In 2021, the undeniable benefit of having a mobile app for a business has become as clear as day. According to Statista, the number of app downloads has been continuously growing over the past years. It’s estimated that by 2025, the number of mobile apps downloaded from Google Play will reach 187 billion, up from 109 billion in 2020.
But how much does it cost to create an app? On average, the app pricing ranges between $5000 and $500,000+, although it is based on a group of factors. Note that there is no precise response to questions like “how much does it cost to create an iPhone app.” But we’ll make sure that by the end of this article, you have a clear picture of what determines the price for application development.
Cost Distribution by Application Type
In a world where time equals money, the mobile app type is one of the cornerstones that form the final price. Applications differ in the degree of development complexity. In a nutshell, there are simple, medium, and complex ones. The more difficult it is to develop — the more money one needs to spend.
To be more specific, there are 7 common categories of mobile applications:
- Basic apps like calendars and calculators don’t need an internet connection or registration. Also, some simple programs like an email app can be considered basic apps because they don’t need many screens, complex interfaces, or back-end work. Such apps are easy to develop and can even be built for a few thousand dollars.
- Data-driven apps such as maps and weather software process data that they get from the API (Application Programming Interface) of a third-party service. Therefore, the application’s cost depends on the API's price.
- On-demand apps, for example, taxi or food delivery applications, often combine some features from social networking and eCommerce apps. This means they allow a user to log in, send a message, order something, and make a payment. Such applications can be made even with a tight budget, but as your audience grows, you will have to scale up infrastructure.
- Social networking apps allow a user to communicate with others via chats, calls, and content shares. Such an app processes a significant amount of data and requires serious back-end work.
- eCommerce apps are usually complicated because they include many third-party integrations (payment systems, CRM). These apps have to combine intuitive design with a wide range of functionalities. A scalable back-end system and admin panel will also increase the app development cost.
- Marketplace apps are used, for example, to book a hotel, transport, or some tickets. These applications present larger versions of on-demand and eCommerce apps. They have to be multifunctional and include a secure transaction system. Such apps need to process large amounts of data and handle heavy user loads; hence, development takes a lot of time and money.
- Game apps can be simple or complex. It depends on whether you need a 2D game with a basic interface or a 3D game with social media integration and other features.
Key Price Factors
Here are some crucial aspects that form the basis for the price estimation when it comes to developing a mobile application:
- Your expectations from the application: the complexity of the app you have in mind, its purpose, its goals, etc.
- Development team expenses: the location defines the developer’s salary. For instance, a team from the USA can ask, on average, three times more money for the same job than a team from Ukraine.
- App platform: the cost of creating an app will vary depending on your platform needs. You should realize that building a native app for a particular platform requires more time and money, while a cross-platform one saves you these two vital resources.
- Your Expectations From the Application
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were famous mobile apps successful right from the beginning. Note that if you are entering an overcrowded market, you may spend a lot trying to perfect an old idea - but for a new fresh idea, even minimal functionality will be enough.
It is recommended to follow the minimum viable product (MVP) concept while developing a new mobile app. Start small: work on a limited-functionality version of the product you have in mind. This strategy helps to get attention, conduct analytical research, and figure out clients’ needs. It is easier to develop a product based on the audience's feedback rather than to modify an already existing set of features.
Another piece of advice is to not expect better results by investing more money in the project. This rule doesn’t always apply here because the cost relies on various factors, including the developer’s location. In fact, quite often, the price you have estimated is higher than the real one.
- Development Team Expenses
Due to the different economic situations and tax systems around the world, the cost to create an app depends directly on the location of a team. For the same job, the Australian team may ask three times more than their colleagues from Eastern Europe. That is why the right question would be, “How much money does it cost to create an app in N-country?”
The price is calculated in hours of developer work. A team consists of developers, UI/UX designers, engineers, and project managers. They estimate how much time the job will take according to the client's requirements. And that also depends on the country: for instance, on average, a Ukrainian software developer earns $25,000 per year, while the salary in the US is at least four times that.
A proven way to get an affordable product of exclusive quality is to hire an offshore mobile application development team. Companies like Develux have been delivering the best software over the years. This group of experts can build a custom mobile app that will bring your company’s profit to a new level.
- App Platform
Choosing a platform is an important step in designing an application. To choose the right one, you need to analyze your key market. Look at your target audience — specifically, its location. There are many studies showing which mobile system prevails over another one in different countries. For instance, according to a study about mobile eCommerce, Android outperforms iOS in its install-to-action rate: 16.5%, compared to the 11.3% of iOS.
Based on this knowledge, you may want to make a native app for a specific system or a cross-platform one. If you want to reach a larger customer base, the right choice would be an Android app. Expert developers at Develux can guide you through the whole process and create an app from scratch based on your ideas and requirements. How much does it cost to create an Android app? You can find it out by filling out a contact form on the website.
If you are still uncertain about choosing the right platform, here are some pros and cons of each one.
Native Application (iOS/Android)
- Since the app is built exclusively for one certain platform by using specific programming languages and tools, it will deliver the best user experience. Native apps are known for their high performance.
- It is easier to publish in its respective store, and it will have a higher rating. Even if submitting a new app to the App Store seems a bit tricky, Develux’s team is ready to handle this part of the job.
- Native apps are more scalable due to the wide range of available tools that the platform provides.
- It is indeed more pricey to develop a native app rather than a cross-platform one - especially if a company needs to create a native app for each platform. This job involves two different teams. Hence, it is a very time-consuming process.
- It has a lower price. A company hires just one team to develop an app that will run on multiple platforms.
- It is easier to maintain and deploy code.
- It is not time-consuming compared to native apps. Although it depends on different aspects, such as the complexity of an app, it takes up to 6 months on average to create a cross-platform application.
- They may have some bugs and hardware consistency issues that can have a negative effect on user experience.
- They have limited feature sets and are generally slower due to the limited compatibility with the UI components of the OS.
With that being said, creating a mobile application budget for a startup or a large company shouldn’t be an issue. Once you take into account all the factors forming the price, you’re ready to get started.