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A Guide to Mobile App Development Cost in 2024 and Beyond

A Guide to Mobile App Development Cost in 2024 and Beyond
blog-author Sandip 10+ Years of Exp.
Avner Avner Technical Writer

Here’s a common business problem. You decide to develop a new smartphone application. But, as soon as you start researching, there is an overload of information on mobile app development cost.

It’s true that the internet has a lot of content on this topic. And why not? People love to download mobile apps. In fact, recently, the worldwide market witnessed 257 billion app downloads in a single year.

So, even you, as a business person, would want to leverage this high-potential market. In such a case, possessing reliable information on the cost of app design can prove helpful.

In this blog, we will shed light on the topic, ‘mobile app development cost.’ First, you will get insights into the numbers. Next, we explain the factors that influence the average cost of mobile app development. So, without any ado, let’s begin.

Quick Look at Mobile App Development Cost

The cost of developing an Android app or an iOS application is subjective. Different factors impact the final quotation. Still, if you want a quick answer, we can provide a general range.

Generally, the cost of app design can lie in the $20,000 – $250,000 range. However, if your application is highly complex, the final quote can also surpass the $250,000 mark.

As a business, it is crucial to understand this range. This way, you can make informed decisions and have a decent idea of mobile app development cost.

Now, you must be thinking, ‘Is this it?’ It’s that simple?

Well, in a word, no. The range is just a generic representation. In our section on cost analysis, we’ll provide tables that segregate mobile apps based on different types. First, you need to have basic knowledge of the factors that impact the average cost of mobile app development.

Factors Affecting the Cost of App Design

If we keep on considering all the facets, this list can become lengthy. So, instead of bombarding you with unnecessary details, we compiled five major factors that influence mobile app development cost.

Take a look at all the details below.

1. Operating System

Operating System

Two operating systems rule the smartphone market:

Both operating systems have many differences. Android caters to a wide range of manufacturers like Samsung, Google, OnePlus, Nokia, and others.

On the other hand, iOS is exclusive to Apple smartphones. So, the mobile app development cost varies on the choice of your platform. In case you want to develop an app that features on both operating systems, hybrid development is your solution.

Now, if you want a more technical explanation, read these pointers:

  • Android uses Java or Kotlin
  • iOS uses Objective C or Swift

Developers adept in iOS development charge slightly more than those who build Android applications. However, in some cases, the cost of developing an Android app can exceed its iOS counterpart.

Why? In the case of Android, developers need to ensure compatibility across a wide array of manufacturers and devices. This requirement can increase complexity, thereby leading to a higher cost of app design.

2. Type of Application

Type of Application

In this point, type implies the category of the mobile app. Recall successful brands like Amazon, eBay, Netflix, and Fiverr. These mobile applications fall under different segments.

Here are the types that you should consider:

  • Social media
  • eCommerce
  • B2B applications
  • Educational
  • Gaming
  • On-demand
  • D2C applications
  • B2C applications

Each segment or category has distinct features and requirements. For example, social media apps focus on user interaction, content, and community building features. On the contrary, educational apps emphasize personalization, quizzes, and elements like gamification.

So, the mobile app development cost for these types is variable. Developers need to understand the target audience, required features, and plan the coding activities accordingly.

3. Complexity Level

Complexity Level

Complexity is a factor that has a major influence on the following parameters:

  • Development time: A higher number of features and integrations demand more duration for activities like coding, testing, and quality control
  • Team strength: If your mobile app is complex, you need to have a well-rounded team consisting of developers, designers, testing engineers, content creators, and marketing specialists
  • Debugging: To ensure the proper functioning of a multi-feature application, the testing needs to be detailed and stringent

All these factors contribute to a greater cost of app design. However, it’s true that you cannot always sustain in today’s market with a very simple mobile app.

So, in some cases, it is necessary to develop a complex application. Now, you must be thinking, ‘which are some popular complex apps?’

Well, Genshin Impact, Mint, Pokemon Go, and WeChat are some apt examples. Overall, complexity is directly proportional to the mobile app development cost.

4. Tech Stack

Tech Stack

In simple words, a tech stack is the combination of technologies that contribute to developing a mobile app. These tools include:

  • Frameworks
  • Databases
  • Programming languages
  • APIs

To use these technologies, you need developers who can implement them appropriately. So, programmers who are proficient in niche areas often demand high charges.

In case you choose cross platform development frameworks like Flutter, the project can be cost efficient. On the downside, you might have to face some limitations in the functionality.

So, before initiating an app development project, choose the tech stack carefully. The mobile app development cost varies significantly based on this decision.

5. Development Partner

Development Partner 

The final factor that influences the cost of app design is your association. Here are the pointers relevant to your development partner that can impact your mobile app development cost:

  • Geographical location: An IT vendor working from a country with a low cost of living can assign mobile developers at reasonable rates.
  • Engagement model: Fixed-cost models are good for predictable pricing. On the contrary, hourly contracts offer more flexibility but can be challenging to control.
  • Experience: Highly experienced IT vendors have higher charges. But they can develop your mobile app faster and provide top-notch quality.
  • Team structure: An established team can help prevent project delays. This way, you can control mobile app development cost and benefit from faster time-to-market.
  • Post-launch support: Maintenance and optimization can increase the cost of app design. However, these services add value and help maintain good brand reputation.

The best strategy while choosing a development partner is to assess your requirements. Is your app simple or complex? Do you have a decent budget to hire an experienced team? Is fast time-to-market essential in your genre?

Answering these questions can help optimize your mobile app development cost. Also, choose a development partner who offers offshore software development services. This way, you can capitalize on the currency differential (subjective) and access a global workforce.

General Steps for Developing a Mobile App

General Steps for Developing a Mobile App

Now that you’re aware of the factors influencing mobile app development cost, it’s time to gain more knowledge.

Fundamental knowledge of the development steps can make you more aware of the entire process.

These steps are mostly generic. So, the next time you discuss your app’s requirements, you’ll be in a better position to understand the outsourcing vendor’s replies.

Step Explanation
Ideation and Planning The development team discusses your idea and creates a comprehensive plan. Activities in this stage include conceptualization, wireframing, documentation, tech stack finalization, and task allocation.
Design and Development The next stage involves covering technical activities like coding, UI/UX design, integration, and feature development
Testing and QA In this stage, the team checks bugs, errors, and performance of the mobile app. QA maintains a holistic approach to meeting discussed quality standards throughout the app development cycle
Final Launch and Maintenance You and the team launch the application on the app store. After reviewing the response, you can roll out updates and rectify bugs (if any). Post-launch, it becomes vital to maintain the app through security fixes and patches

Basic knowledge of these activities is important. In case you have an in-house team, you can save mobile app development cost by assigning some tasks to your employees. This combination can help control your expenses.

So, such smart decisions can ramp down your average cost of mobile app development.

Mobile App Development Cost Analysis

To keep things simple, we’ve compiled multiple tables that segregate the cost of app design on different fronts. Without any further ado, let’s delve into this useful information.

Cost of App Development Based on Complexity Level

Level of complexity Mobile app development cost approx. range
Simple $20,000 – $50,000
Medium $50,000 – $80,000
High $80,000 – $200,000

Cost of App Development Based on Types

Type of App Mobile app development cost approx. range
Social Media $80,000 – $250,000
eCommerce $60,000 – $150,000
Dating $50,000 – $250,000
Educational $60,000 – $200,000
Gaming $80,000 – $250,000

Cost of App Development Based on Stages

Stage Mobile app development cost approx. range
Design and Ideation $200 – $300
UX Design $1,600 – $4,000
UI Design $10,000 – $40,000
Branding $10,000 – $30,000
Animations and Illustrations $4,000 – $12,000

How to Ensure Cost-effective Mobile App Development

How to Ensure Cost-effective Mobile App Development

Saving mobile app development cost is always possible if you follow specific steps. In this section, we’ll explain four strategies that you can implement in your business.

Plan Effectively

Meticulous planning is the foundation of saving cost of app design. First, you need to be clear about your app’s target audience.

This way, it becomes easier to decide the features and animations of your mobile app. Also, consider programming a straightforward minimum viable product (MVP) to gain valuable user feedback without a high level of investment.

Choose Relevant Tech Stack

Make smart decisions while choosing core technologies. For instance, selecting React Native can help build an app that can perform on Android and iOS platforms. This decision can cut down your mobile app development cost.

Also, choose open-source libraries and cloud platforms if possible. These options are cost-effective. Partnering with a reliable mobile app development agency can help make the best choice.

Optimize Your Team

Offshore development can cut down cost of app design to a great extent. However, if you choose this strategy, ensure your development partner focuses on communication and culture fit.

For optimization, use effective project management tactics. Also, you can leverage IT staff augmentation services instead of traditional outsourcing to save mobile app development cost.

Implement Cost Management Strategies

Simple tactics like CI/CD, test automation, and adopting agile software development methodologies can reduce your costs to develop a mobile app.

For this purpose, you can discuss these strategies with the technical team. Notably, reputed mobile app development companies already suggest these methods to support clients in different ways.

In a Nutshell

Mobile app development cost is a subjective topic. There’ll never be a fixed number to develop any smartphone application type. However, you can always understand the cost range when planning cost-effective activities.

Generally, developing a mobile app can demand a minimum price of $20,000. Based on the complexity and features, these charges can also exceed the $250,000 mark.

The cost of mobile app design and development depends on factors like operating system, application category, complexity, tech stack, and the IT vendor. So, ensure you understand all these factors before starting a new app development project.

Proper planning, choosing suitable technologies, optimizing your team, and implementing cost cutting measures can reduce mobile app development cost up to an extent. However, you need to allocate a specific budget to develop a top-quality app that sustains on today’s competitive market.

To develop a mobile app at the most reasonable price, you can always contact us. We have multiple engagement models and a skilled team of professionals who can assist and help you at any stage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I create a mobile application for free?

If you’re not a programmer, no-code tools like Google AppSheet can help develop a basic smartphone app. However, for the best results, you should contact or hire dedicated developers adept in technologies like Flutter, React Native, and Ionic.

2. How much does it cost to launch a mobile app?

The cost to launch a mobile app depends on the operating platform. For Android, you need to pay a one-time registration fee of $25. In the case of iOS, the review fee is $99 per year. If you’re an organization that has multiple apps, the enterprise membership for the Apple App Store costs $299 per year.

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