How much does it cost to create an app in 2023? A detailed guide

Sudeep Srivastava November 28, 2022
app development cost

Ever heard of the phrase, “there’s an app for everything?” well it’s true.  According to a report by Statista, as of the second quarter of 2022, the Google Play Store powers over 3.5 million of mobile apps globally whereas the Apple App Store stands closely at 2.2 million mobile apps.

Not only this, the Statista Digital Market Outlook estimates that the mobile app market revenue across various segments will increase and reach around $613 billion by the year 2025.

Revenue-of-mobile-apps-worldwide-2017-2025-by-segment

With such popularity, it’s not surprising to see every digital business investing into mobile app development. However, when talking about investment in mobile app development, the most common question that strikes is – How much does mobile app development cost?

This guide aims to give you a comprehensive answer to just that along with detailed insights into the associated factors that impact the app development cost, various app monetization models, mobile app development process, and how you can save money on your mobile app development.

An Overview on Average Mobile App Development Cost Estimate

In a nutshell, the tentative cost to make a mobile app can range somewhere from $25,000 to $150,000 and can also exceed $300,000 in case of customized complex apps. We used tentative because the custom mobile app development cost depends on several factors such as the app’s complexity, features and functionalities, development approach and more.

build a scalable mobile app

But don’t you worry, we have a detailed analysis of all the important factors contributing to the cost of mobile app development.

Once you are familiar with these factors, you can estimate how much it costs to build an app using the standard calculation formula. The formula or the answer to how much does it cost to create an app lies in calculating the number of hours it would take for every single development process and multiplying it to the billable hours of resources.

 costs to build an app

So let’s begin by looking into some popular apps and their development cost.

The Most Popular Global Apps and Their Development Cost

Below are the examples of a few popular apps that have redefined and transformed the concept of customer experience and are currently leading the app market. We have also mentioned the average application development cost of these apps.

Uber

Uber is a popular ride-sharing app that connects drivers and riders around the globe. Using the app, customers can request a car instantly or on schedule. Those requests are received by drivers nearby. The average cost of developing an app like Uber can range between $30,000 – $100,000

Snapchat

With over 300 million daily active users, Snapchat has become a game-changer in the world of social media apps. This popular messaging app has been a pioneer in bringing augmented reality to its users through filters and interactive lenses. The app also allows you to share multimedia messages that will “self-destruct” in up to 10 seconds. The cost to build a Snapchat-like app can be somewhere around $45,000 to $100,000 for one platform and up to $200,000 for both the platforms.

WhatsApp

Whatsapp is an instant messaging app that allows users to exchange messages along with instant video/audio calls, photo and video upload etc. The average cost to build a messaging app like WhatsApp would range from $30,000- $70,000.

[You might also want to take a look at the Social media app development cost and process]

TikTok

This video-sharing app has become inescapable and a major revolution in the entertainment world. TikTok allows users to lip-sync dialogues and re-enact their favorite scenes from different movies and music videos.

The app also offers several filters and effects to enhance your videos and images. The average cost of developing an app like TikTok will be somewhere around $60,000 to $100,000 for one platform and up to $150,000 for hybrid development.

Coursera

Coursera is an e-learning app that has gained amazing popularity among students and teachers due to the exceptional benefits it offers. The app offers a range of distance learning programs that include skill development courses to university degrees across the globe. The Coursera-like mobile app development cost might settle between $60,000-$120,000

Netflix

Netflix is the world’s leading media streaming platform. It allows users to stream shows and movies at their convenience. The average cost of developing an app like Netflix is around $25,000 to $200,000.

You might also want to know, how much does video streaming app like Disney+ costs

Popular Apps Average Cost
Uber $30,000-$100,000
Netflix $25,000-$200,000
WhatsApp $30,000-$70,000
Snapchat $45,000-$100,000
Tik-Tok $60,000-$100,000
Coursera $60,00-$120,000

While these were the estimation costs of some of the leading mobile apps in the market, we also need to discuss essential development factors that affect the overall mobile app development cost.

Top 8 Factors That Impact Your Mobile App Development Cost

Mobile app development cost is dependent on several factors that are of significance. Understanding these cost affecting factors will help you make the most cost-effective decisions and will give you the best return on your development.  Moreover, it will also help you stay within your budget.

So, let’s dive into the major factors that affect the overall cost of mobile application development.

Factors That Impact Your Mobile App Development Cost

Mobile app complexity

The average cost of developing a simple app is $5,000 – $50,000. A simple app comes with a set of basic user features such as a login system, user profile facility, dashboard and limited administration.

The cost of a medium complex app is $50,00- $120,000. A medium complex app includes a plethora of features for user engagement and app monetization. Along with basic features, these apps include social media integrations, payment gateway, audio/video streaming, user privacy, etc.

One of the prominent examples of medium-scaled development can be Appinventiv redefining  the UI/UX strategy for Domino’s, increasing its conversion rate by 23%.

A complex app could cost somewhere from $100,000 to $300,000 and above. These apps are integrated with the latest technology such as AR/VR and AI and Machine learning. Such apps also include features like multi-language support, high-end data logic, and much more.

An instance of a complex app project can be Appinventiv developing a core banking blockchain solution for Asian Bank to make crypto buying and selling easier for users. The app is a hit making over 50,000+ crypto transactions and 250,000+ app downloads.

Another real-time example of a complex app project can be Appinventiv building an innovative app for JobGet that bagged over $52 million funding, making it no.1 recruitment app for blue collar workers. Currently, over 1+ million job seekers have been placed using JobGet.

Here’s an average app development cost breakdown based on its complexity:

App Complexity Level of Complexity Average Timeline Average Cost
Simple app
  • MVP functionality
  • Basic UI
2-3 months $5,000-$50,000
Medium Complex app
  • Sophisticated features
  • Custom UI
3-9 months $50,000-$120,000
Highly complex app
  • High level advanced features
  • Bespoke UI
  • Two platforms
10+ months $100,000-$300,000

App features and functionalities

The answer to how much does it cost to create an app greatly depends on the features and functionalities you integrate into your application. The base mobile app development price for the type of app you intend to build keeps on increasing with the addition of new features.

Therefore, it is advisable to concentrate only on the core features in the initial version of the app. It will help you offer a great customer experience at affordable costs. The best option is to get an MVP developed. It is the first version of a product with a basic set of features. MVP will save time and money and help garner valuable user feedback.

Let’s take a look at the average app development cost and time required for basic features and then move on to the complex features.

Features Function Approximate Time Average cost
User Login
  • Login with social media
  • Login with email address
  • Forgot password option
  • Log out option
30-42 hours $500 – $1,000
Profile Completion
  • Add basic info
  • Add photo
  • Set region
30-40 hours $900-$1,000
Messaging
  • Online/offline status
  • Typing status
  • Send media files and documents
  • Read/sent status
170-180 hours $3,000-$5,000
Push Notifications
  • Push notifications and reminders for users
25-32 hours $1,000 – $1,200
Basic admin panel: User management
  • See list of users
  • Delete/block user
  • Create user
  • Edit user
66-90 hours $3,500-$4000

Now, here is the mobile app development cost breakdown based on advanced feature integration:

Features Function Approximate Time Average cost
Payments
  • Transaction history
  • Check balance
  • Add debit/credit card
  • Add other payment gateways such as Paytm, Paypal, etc.
60-78 hours $2,500-$3,000
Maps
  • Detect user’s location
  • Set pickup and destination point
100-120 hours $3,000-$4,000
Calls
  • Audio calls
  • List of contacts
  • Video calls
300-400 hours $14,000-$15,000

App category

The answer to how much does it cost to make an app varies greatly from category to category. When we move from one category to another, a lot of things change like the number of users, functionalities, security criteria, etc. which ultimately leads to varying costs to develop an app.

Let’s take a quick glance at the top categories of mobile app development.

E-commerce/M-Commerce apps- Ecommerce applications such as Amazon and Wayfair are at the peak of their popularity because these applications are loaded with tons of features that enable the applications to perform effectively in real-time, handle millions of users at once, and have robust security.

For instance, Appinventiv developed an easy, trustworthy and personalized shopping experience for mothers called “Edamama”, a project that raised $5 million funding and is currently serving thousands of mothers.

Another example is Adidas, the global eCommerce mobile application crafted by Appinventiv that expanded its mobile presence with over 2+ million downloads.

Social Networking apps- Social media apps are developed with third-party integrations and have the ability to access hardware functions such as cameras, audio recorders, etc. They are also highly scalable in nature for they have to support millions of users at a time.

As a result, the social media app cost tends to be higher than the cost of less complex mobile apps.

voice assistant social media app “Vyrb”

On-demand apps- Even the simplest of on-demand applications has three versions- For users, for individuals offering services, and for the business.

For instance, Acti drive is an on-demand service application modeled on IoT technology that enables drivers to drive hassle-free.

Hardware-dependent apps- All the IoT-based applications tend to be highly dependent on hardware devices for performing actions like extracting data or sending commands for a particular action.

One popular reference of IoT-based hardware-dependent apps is “Moo”, an eScooter application. Moo is the future of mobility that manages transportation at micro level which is why the application is completely hardware based.

Now, here’s an estimation cost to develop an app based on its category:

App Category Average Cost Approximate Hours
eCommerce app $50,000 – $150,000 1,200
Social media app $50,000 – $300,000 1,200
Learning app (Duolingo) $60,000 – $225,000 900
Dating app (Tinder) $50,000 – $350,000 1,400
Gaming app $60,000 – $250,000 More than 1,800

App design & animation

The next factor that adds to the answer to how much does it cost to make an app is app design. Ensuring that your users invest their time in your app, calls for a specific focus on app design.

When deciding on app design, we generally have two options – Custom and Standard UI. Customized UI is much more difficult to design and implement than the Standard UI, which makes it more expensive.

For instance: Appinventiv designed and developed an innovative mobile app for Pizza Hut along with integrating unique features to automate food ordering and delivery right at the customer’s doorstep. Through these engaging app designs and animation, the app’s conversion rate has greatly increased by 30%.

Pizza hut

Other components of mobile app design are wireframe and animation;

  • Wireframing- To create effective user experience features and maps, Wireframing is employed by the developers. Special tools like MARVEL, Balsamiq, and Photoshop are used.
  • Animation- Animation has become a popular method to make certain aspects of any application interesting and intuitive. More often than not, gaming and social media applications employ animations to a great degree.

You might also want to look at : Android vs iOS app design differences. 

Here is the mobile application development cost breakdown based on its app design:

App Process Design Tasks Average Development Time Average Development Cost (Approx)
App design research
  • Market research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Market trend analysis
  • Selecting ideal solutions
Based on niche and available resource $100-$350
UX design
  • Rough sketches
  • Low fidelity wireframes
  • High fidelity wireframes
  • Simple- 10-14 hours
  • Medium- 50-60 hours
  • Complex- 150+ hours
$2000-$8000
UI design (visuals)
  • Mood boards
  • UI mockup samples
  • Final UI mockups
  • Simple – 14-20 hours
  • Medium- 80-90 hours
  • Complex- 100+ hours
$10,000-$40,000
Branding
  • Creating brand identity
Logos, icons and social media $5,000-$20,000
Animations and illustrations
  • Visualizing user and on-screen content
  • Direct manipulation
  • User action visualization
Based on level of animations $1000-$20,000

App platform

When getting started with the mobile app development process, it’s important to choose a platform. Depending on your target audience, you can choose to build an iOS, Android, web, or cross-platform application. If you are a startup with a minimal budget, it’s better to opt for one platform initially, later on, you can shift to multiple platforms.

Here are the most popular app development platform options you can choose from:

  • Native app platform (Android & iOS)- Language-wise, iOS app development happens on Swift and Objective C, while Android App Development is done on Java and/or Kotlin.

Also check out:  how much it costs to develop an iOS application.

  • Web app platform – Apps like Progressive Web Apps and other forms of web apps are much cost-efficient as compared to native apps. In terms of cost of development, web app development cost amounts to somewhere in the range of $15,000 to $50,000.
  • Cross platform – Getting an app developed for both iOS and Android simultaneously is the new cost-efficient trend. The platform comes with a series of benefits like single code use and less development effort. The cross-platform industry is presently divided between Flutter and React Native platforms.
  • Hybrid app platform – Hybrid Apps are a blend of both native and web apps. While it is installed like a native app, it runs in a webview component.

[Also Read: Hybrid vs Native – The Better Choice for App Development]

Type of App Average Cost
Native apps (Android & iOS) $50,000 to $100,000
Cross-platform apps $25,000 to $60,000
Web apps $15,000 to $50,000
Hybrid apps $10,000 to $150,000

App maintenance

Undeniably, expenses do not come to an end at the last stage of the mobile application development process. Businesses will have to continue changing their apps to keep up with the varying market trends and new device & OS versions, which comes with a cost. What takes your budget post app development?

  • App bug fixes – There is no such thing as a bug-free mobile app. In most cases, there are bugs that are only highlighted once the app is published. You will have to keep a lookout for those bug fixes.
  • Design changes – App designs are the one element of a mobile app that tends to get old and stop enticing users. It is very important for a brand to not let their app design get outdated if they wish to keep their users hooked.

App maintenance cost is calculated yearly at the valuation of 20% of the whole mobile app development cost.

Code reuse

It’s one of the factors that bring the cost of mobile app development slashing down. When businesses decide to reuse the code of an existing app in their own app and just change the branding elements, the mobile application development cost becomes much less.

However, the experts at Appinventiv suggest businesses to reuse only the common elements like contact us, login, etc. and develop the rest from scratch, otherwise, it would become impossible to maintain a separate brand identity.

The cost for app development when the existing codes are used is 20 – 30% less than the cost of an app that is coded from scratch.

Size and location of development team

The total mobile application development cost heavily depends on who you choose for the app development. There are multiple choices at hand – a proficient app development company, local team, inhouse development team or a freelance developer.

However, an experienced mobile app development company can work wonders for your business app when it comes to crafting high end applications with top notch features and functionalities.

Here is a rough estimate of what your mobile app developer cost for app development should range to along with an outsourced app development team.

Cost Factors and Requirements Simple App Medium App Complex App
Development time 2-6 months 6-9 months 9-15 months
Developers $30-40,000 $50-60,000 $100,000+
UI/UX Designer $4-5,000 $5-7,000 $10-15,000
Project Manager $5-7,000 $10-15,000 $10,000+
QA Specialist $8-10,000 $15-20,000 $20,000+
Business Analyst $2-3,000 $5-8,000 $8-10,000
DevOps $2-4,000 $5-7,000 $10,000+
Solution Architect $1-3,000 $5-8,000 $9,000+
Total $20-50,000 $50-100,000 $100,000+

Location of app developers is another crucial factor that decides the overall app development pricing. Below we have given a table with the average cost of app development based on different geographical locations:

Region App Development Cost
India $20-40/hr
United States $80-170/hr
Ukraine $30-100/hr
Australia $80-200/hr
Russia $60-150/hr

 hire an experienced app development team

So, these were all the factors that answer how much does it cost to build an app. Now, we will discuss the hidden costs that are often overlooked when developing an app.

Hidden Factors Affecting Mobile App Development Cost

In this section, we will be discussing the most common hidden costs of mobile app development projects. Understanding these factors will help reduce risks, as well as save time and money. So, without further ado, let’s dive into each of them in detail!

Quality assurance

Depending on the size of your app, you may also need to hire a quality assurance agent or a project manager as well. You might also require business analysts to help you keep the development cost low and within your app development budget.

[Also Read: Quality Assurance Process – All About the Secret Weapon that Can Make or Break your Mobile App]

Infrastructure costs

Infrastructure costs include expenses for data storage, data delivery and app hosting. All of this adds to both the cost and complexity of a project. Examples of infrastructure cost items include servers, data storage, and development tools and libraries.

IT support costs

You can’t make a high-quality app without IT support services and continuous technical support. However, the support costs may increase over time. Examples of IT support services include iOS and Android updates, bug fixing, and API maintenance.

App publishing costs

When developers build apps, they keep in mind the app store requirements. When it comes to app store fees, it’s not that significant. When submitting an Android App on Play Store, you will have to pay a one-time fee of $25. Apple, on the other hand, charges $99 per year.

In case you want to distribute your app exclusively within your organization, you will need to pay $299 a year to join the Apple Developer Enterprise Program and provide your app via the App Store. Google Play doesn’t charge the service.

App security

App security is a major concern. Users need to trust your app with their information. For this reason, you should have a proper security plan in place.  If you consider this point at the start and include time for testing and security checks in advance, everything will be fine. If this is not the case, the costs will be higher and may be accompanied by financial and reputational losses.

Now that we are fairly familiar with all the given factors affecting mobile applications development cost, it’s time to look at the standard app development process for you to get started.

Step-by-Step Mobile App Development Process to Get Started

To build a successful app for your business, you need to go through the stages described below:

Mobile App Development Process

Research the target market

When developing an app for your business, you need to conduct research and find out more about your target market. This will help you get a clear picture of the market dynamics, how consumers interact with brands, leading players, and more. You should also dive deeper into user reviews for top apps in the market. This will help you to come up with a better product.

Choose the right platform

Your application can be compatible with both Android and iOS platforms. But, in case you have a confined budget, you can develop just an Android or iOS app. After that, you can boost your service so it can perform on another platform also.

Hire an app development company

Hiring a trusted and reliable app development company will ensure that your app includes all the latest features and functionalities within the desired deadlines.

A mobile app development company consists of app developers, UI/UX designers, project managers, and market specialists who offer valuable suggestions and always consider your vision. The company also offers access to industry expertise and latest technologies.

Build MVP

If you want to validate your app idea without spending a fortune, consider developing a minimum viable product (MVP). For a successful MVP creation, ask your app development company to identify must-have features and key USPs and then develop an app accordingly.

Test your app

Testing is another crucial step to consider when developing an app for your business. Test everything from the app’s performance and user experience to content. Proper testing helps reduce the development time and cost, identify bugs, and greatly improve your reputation as a service provider.

Submit app to stores

Once you’re satisfied with your app’s testing, you can submit your app on the Play Store or Apple’s App Store. However, when publishing an app on the App Store or Play Store, you need to comply with Apple’s and Google’s developer guidelines. Also, you need to align your monetization model with their requirements.

Launch and track performance

Once you launch your app on app stores, make sure to track its performance with the in-app analytics tools implemented during the development phase, introduce updates to increase user engagement, and address users’ requests and concerns.

This was the standard process to get started with your app development. It is now time to look at the business-cum-revenue side of the app. So, next, let’s look into the ways an app makes money.

How Do Apps Make Money?

While there are multiple ways to monetize an app, in this section, we will discuss a few most popular revenue channels for apps that you may opt for individually or in combination to earn more revenue and enhance customer value.

Advertising

It is one of the most popular ways to earn money from an application. In this monetization model, you promote services or products for third-party clients on your application, and in return, get paid.

Freemium

In this monetization model, users are allowed to access basic features for free. To access premium features, they are required to pay a certain amount. Freemium also offers the scope for implementing secondary revenue channels such as in-app advertising.

Subscription

In this model, a user will have to buy a subscription plan to access the features for which the app is mainly famous for. There can be many options under this model such as monthly subscription, yearly subscription, or per-day subscription. Major platforms like Google and Apple allow users to manage subscriptions through them.

Sponsorship

The sponsorship model involves finding a sponsor related to your niche and striking up a compensation structure. In return for the monetary compensation, the app could include the sponsor’s brand, advertise its products, or send users to its website.

Well, we have only been talking about the mobile app development estimate and associated expenses, so it’s time we introduce you to the standard practices that can help you take off some overhead expenses from your budget.

How Can You Reduce Your Mobile App Development Costs?

Fortunately, business owners and entrepreneurs can reduce the costs of developing mobile apps by following a few industry practices and applying some useful tricks.

In this section, we will take a closer look at the steps that companies can use to reduce overall custom app development costs.

Prioritize features early on

When building an app, it’s crucial to prioritize your app features correctly. It’s a smart move to prioritize the functionalities of your app to start driving business value as quickly as possible. You can save the nice-to-have elements for the later stages of development. Hence, it’s advisable to build a minimum viable product (MVP) first.

Involve quality assurance early on

Since your application is prone to bugs and errors, you need to address them as soon as possible. By involving QA professionals right from the beginning, you can identify serious problems and bugs before the development phase begins.

As a result, you will save up a huge amount that might become very high in the middle of your project.

Plan for the future

The app built today might look completely different in the future. For example, if you build an MVP, you might want to change some features on the basis of customer feedback. Your target market might evolve in a completely new direction, forcing you to change your product as well.

That’s why it’s wise to be mindful of short-term and long-term goals when developing an application. It will save you plenty of money in the long run.

In-house or outsourcing

Choosing the type of mobile app development staffing structure is an important element of your project planning. Your final decision will influence budget costs, workflow structure, and even the product maintenance concept. So, the ultimate question is what to choose – outsourcing or in-house development.

Outsourcing is when you hire an already established team for the development project. In order to outsource the app development process, the company gets access to a pool of exceptional talent to choose from. It also allows you to cut down on office expenses and equipment costs and minimize internal workflow.

In case you’re still not sure about what to choose for app development, read our detailed article on in-house vs outsourcing.

Consider cross-platform development

Every entrepreneur when launching an app faces a dilemma –  whether to launch for just Android, iOS, or both platforms. Creating native apps for both platforms is not cost-effective.  If you create an app for just one platform, you can potentially miss out on a large chunk of the user base on the other platform.

The best solution is to develop cross-platform apps that work on both platforms. Twitter is one of the best examples of a cross-platform mobile app. Popular technologies for developing cross-platform apps include Flutter, Unity 3D, React Native, amongst others.

Whether you are a small to medium sized brand or an established enterprise revitalizing your digital presence, the team at Appinventiv can deliver a solution that works for you. Want to know how?

How Can Appinventiv Help You With Mobile App Development Cost Estimation?

So, how much does it cost to create an app? Well, it’s quite evident that there is no clear-cut prediction for this question. Considering all the influencing factors should help you arrive at a nearly accurate cost for turning your innovative app idea into a reality.

In case you still feel that calculating the final cost of mobile application development is strenuous, you can consult a reliable app development company like Appinventiv for top-notch mobile app development services.

The experts here specialize in building and launching the most innovative and scalable app with next-gen features and functionalities. Appinventiv has designed and developed transformational apps for some of the most popular global brands including KFC, IKEA, Dominos etc.

Therefore, If you are planning to build such innovative mobile apps or want to get a rough estimate for creating an app for your business, contact our experts to get started.

How Much Does it Cost To Create An App

FAQs on Mobile App Development Costs

Q. How much does it cost to make an app?

A. Though it’s impossible to predict an accurate custom mobile app costs, here are the approximate costs:

  • Simple apps: $5,000- $50,000
  • Medium complex app development: $50,000-$100,000
  • Complex app development: $100,000- $300,000 and above

Q. How much does it cost to maintain an app?

A. During the first year after launch, your costs of maintaining an app can be 50% of the initial cost for app development. Later on, your yearly budget for app maintenance can be somewhere between 15% to 20% of the initial cost.

Q. How long does it take to build an app?

A. On average, apps can take anywhere between three and nine months or more to develop, depending on the complexity of the app and structure of your project.

However, for detailed insights, you can either check out: How long does it take to build an app or get in touch with a mobile app development company.

Q. What are the factors that affect the overall app development costs?

A. Some of the factors that affect the app development costs include features and functionalities, the complexity of the app, app design and animation, code reusability, size and  location of your development team etc, along with other hidden app development factors.

Sudeep Srivastava
THE AUTHOR
Sudeep Srivastava
CEO, Appinventiv
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