What is The Exact Cost of Mobile App Development (Real Examples by Industries)
Mobile app market has grown exponentially in recent years and there is no sign of stopping. People nowadays mostly use apps for a variety of purposes such as entertainment, education, healthcare, communication, etc. For anyone wanting to grow their business quickly, launching a mobile app is important more than ever. But, what is the exact cost of launching a mobile app for your business? This article will revolve around the cost of mobile app development, the 5 phases of the process, and how to minimize the development cost. Besides, we will provide notable examples by industries to help you get an in-depth understanding of app development costs.
First, let’s dive right into how to calculate the cost of mobile app development.
How To Estimate Cost Of Mobile App Development?
According to Statista, there were approximately 230 billion apps downloaded since 2021. Therefore, implementing an app is an effective strategy each enterprise should pursue. But, what is the accurate mobile app development pricing for a particular business? The answer dramatically varies, depending on a host of factors. The key factors influencing the cost of mobile app development are as follows:
- Developer resources: Outsourcing or in-house team (What does outsourcing mean in a business?)
- Structure of a development team
- App Platform: iOS or Android apps
- Development approach: Native app or hybrid app
- Complexity of UX/UI design
- App features and functionality
- Backend infrastructure
In order to estimate the development cost, it is important to know about its formula. The formula for app development cost is easy to remember: multiply the total development time and hourly rate together. Before the development stage begins, most companies provide a rough mobile app development cost estimation so you can know how much it costs.
Often, there are two main payment approaches that mobile app development companies use:
- Fixed charge: This approach suits small projects, especially projects with a strict timeline and a clear scope of work. The advantage of the fixed charge approach is that the cost of mobile app development is agreed upon with the client before the development process starts.
- Time and material: The big difference between the first approach and this one is flexibility. It works well for complex projects that might have unexpected turns in the development process. The price is estimated based on the hourly rate and the time spent on the project. With time and material frame, you are free to modify the scope of work and add or remove some features even in the middle of the process. As a result, it enables you to develop a highly customized app that your users would enjoy.
Cost To Build An App On Development Stages
In general, mobile app development entails 5 main stages, respectively:
- Research or discovery
- UX/UI design
- App development
- App testing and quality assurance
- Ongoing support and maintenance
Now, let’s delve deeper into each stage.
1. Research or discovery
This stage requires some tasks such as conducting market research and competitor analysis, identifying potential users’ pain points and how the app can address them. Following this, they have to create the prototypes for app visualization, set up all the steps, and create a project timeline. The research stage takes around 2-5 weeks and costs from $5,000 to $25,000.
2. UX/UI design
This phase involves creating user flows, defining the way users will interact with your app, and designing the interface. The cost will be determined by the number of screens designed and the overall complexity of your app. The cost of designing an app may range from $5,000 to $50,000.
3. App development
During the development stage, the cost of an app is influenced by the number of features, level of complexity, the app concepts, the app types, and so forth. User login/logout, in-app search by entity types, push notifications, and basic one-to-one chat doesn’t cost much. On the contrary, the functionality associated with the content management system (admin panel), video and audio streaming, is more complicated and thus more expensive. While the cost of the minimum app development is $5,000 -$10,000, the complex one is about $50,000 -$75,000 and some highly-complicated projects can even reach $300,000+.
4. App testing and quality assurance
This stage is dedicated to testing and app deployment. Its aim is to ensure the app is ready to use with impeccable user experience. Seemingly, it costs you around $5,000 – $10,000 for app testing and quality assurance.
5. Ongoing support and maintenance
Suppose companies know how much it costs to launch an app before the development process begins, but in most cases, they fail to meet their budget. This frequently happens as some major hidden cost-driving factors may be overlooked. These factors are multiple platform support, integration of 3rd party services, marketing costs, and maintenance costs. Make sure to include these costs in the app development price if you don’t want to run out of your budget in the middle of the project.
You might be interested in: Top 10 No-Code App Builders You Should Try
Budget Template For Mobile App Development
What is the exact cost of developing a mobile app in 2023? The table below is the answer you are looking for. Depending on the complexity of the mobile app and multiple influential factors, the cost of mobile app development in 2023 ranges from $60,000 to $300,000+. The development process can take from 2 to 9 months and beyond.
|Basic app||Mid-level app||Complex app|
|Total cost||~$60,000 – 150,000||~$150,000 – ~$ 300,000+||~$300,000+|
|Timeline||~3 – 5 months||~4 – 9 months||9+ months and beyond|
|Characteristics||essential features, low-tech screen, basic UI elements||advanced features, integrations with API, more screens, custom UI, real-time messaging,||multifunctions, complicated features such as real-time synchronization, chatbots, media processing, UI animation, etc.|
|Examples||a calculator app, a calendar app, etc.||McDonald’s, etc.||Booking.com, Uber, YouTube, etc.|
Cost To Hire In-House Developers
There are a bunch of options when it comes to mobile app development, and hiring an in-house team is one of the most popular approaches. An in-house app development team is best suited for small businesses where a full-time IT department can efficiently handle support and development of internal information systems.
One of the best things about hiring in-house developers is that they are a part of your organization. They work and grow in the same environment as you; hence, reaching and working with them is easy. Besides, the communication is remarkably smooth, and everyone on the team can get involved in the development process, contributing to the success of the project. Furthermore, by doing this, you can keep an eye on the entire mobile app development process from the beginning. However, every coin has two sides.
The demerit is that you have to pay extra fees such as taxes, welfare, benefits, office supplies, and so on. Moreover, time to market is increased as it takes time to find experts for each task.
Below is the cost of hiring an in-house team for your app development process.
- Full stack developer =$98,000 per year.
- Designer = $85,000 per year.
- iOS or Android app developer = $85,000 per year.
Building an in-house team has its pros and cons. Thus, keep in mind that you should evaluate your demands and possibilities before making the decision. Although having an in-house team is rather expensive, it ensures better communication between team members. So if your company wants to get more bang for your buck, opting for this approach is a wise strategy.
Many enterprises consider to set up an Offshore Development Center (ODC) to optimize effectiveness and costs.
How To Have A Low Cost Of Mobile App Development?
Now that you know the cost estimation for each stage and the cost of hiring in-house staff, we will walk you through another viable option for your business: outsourcing app development. Compared to hiring a team of developers in-house, working with an outsourcing company is far more cost-effective. One undeniable benefit of outsourcing is that you can hire a team from another region with reasonable hourly rates. Besides, you pay for their service without daily expenses associated with an in-house team such as rent, training, sick pay, taxes, tools for developers, etc. On top of that, with outsourcing, your company can access the global talent pool who has a high level of expertise ready to contribute to your company’s success.
For these reasons, outsourcing can be a low-cost mobile app development option which still ensures high-quality outcome. At Rikkeisoft, we take pride in delivering countless outsourcing mobile app development services for various industries such as BFSI & eCommerce, more.
Mobile App Development Cost By Industries
Retail and eCommerce (eCommerce app)
- App cost estimation:~$60,000 – ~$300,000+
- Timeline: ~3-6 to 9 months and beyond for ongoing project.
- Examples: Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, etc.
The functionality of eCommerce mobile app encompasses user registration, user account, and other social features. They are also equipped with product catalogs, separate pages, and payment system integration. The infrastructure of eCommerce app is complicated since it needs a well-planned backend and other elements like the admin panel, managing users, orders, inventory, and many more.
Healthcare (Healthcare app)
- App cost estimation: starting at ~$60,000+ (per platform)
- Timeline: ~3 – 6 months
- Examples: Calm, Headspace, MyFitnessPal, mySugr, etc.
People nowadays have become more health-conscious. They seek healthcare apps to get help with their mental and physical well-being. There are a wide variety of healthcare mobile apps, including apps for meditation, fitness, electronic health record, and many more. The healthcare products market is growing rapidly and is anticipated to reach 640 billion USD by 2026.
The cost of healthcare applications varies depending on complexity, a number of users, user experience and design, functionality, and whether you want to innovate using cloud solutions, ML, IoT, AI, Big Data, or blockchain.
Education (eLearning app)
- App cost estimation: starting at ~$60,000+ (per platform)
- Timeline: ~3 – 6 months
- Examples: Udemy, DuoLingo, Coursera, Memrise, etc.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the online learning trend has increased exponentially. As a result, e-learning apps have become the third most popular category in app stores, and the online learning market is forecasted to reach $350 billion by 2025, making such products appealing for investment. The functionality of these apps is primarily basic, including features like registrations, user profiles, chats, simple assessment, search, and so forth. The larger part of apps focuses on training material and lessons used to spread educational materials. In addition to the above features, eLearning app also consists of in-app currency levels, achievement badges, etc.
Entertainment (Entertainment app)
- App cost estimation: starting at ~$60,000+ (per platform)
- Timeline: ~3 – 6 months
- Examples: Nexflit, Disney, Amazon Prime Video, etc.
Building entertainment mobile apps takes around 3 to 6 months, depending on the level of complexity. Many problems may arise while setting up these apps, specifically complex backend architecture, network connectivity, video streaming protocols, security, and licensing issues.
Social media (Social media app)
- App cost estimation: ~$60,000 – ~$300,000+
- Timeline: ~3 – 6 to 9 months and beyond for ongoing project
- Examples: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Social media mobile apps usually are used for social interactions, chats, and information sharing. Therefore, the backend infrastructure should be designed with the intention of processing a large amount of data. There are other types of social apps such as media sharing, communities, consumer review apps, blogs, dating apps, and so on.
Real Examples About Cost Of Mobile App Development
Uber is a typical example of a ride-hailing app. Uber app helps connect riders & deliverers with eaters, and restaurants. After downloading the app, you can request a ride using the Uber app. If a nearby driver accepts your request, the app will display the driver’s estimated arrival time at your pickup location.
The highlight features of the Uber app are listed below:
- Payment system integration
- Routing and advanced route optimization
- SMS and push notifications, etc.
The cost of making an app like Uber is between $100,000 to $170,000 for one platform (iOS or Android).
Tiktok is a social media app which is mainly used for creating and sharing short videos. People worldwide use the app to express themselves through dancing, singing, entertaining, lip-syncing, and much more. Tiktok app makes it easier for people to create videos and share them online with a community.
The features of Tiktok include:
- Sharing images, videos
- Online messaging
- Video call
- Multi-language support
- User connecting, etc.
The cost to build an app like Tiktok ranges from $ 50,000 to $300,000.
WhatsApp is a commonly-used messaging app that works both on iOS and Android devices. It allows you to make videos and video calls, send messages and much more. With over 2 billion users, the app is preferred by most people, especially those living in different countries who use it to stay in touch with each other. It is also an ideal tool for businesses to communicate in the workplace.
WhatsApp’s features consist of:
- Voice or video calls, voice messaging
- Group function, with 8 participants per call
- Advanced search features
- Social media sharing like photos, videos, and documents
- Messaging with end-to-end encryption, etc.
The cost to develop a WhatsApp-like app will range from $30,000 to $70,000.
Pokémon Go app combines gaming with the real world. Simply speaking, the game employs location tracking and mapping technology to create an augmented reality environment where players can catch and train Pokémon characters in the real world. The idea behind this app is to encourage people to travel the world.
Key features of Pokémon Go are as follows:
- Access to GPS
- AR technology integration
- Geolocation and geofencing
- Photo capture, etc.
To build an app like Pokémon Go, it costs around $450,000 to $600,000.
Soundcloud is known as an online platform that allows users to upload, stream and share their music and podcasts. It can be easily downloaded from both iOS and Android operating systems, and the basic version is free of charge. Soundcloud now has 270 million users and is planning to expand in the future.
Here are the top features of Soundcloud:
- Enable users to create their own playlists
- Get access to millions of songs both online and offline
- Find and stream similar audio recordings automatically.
- Share their playlist with many people with the same interests, etc.
Developing an app like Soundcloud will cost you from $60,000 to $80,000.
Spotify is commonly known as a digital music streaming service that allows users to access a large number of songs, videos, and podcasts from artists worldwide. Basic functions on the Spotify app such as playing music are completely free. As for the premium version, you can download playlists, albums, and podcasts according to your preference.
Spotify’s features include the followings:
- Sort and filter support
- Create a library for storing downloaded songs/podcasts.
- Integrate Spotify radio
- Allow users to follow their favorite artists and friends in the following mode
The development cost of an app like Spotify is around $25,000 for Android and $35,000 for iPhone apps.
Tinder is one of the most popular dating app nowadays, aiming aims to provide a gateway for young people to strike up new relationships or even marriages. With 55 billion matches so far, the app it a perfect place to meet and converse with new people.
Tinder’s functionality is easy to use as you just need to swipe right or left to like or dislike a specific person. If the person you like returns your affection, the app will automatically create a match.
Below is the list of key features of the Tinder app:
- GPS location and settings
- User profile
- Matching functionality
- Push notification
- 3rd party integration
To make an app like Tinder, it costs you around $80,000 for one platform and $120,000 for both platforms.
There is no clear answer about the precise cost of mobile app development. It varies from one business to another, depending on countless factors like the company you outsource, the in-house team you hire, the set of features included, development approaches, and many more. Hopefully, this article provides you with some ideas about how to estimate the cost of mobile app development. If you are interested in building your mobile app, our dedicated team will gladly conduct a free consultation for you. We hope to share our ideas and expertise to help you build your app from scratch, fulfill your goals, and set your business up for success.
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