027, at a CAGR of 22.97%. 

Thus, it’s evident that mobile app demand is growing rapidly, and having one will significantly impact your startup. The app development cost dramatically relies on several factors. Let’s examine them in detail.

Top 6 Factors Influencing Mobile App Development Cost

Top 6 Factors Influencing Mobile App Development Cost

Before we jump into the specifics of mobile app development costs, it's essential to grasp the key factors affecting them. We'll explore these factors in detail throughout this blog post. By understanding these influences, you'll be empowered to make informed decisions about your app's budget.

  • App Platform

Before starting mobile app development services, it is essential to select the right platform. Depending on your target audience, you can choose native, web, hybrid, or cross-platform. You would opt for one platform as a startup owner with a minimal budget.

Here are the most popular mobile app platforms you can choose from:

  • Native app platform (Android & iOS):- Programming language-wise, Swift and Objective C are perfect for iOS app development, while Android app development happens on Java or Kotlin.
  • Web app platform:- In today's mobile-first world, businesses increasingly seek to create apps that enhance customer engagement and brand loyalty. However, the cost of developing native apps for multiple platforms (iOS and Android) can be a significant barrier. This is where Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) emerge as a game-changer, offering a cost-effective and feature-rich alternative.

Regarding cost, web app development prices can range between $15,000 and $50,000.

  • Cross-platform:- Developing an app for both Android & iOS platforms simultaneously is a new cost-effective trend. Cross-platform apps are most popular in the mobile app market because they use single code and require less development effort. Two types of cross platform app development framework Flutter and React Native can be used to develop cross-platform apps.
  • Hybrid app platform:- A hybrid app perfectly combines native and web applications. It combines the strengths of both native and web development, creating a unique solution for businesses looking to build an app without breaking the bank or needing a team of specialists for each platform. 

App Platforms 

Average Costs 

Android Apps 

USD $50,000-$500,000 

iOS Apps 

USD $75,000-$500,000 

Hybrid Apps 

USD $10,000 to $150,000 

Cross-Platform Apps 

USD $25,000 to $60,000 

Web Apps 

USD $15,000 to $50,000 

  • Mobile App Complexity

The average price of creating a simple application is USD $5,000 – USD $50,000. Such apps have features like a login system, user profile facility, dashboard, and limited administration. Medium to complex app prices can range from USD $50,000 to USD $120,000. Such mobile apps include many features for user engagement and app monetization.

A complex app costs between USD $100,000 and USD $300,000 and up. These apps are equipped with innovative AR/VR, AI, and ML technologies. They also include multi-language support, high-end data logic, and more.

Depending on the app’s complexity, an average development cost breakdown is mentioned below in the table: 

App Complexity

Level of Complexity

Average Timeline

Average Cost

Simple App 

MVP functionality 

Basic UI

2-3 Months 

$5,000-$50,000 

Medium Complex App 

Sophisticated features 

Custom UI 

3-9 Months 

$50,000-$120,000 

Highly Complex App 

High level advanced features 

Bespoke UI 

Two platforms

10+ Months 

$100,000-$300,000 

 
 
 

  • App Features & Functionality

Features and functionality are essential aspects of mobile app development. It includes choosing backend infrastructure, content management systems, tech stacks, and third-party integration services. These components can add to or reduce the overall development costs. Also, different customs or additional features can impact app development prices.

Let the average app development cost and time required for building the basic & complex features. 

Features 

Functionalities 

Approximate Time 

Average Costs 

User Login 

Login with social media 

Login with email address 

Forgot password option 

Log out option 

30-42 Hours 

USD $500 – $1,000 

Profile Completion 

Add basic info 

Add photo 

Set region

30-40 hours 

USD $900-$1,000 

 
 
 

Messaging 

Online/offline status 

Typing status 

Send media files and documents 

Read/sent status

170-180 hours  

USD $3,000-$5,000 

 
 
 

Push Notifications

Push notifications and reminders for users 

25-32 hours  

USD $1,000 – $1,200 

Basic Admin Panel 

See list of users 

Delete/block user 

Create user 

Edit user 

66-90 hours  

USD $3,500-$4,000 

 
 
 

  • Advanced Features Integration: Cost Breakdown 

Know Your intial app development budget

Advanced Features 

Functionality 

Approximate Time

Average Costs

Payments 

Transaction history 

Check balance 

Add debit/credit card 

Payment gateways 

60-78 hours  

USD $2,500-$3,000 

 
 
 

Apps 

Detect user’s location 

Set pickup and destination point 

100-120 hours

USD $3,000-$4,000 

Calls

Audio calls 

List of contacts 

Video calls 

300-400 hours 

USD $14,000-$15,000

  • App Categories

Several things can change depending on the category, such as the number of users, features, functionalities, and security criteria. This can ultimately lead to varying prices for building a mobile app.

Let’s glance at the top categories of apps with the average development cost & timeline. 

App Type 

Estimate Costs 

Development Time 

Startup App 

USD $40,000-$400,000  

1,600h 

Game App 

USD $60,000-$250,000 

1,600h 

Retail App 

USD $50,000-$150,000 

1,200h 

Augmented Reality App 

USD $100,000-$250,000  

1,600h 

eCommerce App 

USD $60,000-$250,000  

1,600h 

Social Media App 

USD $50,000-$300,000  

1,200h 

Business App 

USD $50,000-$200,000  

1,200h 

Learning App 

USD $60,000-$225,000  

900h 

Video Streaming App 

USD $80,000-$300,000  

1,600h 

Restaurant App 

USD $40,000-$150,000  

900h 

Shopify App 

USD $30,000-$180,000  

900h 

Food Delivery App 

USD $40,000-$150,000  

900h 

Healthcare App 

USD $55,000-$300,000  

1,200h 

  • Development Team’s Location & Size

Mobile app development costs rely on different factors such as team location, structure, and project complexity level. A basic development team usually includes a project manager, developer, QA engineer, & UI/UX designer. A backend programmer, system administrator, or additional designers may be essential for your extensive project. With an increasing project scale, the development costs will increase automatically.

Here is a rough mobile app development team cost estimation: 

Development Team 

Basic App 

Medium App 

Advanced App 

Developers 

USD $30-40,000  

USD $50-60,000 

USD $100,000+ 

UI/UX Designers 

USD $4-5,000 

USD $5-7,000 

USD $10-15,000 

Project Managers 

USD $5-7,000 

USD $10-15,000

USD $10,000+ 

Q/A Specialists 

USD $8-10,000  

USD $15-20,000  

USD $20,000+ 

Business Analysts 

USD $2-3,000  

USD $5-8,000  

USD $8-10,000

DevOps 

USD $2-4,000  

USD $5-7,000  

USD $10,000+

Solution Architect 

USD $1-3,000  

USD $5-8,000  

USD $9,000+

Rough development team cost estimation according to different regions below: 

Region 

Hourly Rate USD $ 

USA 

120-150 

UK 

100-120

Australia 

100-120

Western Europe 

80-100

Eastern Europe 

30-50

India 

20-30

  • App Maintenance

Building an app is just the first step. Ongoing maintenance, bug fixes, and updates are crucial for a healthy app life cycle. Factor in these ongoing costs when budgeting for your mobile app. Businesses must continue changing their apps to keep up with varying market trends and prices. What takes your budget post-app development?

  • App bug fixes 
  • Design changes

App maintenance cost is calculated yearly at 20% of the complete development cost. So, these are key factors determining the cost of creating a mobile app. Now, we will discuss the costs of popular mobile apps.

By understanding these factors, you can get a clearer picture of the potential investment required for your mobile app. 

5 Most Popular Global Apps and Their Development Cost

Ever wondered how much it might cost to build the next global phenomenon? While the actual figures can vary depending on the factors mentioned earlier, here's a glimpse into the estimated development costs for some of the most popular apps that have redefined and transformed the concept of customer experience and are currently leading the app market. We have also mentioned the average app development price of these apps below in the image: 

5 Most Popular Global Apps and Their Development Cost 

Cost Breakdown: App Development Phases

Cost Breakdown App Development Phases 

Now that we understand the major factors influencing mobile app development costs let's delve deeper into a breakdown of the expenses associated with each crucial phase of the development process. It's important to remember that mobile app development for businesses must be crafted with four major stages:

  • Planning & Analysis 
  • UI/UX Design 
  • Mobile App Development 
  • App Testing & Deployment

Let's see how each phase impacts the overall app cost.

  • Planning & Analysis

The first stage in the app development process is planning & analysis, also known as the discovery stage. According to Clutch, 70% of businesses start with analysis and project planning. The discovery stage includes business analysts, UI/UX designers, software developers, and product owners working on several tasks:

  • Market research and competitor analysis 
  • Identify potential users' pain points and their solutions 
  • Create prototypes for app visualization 
  • Set all steps during app development and determine a timeline

Planning & analysis stage costs may range from $5,000 to $25,000 and even go beyond. It takes 2-5 weeks.

  • UI/UX Design

The development stage includes creating a user-friendly design relevant to your customers' expectations. This phase focuses on crafting a user-friendly and visually appealing app. Costs might include:

  • UX Designer: Developing detailed mockups and interactive prototypes. 
  • UI Designer: Creating the final visual design elements of the app.

Designing a mobile app can range from $5,000 to $50,000. The price depends on the different screens.

  • Mobile App Development

This is where the app comes to life!  The development phase translates designs and functionalities into code. Costs can vary depending on factors like app complexity and the chosen development team:

  • Mobile Developers: Building the core functionalities and features of the app (can be front-end or back-end developers). 
  • API Integration Specialists: Integrating with any necessary third-party APIs.

The minimum price to build an app is USD $5,000-$10,000. A more complex app can cost around USD $50,000-$75,000 and reach USD $300,000+.

  • App Testing & Deployment

The last stage of mobile app development includes testing and app deployment. This phase ensures your app is ready for customers with an impeccable user experience. This phase involves submitting the app-to-app stores (like Apple App Store or Google Play Store) and ensuring a smooth launch. Costs might include:

  • App Store Fees: Submission fees and ongoing revenue-sharing percentages charged by app stores.
  • Marketing & Launch Activities: Promotional efforts to generate awareness for your app.

For QA & app testing services, you need to pay $5,000-$10,000.

4 Options to Choose for App Development

The total mobile app development price heavily depends on who you select for app development. There are multiple choices.

  • App development company 
  • Local team 
  • Inhouse development team 
  • A freelance developer

Hiring an experienced development team has several benefits, such as lower costs and higher quality. Select experts wisely if you want the best team for your buck.

Option #1 - Hire a Local Agency

You can always select an expert mid-size local app development company that provides a wide range of services, including SEO optimization. Local companies will incur higher costs for Android and iOS app development. Depending on the country, the development & design team's per-hour rate can range between $150 to $250.

Option#2 - Build an In-House Team

The in-house team works entirely as a part of your company, receives fixed monthly payments, and gets daily instructions from your management. The cost of an in-house team varies with the startup's location and the developer's expertise.

For startups based in the US, the price

  • Full-stack developer = $180,000/year 
  • Designer = $160,000/year 
  • Android & iOS mobile app programmer = $ 170,000/year

Option# 3 - Hire Freelancers

If you need a team for a small project, you can work with freelancers. However, you must spend a lot of time on communication and project management.

With a freelancer, you can follow two ways:

  • Hire them on a contract basis 
  • Hire them on an hourly basis

Plus, you can find freelancers from several platforms, such as Upwork, Fiverr, etc. 

The freelancer's average hourly costs depend on the country you are hiring from.

  • US: $50 per hour 
  • Asia: $15 to $25/hour 
  • Ukraine: $25/hour 
  • Latin America: $20/hour

Option #4: Outsource App Development

Outsourcing a mobile app development agency allows you to turn your app idea into reality and manage the overall architecture. It lets you focus on your business needs while the expert team manages your technical requirements.

Development costs differ from country to country. For example,

  • Developers' costs in the USA are 2x-3x higher than hiring developers in Ukraine. 
  • The cost of outsourcing mobile app development to an offshore agency varies from USD $30,000 to USD $500,000. 

Suppose you hire a decent outsourcing agency to revitalize your digital presence. In that case, VLink is the right choice for your business, whether you have a startup or an established one.

How can VLink Help in Mobile App Development Cost Estimation

So, how much does it cost to build a mobile application? Considering all the key factors should help you determine a nearly accurate price for your dream app. 

However, analyzing an app’s final cost is a very challenging task. So, for reliable development, it would be better to consult a certified app development company like VLink.

Our development and design team are experts in creating, designing, and launching innovative, scalable, and secure apps with next-gen features. VLink's Expertise in Cost Estimation:

  • Experienced Developers: Our team of experienced mobile app developers can assess your app concept and provide a realistic cost estimate based on its features, complexity, and chosen development approach.
  • Transparent Communication: We believe in clear and open communication. We'll discuss the various cost factors with you and explain how different development choices can impact on the budget.
  • Understanding Your Needs: VLink doesn't offer a one-size-fits-all solution. We take the time to understand your specific needs and goals for the app, tailoring the development approach to optimize functionality and cost-effectiveness.

VLink goes beyond just providing a cost estimate. We offer a comprehensive suite of mobile app development services, including: 

Know Your intial app development budget

  • Concept Development & Prototyping: We can help refine your app idea, create user-friendly prototypes, and ensure your app addresses a genuine user need.
  • Full-Stack Development: Our dedicated team of skilled developers can handle all aspects of development, from front-end and back-end engineering to API integration.
  • Ongoing Maintenance & Support: We understand that an app's journey doesn't end at launch. VLink offers ongoing maintenance and support to ensure your app remains bug-free, secure, and up-to-date.

Conclusion 

Developing a mobile app can be an exciting yet complex process. By understanding the factors influencing costs and partnering with an experienced development team like VLink, you can confidently approach your app development journey. 

VLink's expertise in cost estimation, combined with our comprehensive development services, can help you turn your app idea into a reality while staying within your budget. Ready to discuss your app concept and get a free cost estimate? Contact VLink today, and let's bring your mobile app dream to life! 

FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
How can the cost of app development be reduced?

To reduce app development costs, consider using cross-platform development frameworks like React Native or Flutter, which allow you to build apps for multiple platforms simultaneously.

Prioritize essential features, minimize scope creep, and leverage existing libraries and open-source solutions. Outsourcing development to countries with lower labor costs can also be cost-effective.

What are key hidden cost-driven factors?

Key hidden cost-driven factors refer to underlying factors that can significantly contribute to the overall cost of a project, product, or service but may not be immediately apparent. These factors are;

  • Inefficient processes  
  • Poor quality control leads to rework or defects  
  • Inadequate planning and risk management  
  • Reliance on outdated technology or infrastructure  
  • Lack of skilled personnel  
  • Regulatory compliance issues  
  • Unforeseen market fluctuations

Identifying these hidden cost drivers is essential to minimize expenses, improve profitability, and enhance overall project success. 

How can I get a more accurate estimate for my app development costs?

Partnering with an experienced mobile app development company like VLink can be beneficial. Our team can assess your app concept, features, and chosen development approach to provide a realistic cost estimate. We believe in transparent communication and will explain how different development choices impact the budget. 

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