Understanding The Mobile App Development Budget By App Type

By Sudeep Srivastava
June 8, 2021 5. min read
Last update on: June 8, 2021

What is the cost of mobile app development? This question is one of the most frequently asked ones in today’s growing customer needs and changing digital environment.

However, the answer to this question is not so simple even for mobile app developers.Why? Because there is no fixed development cost of a mobile application. It depends on numerous factors such as:

  • Features and functionalities of the app
  • Vendor type and their geolocation
  • Complexity of UX/UI design
  • Inclusion of additional branded visual elements
  • Backend infrastructure
  • Development approach (mobile web, native, hybrid, etc)
  • Number of platforms to be developed (Android, iOS, web, etc)

With the increasing number of smartphone users, entrepreneurs are keen on developing a mobile application for their business. Smartphone users will surpass six billion in 2021 and according to the forecast it is going to grow by several hundred million in the next few years. That’s a lot of numbers!!

Number of smartphone users worldwide

Did you know that mobile app revenues are increasing constantly? Here is a fact check to clear any confusion. Global mobile app revenue was 365 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. Mobile apps are projected to generate more than 935 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via paid downloads and in-app advertising in 2023. 

Total global mobile app revenues

In a nutshell, users download 30 apps each month. It is safe to say that investing in app development budgets is the need of the hour irrespective of the size of your business. 

Keeping the above two factors in mind, in this article we will discuss:

  • Cost of developing an app: ballpark figures
  • Ways to find out your app development cost estimate
  • Build your app in budget by understanding your app type

Cost Of Developing An App: Ballpark Figures

As you already know, the cost of developing an app with a mobile application development company depends on the app’s complexity, features, and the type of firm hired to do the job. 

Clutch surveyed 102 app development companies to determine the cost of building a mobile app. Below is the average minimum app development project size and cost survey. 

Average Minimum App Development Project Size

According to the survey, the average minimum app development project is between $5,000 to $10,000. However, the typical cost to create an app is likely to be far higher. Let’s look into mobile app development cost estimate figures:

  • The cost of developing a simple app for one platform is approx $60,000.
  • Mobile app development budget for a basic app like Dominos varies from $60,000 to $150,000 per platform.
  • Cost of mobile app development for a complex and multi-feature app like Instagram, Facebook, Uber, etc starts from $300,000.

Mobile App Development Cost

You must be wondering about the timeline to build an app. According to a report by Outsystems survey, over 80% of mobile apps take 3 plus months to develop an app. However, 40% of apps are built in 6 plus months as they are more complex. 

Ways To Find Out Your App Development Cost Estimate

While figuring out the cost of mobile app development you have to understand that mobile app development companies charge their clients using these two methods:

1. Fixed charge

This approach can be used when the scope of work is absolutely clear and works well with smaller projects. The biggest advantage of this option is that the cost of mobile app development is fixed with the client before the development process begins.

2. Time and effort based charge

This approach highly depends on the time and effort that is needed for a particular project. Hence, the cost estimate is calculated based on an hourly rate. The advantage of this approach provides flexibility during the app development process and is more suited for more complex and ongoing projects.

We highly recommend the time and effort based approach. We understand that this may leave you a bit uncertain and anxious but, by using this method you will have more flexibility. Not only will you have an initial project estimate, but also the ability to change the scope during the development process. This will help you to control the app budget and build an app that your target audience resonates with the most. 

Also, there is a simple formula that one can use in order to find out the mobile app development cost estimate. All you have to know is the hourly rate and total app development time. The formula for calculating app development cost is as follows:

Formula for Calculating App Development Cost

We can conclude that the development cost of a mobile application and its timeline is influenced by your app idea along with business and functional necessities. It also depends on the industry for which the app is developed. For example, the development cost for the banking or finance industry is different from other industries like automotive industry development cost or home services apps and so forth.

Build Your App In Budget By Understanding Your App Type

As mentioned above, the cost of developing an app relies on various factors – the type of application, technology used for app development, app features and functionalities, business model and app level- basic or complex or a perfect blend of both. Here we are going to discuss your app development budget based on the app type.

Note: All app ideas and projects are extremely unique. The app development budget mentioned below is to give you a proper understanding of how to build your app on a budget.The budget or cost of designing mobile apps and developing the same depends on various scales.

1. Basic apps

A basic app can easily function without network access and server components. Such apps generally consist of five to six screens in total. For example, the calculator app on your mobile has a very clear purpose and can be used without internet connectivity. 

Budget: $5,000 to $15,000

Timeline: 4 to 6 weeks

Example: Camera, clock, local audio or video 

know how much a video streaming app costs

2. Data driven apps 

Data-driven applications function with the help of network connections. These apps consume only specific information. No verification or login access is required in these apps. These apps also require back end work so the cost for such apps increases. For example, the Weather app uses third-party API information. 

Budget: $7,000 to $15,000

Timeline: 6 to 8 weeks

Example: Maps, Stocks, Calendar

3. Authentication apps

In order for these apps to function, they need a user to log in. Users will have a personal account and will be able to interact with data. The mobile app development cost increases since there are many subordinate features required. Authentication app is an ideal option for those who are planning to develop an app that can be accessed by sign up procedures. Also, we recommend a one step log-in procedure using social networks like Facebook, Twitter etc. 

Budget: $10,000 to $60,000

Timeline: 3 to 6 months

Example: Google drive

4. Social networking apps

There is no denying the face that social networking apps are the major dominants of the mobile app industry. These apps allow users to interact with each other via instant messages and share images, texts, or videos. Hence, the back-end framework should be planned in such a way and in such an intent that it seems like vast data is processed.

These apps generally function on a minimum viable product scenario. For example, Instagram originally was an app with square shaped photos. Now, the app includes videos, reels, stories and live interaction sessions. We suggest that MVP approach is ideal for any project at the start. 

Budget: $50,000 to $300,000

Timeline: 3 to 9 months

Example: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

5. On demand applications

On-demand apps are supposed to meet specific requirements of their users. Such apps are highly in demand and are built for platforms- android and iOS. Uber is an on demand app that is being used worldwide. These apps require login information and allow users to chat and call. 

Another example is the on demand home-services app development that has to look into various factors for cost like the technology used, team members, features to include and so on.. 

Budget: $50,000 to $100,000

Timeline: 4 to 8 months

Example: Zomato, Uber, Ola

6. E-commerce apps

E-commerce apps can be used after logging into them. These apps have extensive product catalogues, separate product pages, wishlist and a cart where the user purchases products after completing the payment. check-out system completed via payment transaction. Such apps require a well maintained admin panel and back end team to look into payments and inventory details. 

Budget: $50,000 to $300,000

Timeline: 4 to 9 months

Example: Amazon, Shopify, Myntra

After understanding mobile app development cost with app budget, you should be pretty confident about how much your app idea will cost. 

Final Words

As per the Industry studies so far, the cost to develop an app ranges from $5,000 to $500,000 plus. Hence, it is safe to say that the development cost cannot be predicted right from the very beginning. Information like the complexity of the app, features and functionalities, design requirements, platforms and development approach is vital to any project. It is best to reach out to a mobile app development company USA that can help you turn your idea into reality. 

Get an app idea with our experts

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the costs of developing an app?

Based on the up to date industry surveys, the cost of developing an app fluctuates from $5,000 to $500,000. The exact cost will vary as per your requirement. 

How much does it cost to develop a mobile app 2021 or beyond?

If the requirement is of an application with a core set of features, the cost will be around $60,000. On the other hand if the requirement is of a complex mobile app then it will start from $300,000.The table below portrays the estimated range of costs to build an app with the timeline.

How do you create your own budget for an app?

Stepwise process to create your own budget app is as follows:

Step-1: Do your research and understand your competition. Figure out how your product is different and better?

Step-2: Hire a mobile app development company.

Step-3: Understand the hourly development rates

Step-4: Start small with MVP and use simple app design 

Step-5: Monitor and be involved in the process. 

Step-6: Ask for a detailed project estimate.

Sudeep Srivastava
Sudeep Srivastava
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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