How much does it cost to build a mobile app in the UAE?

Sudeep Srivastava January 4, 2023

All thanks to technological advancement, mobile apps have become the most dominant form of digital communication. Playing the most vital role in the overall success of a business, they are capable of offering the amenity of access on-demand to information and solutions.

Now, mobile apps are one of the latest and most adapted marketing methods adopted by organizations in the UAE. They pave the way for organizations to increase their overall productivity and target an increased user base, thereby ensuring maximum ROI.

According to a recent report, the total number of mobile app downloads increased by 23% in 2022, and the numbers are bound to soar in the coming years. The second-largest economy in the world, the UAE is expected to witness a mobile app market share of 221.5 million by 2027, thereby offering exceptional opportunities for entrepreneurs to pivot their startups.

Now, this article will tell you everything related to the mobile app development cost in UAE and the various factors that affect the overall development budget. In addition to this, we will be looking at various types of applications you can develop for your business and how to earn money from those mobile apps.

Deciphering the app development cost in Dubai

A successful mobile app starts with an innovative concept. A reliable idea backed by the latest market analysis can define the way how your target audience will interact with your business. Now, many ideas that lack proper planning have an unorganized budget and have extended deadlines, usually, increasing the chances of immediate failure. To reach your business’s goals with everything as planned, it is imperative to understand the average cost of mobile app development beforehand.

The overall mobile app development cost in Dubai varies from $40,000 to $300,000 (150k AED to 1100k AED). Furthermore, factors like the feature set of the app, technologies used during the development phase, location of the app development company in UAE, etc., directly impact the overall cost of developing a mobile app.

Even though determining the exact mobile app development cost in Dubai is a complex task and requires a dedicated app development organization that can offer you the expected budget based on your custom requirements, we can try and offer you a genuine formula that can help you understand the mobile app development cost breakdown effectively.

Here the development hours are the sum total of time taken to complete the app’s wireframe, its design, code, maintenance, etc. The hourly rate of development further depends on the hired app development organization, the details of which will be discussed later in the blog.

Having a rough estimate of the cost at the initial stage can help you make up your mind regarding the required investment while making way for a chance of necessary negotiations concerning the overall budget.

Now, let us move ahead and discuss in detail the various factors that affect the mobile app development cost UAE. Analyzing these factors before starting with your mobile app development allows you to make better statistical analysis of your app development budget and help you effectively tackle challenges along the way.

Factors affecting the custom app development cost

When it comes to setting aside the budget for developing a mobile app, it is recommended to first determine the type of mobile app you wish to develop. In addition to this, hiring the best app development agency that can offer you maximum ROI is the most valuable aspect that will also impact your cost of app development directly. Now, let us look at the factors that affect the cost of mobile app development in detail below:

  1. App complexity

The overall complexity of the app is one of the most vital factors that affects the development cost for an app. For instance, a highly complex app with an extensive feature list will usually cost you more as compared to a simple app with minimum features. Here is the estimated app development cost in Dubai as per various levels of complexity.

Mobile App Type Estimated average cost of mobile app development Time Frame
Simple App $40,000 to $60,000 3 to 6 months
Moderately Complex App $60,000 to $100,000 6 to 8 months
Highly Complex App $100,000 to $300,000 9+ months
  1. UI/UX Design

A well-defined UI/UX strategy is one of the important aspects of developing a mobile app that further defines its overall success. The app must feature a seamless UI/UX design in order to increase the overall user engagement and retention. Furthermore, multiple testing procedures to successfully design the app as per the custom requirements directly impacts the business app development cost.

Factors that affect the cost of UI/UX design of the app includes:

  • Visual elements
  • Typography
  • Color psychology
  • Content writing
  • Button placements
  • Branding
  • UI optimization
  • Portrait or landscape mode

  1. App Platform

The underlying platform of the app also impacts the app development budget. For instance, you can choose iOS or Android to be developed for your business or go for a cross-platform app. The budgetary requirements for all these platforms differ as per various criterias. In order to keep the budget optimized at the initial stage, it is usually recommended to start with a single platform at first and switch to a cross-platform app once it gains traction in the market.

Platform Type Development time Global Market share Publishing charges
Android More development time due to higher device complexity 87% One time payment of $25 for publishing the app
iOS 40% less complex as compared to Android apps thus, require less time for development 13% $99 annual payment for publishing apps on the App Store
  1. Team Size

The team size of the hired app development agency is another factor that directly impacts the app development company’s cost. For instance, you can either choose between freelancers or an in-house team for developing your app or simply outsource your app development project to a dedicated organization. Let us try and differentiate them all according to multiple pros and cons.

Team Type Pros Cons
In House Team
  • Better communication
  • Complete transparency
Higher rate of development

  • Full stack developer = Approx $100,000 per year.
  • Designer = $90,000 per year
  • iOS or Android Developer = $80,000 per year.
Freelancers
  • Cheapest method for app development
  • Power to dictate prices
  • No accountability
  • Less expertise
  • Less transparency
Outsourcing
  • Optimized costs of development
  • Break-Free communication process
  • Timely delivery
  • Adherence to guidelines
  • Easy accountability

Thus, in order to initiate effective communication, leverage the extensive expertise and optimize your app development budget, it is recommended to outsource your app development project to a suitable app development organization that can help you put things into perspective and gain traction in the market.

For a successful app development, the minimum team of an outsourced organization must include:

  • 1-2 project managers
  • 1-2 business analysts
  • 2-3 frontend developers
  • 2-3 backend developers
  • 1-2 designers
  • 1-2 quality assurance analyst
  1. Location of the app development agency

The location of the app development agency also affects the cost of mobile app development in UAE. For instance, the hourly rate of development in areas like Asia is comparatively less as compared to the hourly development rates in the UAE, UK or US. Here is the estimated rate of development as per various regions:

Region Hourly Rate of Development
UAE $60-$65
US $95-$100
Western Europe $80-$90
Australia $70-$90
Eastern Europe $50-$55
Asia $25-$40
  1. Maintenance

Proper maintenance of the mobile app is also a deciding factor that affects the overall cost of app development in UAE. It is important to take considerable actions to ensure that the apps run smoothly on all the platforms and offer optimum performance. In addition to charges required to ensure the bug-free nature of the app, the overall cost of maintenance also includes charges required to offer app upgrades or to implement new technologies as per the market requirements.

  1. Tech Stack

A well-defined mobile app integrated with a robust tech stack paves the way for app’s success. It is important to ensure that the app is designed with the latest technologies so as to make it stand apart from the rest of the competitors in the ecosystem.

  1. Feature List

Now, one of the most important factors that can help you determine the mobile app development cost UAE is the feature list of the app. In general terms, more the features associated with the app, more is its overall cost. In order to ensure that an app gains traction in the market, a well-defined feature set that can set it apart from the rest is rather necessary. Now, let us try and tell you some common features of a mobile app based on its complexity.

App Type Common Features
Simple app
  • Sign up
  • User login
  • Profile editing
  • Search bar
  • Notifications
  • Chat
  • Dashboard
Medium complexity mobile app
  • Social media integration
  • Payment gateway
  • In-app purchases
  • Geo location
  • Security protocol implementation
High complexity mobile app
  • All the native features
  • Data synchronization
  • Multiple payment gateways
  • 24×7 customer service
  • In app calls
  • Video calls
  • Streaming capabilities

So, above-mentioned were a few factors that affect the mobile app development cost in Dubai. Now let us move ahead and look at the various hidden costs that can sneak up with you and impact your overall app development budget.

Understanding the hidden development costs for an app

There are several hidden factors that can affect your app development costs gradually, and understanding them will help you make better financial decisions. Hidden development costs are also referred to as behind-the-scenes app development costs by certain organizations, and they can vary as per the location of the app development agency you have hired for your project.

  1. Third-party integrations

The costs for third-party integrations usually include the charges required to integrate:

  • Push notifications
  • Geolocation
  • Payment gateways
  • Google Analytics
  • Google maps
  1. Marketing costs

These costs are the sum total of money required to promote the app over multiple platforms. The app marketing budget includes the charges for the following:

  • App store optimization
  • Google reviews
  • Ad promotion with ads
  • Social networking
  1. App patent costs

If you wish to get a patent for your product, the overall cost of all the documentation required to own an intellectual property will also impact your overall development budget.

  1. Backend server costs

In order to sync the user data on servers, a backend server is required. Thus, finalizing the server component for your app further affects the app development costs. A backend server further sums up the purpose of:

  • Storing the data online
  • Syncing the data with the cloud
  • Allowing communication with other users
  • Upload images, videos, etc

[Also Read: A Quick Guide to Mobile App Backend Development]

Some other hidden costs of creating a mobile app also include the prices of the infrastructure, support, data security, hosting, development license, and management.

Now that you have looked into various aspects of determining the average cost of mobile app development in the UAE, let us move ahead and discuss the various types of applications you can develop for your business and their estimated cost of development in Dubai or the Middle East.

Types of mobile apps available for businesses and their timeframe for development

According to a report, the time frame required to develop a mobile app depends on the overall complexity of the app. For instance, if you wish to develop an app with an extensive feature list and multiple third-party APIs, the time frame for app development can vary from 8 to 9 months. On the other hand, developing a simple app with minimum features will only take you around 3 to 6 months. Now, let us look at the various types of mobile apps you can develop for your business and their estimated cost and time frame for development.

Type of mobile app Estimated cost Time Frame
Offline stand alone app $40,000-$50,000 3 months
Online stand alone app $65,000 to $150,000 3 to 6 months
Messaging app $150,000 to $200,000 3 to 6 months
IoT App $85,000 to $250,000 4 to 8 months
Healthcare app $135,000 to $225,000 9+ months
AR/VR App $45,000 to $90,000 9+ months
On-demand app $50,000 to $175,000 9+ months
eCommerce/mCommerce app $45,000 to $85,000 3 to 6 months
Social medial app $60,000 to $195,000 9+ months
Enterprise app $150,000 to $200,000 9+ months
Marketplace app $125,000 to $185,000 3 to 6 months

Since the hourly rate of development varies as per various organizations and multiple regions across the globe, the estimated cost of developing a particular app varies as per that. Now that you have witnessed the estimated development budget to keep your financial constraints sorted beforehand, let us move ahead and help you understand how to reduce your app development costs.

Various tips to reduce the app development costs

There are a number of ways to optimize your app development costs. It is further important to keep in mind that an optimal and well-planned budget for development is the key to developing a feature rich app that gains traction in the marketplace. Let us try and summarize various ways to cut the app development costs for your business:

Tips to reduce the app development costs:

  • Cross-platform app development
  •  MVP first approach
  • Design and development by the same app development organization
  • Use off-the-shelf solutions
  1. Cross-platform app development

According to the market analysis, creating cross-platform applications allows you to save more than 30% of the total budget as compared to developing a native app for your business. The cross-platform app development tools like Flutter, Xamarin are capable of speeding up the development process.

  1. MVP first approach

In order to optimize the overall cost of development, it is recommended to get an MVP developed first. The MVP of the product includes the primary and most important features of the app.

Now testing the MVP on your target audience will help you understand their requirements better and will make way for the app to gain some traction in the market. After a solid MVP version is launched into the market, you can then switch to a full-fledged app once you get a hold of the target audience and their requirements and determine how your app solves the concerning issue.

  1. Design and development by the same app development organization

In order to reduce the overall budget for development, it is usually recommended to hire the same organization for designing as well as the development of your project. Not being required to jump between multiple fragments of development and design across multiple agencies will help you save both time and money.

  1. Use off-the-shelf solutions

Using off-the-shelf templates can allow you to reduce your app development costs, but there are some mixed reviews of this cost-cutting solution. It is always recommended to go for custom app development as per your business requirements. The latter is easy to scale as per the changing customer requirements and market constraints. On the other hand, it is rather difficult to scale the readymade templates later during the deployment phase. This further increases the overall probability of complete rebuilds, thereby doubling your expenses.

Now, our extensive guide on various tricks to reduce app development costs will help you understand how to reduce your overall budget for development and the various mistakes to avoid when developing a mobile app for your business.

Now that we have looked into various factors that affect the custom app development cost and multiple tricks to optimize the development budget, let us move ahead and discuss how you can earn money from your mobile app.

How to make money from your mobile app: Understanding the monetization strategies for your app

Now that you are able to get your app off the ground with the help of an extensive feature set and best-in-class technologies, it is now time to understand how you can make money from a mobile app custom to your business or services.

  1. In-app purchases

One of the most important monetization strategies that help you increase your revenue stream is allowing users to make in-app purchases. For instance, if you have a gaming app for your business, you can allow users to purchase various gaming tools, avatars, etc., to move to higher levels and for competing with their peers.

  1. In-app advertising

Another effective way to ensure a constant revenue stream is to offer your app space for advertisements. According to a report from Statista, more than $327 million is spent on in-app advertisements annually. Thus, advertising allows you to affiliate products and charge the users according to the views, clicks, and downloads.

  1. Freemium model

A freemium model for your app allows the users to use your app for free, but they would have to pay a certain amount in order to avail of the premium features such as using the app without in-app advertisements, availing multiple payment gateways, having certain discounts and referrals, etc.

  1. Subscription

This is one of the most sought-after monetization models chosen by multiple organizations in the Middle East area. The users are allowed to subscribe to your app on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis and avail your services accordingly.

  1. One-time fees

This monetization model allows you to gain a constant revenue stream. The users that wish to use your app can buy the app from the app store and avail your services accordingly. Make sure that your apps offer something unique to the users which will compel them to buy and use your app on a daily basis.

Now that you understand what is the average cost of app development in Dubai or UAE, it is time to determine how to figure out the best company for developing your app. So, without further ado, let us share some valuable insights on the same.

How to figure out the best app development company in UAE?

There are many outsourcing organizations available across the globe, but it is important to choose the one that is perfect for creating your mobile app as per your custom business requirements. Let us try and offer you various tips to find a reliable technology partner that can help you with high-end product development that guarantees maximum ROI.

  1. Decide the type of application you wish to develop

In order to choose the best app development agency in UAE that can work wonders for your project, it is first essential to determine the requirements you have for your app. In addition to this, finalize the budget you wish to spend on development, the time frame and deadline required to complete the app’s design, etc. Now, after all these details have been finalized, it will be easier for you to find a suitable outsourcing organization for your business.

  1. Choose a full-stack app development organization for your project

Choosing a full-stack app development organization that has years of expertise in the same and a robust portfolio will help you manage your resources effectively while optimizing the overall costs. This organization will offer you all the resources required at each development stage, and you won’t have to make extra efforts to manage multiple projects across multiple organizations.

  1. Take a look at the company’s portfolio

In order to choose the best app development agency that can help you create a robust app for your business, it is essential to take a good look at the company’s portfolio and determine if they have enough expertise to take on your custom project. Make sure to choose an organization that has a wide range of apps developed for multiple platforms and for multiple hot-shot clients.

  1. Make sure to interview the designers and developers thoroughly

Once you have decided on a few organizations that can help you design a product, make sure to take out time to properly interview their resources and app developers. Interviewing them as per your custom requirements will help you understand their expertise and you will be able to determine if they are a right fit for your business.

Summing Up – How can Appinventiv help?

So, these are the various tips to choose a reliable app development agency in UAE that can help you realize your vision. We hope this blog has given you the much-needed information regarding the mobile app development cost in UAE and the multiple factors that you need to consider in order to make a finer financial decision.

Appinventiv is a dedicated mobile app development company in Dubai that has more than eight years of expertise in the field and has created multiple mobile apps across various genres. Our expert team of developers can help you create a secure and reliable mobile app custom to your requirements. Some of our prominent clients in the UAE for whom we have achieved massive business results include KFC, Pizza Hut, Adidas, IKEA, 6th Street, and the Qatar Government (Hukoomi).

Get in touch with our team now to develop a custom app as per your business needs and redefine your presence in this digital ecosystem.

FAQs

Q. How much does it cost to build an app in the UAE?

A. The overall cost of developing an app in the UAE varies from $40,000 to $300,000. There are several factors that further affect the cost of development and those include the location of the app development agency, the UI/UC design of the app, its coding process, app’s platform, etc.

Q. What is the average time frame for app development in the UAE?

A. The time taken to complete the app development process depends on the overall complexity of the app. For instance, if you wish to develop a highly complex app with maximum features, the time frame for development would be around 9 to 10 months. On the other hand, a simple app with minimum features can be developed in 3 to 6 months.

Q. How to create a mobile app for your business?

A. Creating an intrusive mobile app requires you to carry out the following steps:

  • Analyze your target market and define a user base
  • Choose a relevant monetization model for your business app
  • Hire a dedicated app development organization in UAE
  • Build the app’s wireframe
  • Finalize the features and technologies to be implemented in your app
  • Complete the UI/UX design process
  • Carry out the quality assurance procedures to ensure seamless working of the app
  • Deploy the app in the app store
  • Maintain as per the emerging market trends

Check out this guide for more detailed insights into mobile app development.

THE AUTHOR
Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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