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How much will it cost to create an app in 2023? A comprehensive guide

App Development 2023

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As of the second quarter of 2022, the Google Play Store will power over 3.5 million mobile apps globally, while the Apple App Store will have close to 2.2 million mobile apps. This only goes to show that the phrase, “there’s an app for everything,” is true.

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

With its immense popularity, it’s no wonder that every digital business is investing in mobile app development. However, when discussing investment in mobile app development, the most frequently asked question is – How much does mobile app development cost & How do we develop it including Who Develops this, and How we can find the right set of developers and designers for us?

The purpose of this guide is to provide you with a thorough response to that question, as well as comprehensive insights into the associated factors that impact app development cost, various app monetization models, the mobile app development process, and how you can save money during mobile app development.

A Generalised Estimate of the Mobile Application Development Cost

In short, the cost of developing a mobile app can range from $14,000 to $210,000, and in some cases, it can be more than $300,000. The reason we use the word “tentative” is that the cost of developing a custom mobile app depends on several factors, such as the complexity of the app, the features and functionality, the development approach, and more.

But you no need to panic. We have analyzed all the important factors that contribute to the cost of mobile app development in detail. After you are familiar with these factors, you can estimate the cost of building an app using the standard calculation formula. The formula or the answer to how much it costs to create an app lies in calculating the number of hours it would take for every single development process and multiplying it by the billable hours of resources.

The cost of developing the world’s most popular apps

Among the many popular apps that have redefined customer experience and currently sit at the top of the app market, we have chosen a few examples to share. We have also included the average cost of developing these applications.

Instagram

With a daily active user base of over 300 million, Instagram has transformed the landscape of social media apps. This popular messaging app was a trailblazer in bringing augmented reality to its users through filters and interactive lenses. The cost to build an Instagram-like app can be somewhere in the range of $45,000 to $100,000 for one platform and up to $200,000 for both platforms.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is an instant messaging app that enables users to communicate through instant video/audio calls, photo, and video uploads, etc. On average, it would cost $30,000- $70,000 to construct a messaging app like WhatsApp.

Upgrad

Upgrad is an e-learning app that has become extremely popular among students and teachers due to the many benefits it offers. The app provides a range of distance learning programs that encompass skill development courses for university degrees from around the world. The cost of developing an Upgrad-like mobile app might fall between $40,000-$140,000.

Disney Hotstar

Disney+Hotstar is the leading media streaming OTT platform, allowing users to stream shows and movies at their convenience. The average cost of developing an app like Disney + Hotstar ranges from $25,000 to $200,000.

Delivery

Delivery is a hyperlocal app that lets people order online from their favorite local restaurants, liquor stores, grocery stores, and laundry and dry cleaning providers. The cost of developing a Delivery-like mobile app might fall between $20,000-$60,000.

In addition to the estimated 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. These factors can include anything from the complexity of the app to the number of features required.

Major Factors That Impact Your App Development Cost

The cost of developing a mobile app depends on several important factors. By understanding these cost-affecting factors, you can make more cost-effective decisions that will give you the best return on your investment. Additionally, it will also help you stay within your budget.

Now, let’s take a look at the major factors that affect the overall cost of mobile app development.

Mobile app complexity

The cost of developing a simple app can range from $5,000 to $50,000. A simple app would include a set of basic user features such as a login system, user profile facility, dashboard, and limited administration.

If you’re looking for something a little more complex, the cost of a medium-complex app can range from $50,000 to $120,000. These types of apps include a plethora of features for user engagement and app monetization. Along with basic features, these apps also include social media integrations, payment gateway, audio/video streaming, and user privacy controls.

A complex app could cost you anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 or more, depending on the features you want to be included. Many of these apps are integrated with the latest technology, such as AR/VR and AI. They also might have multi-language support, high-end data logic, and other special features.

CloudTrains is a real-time example of a complex app project. The company built an innovative app for OneRoof NZ that bagged over $10 million in funding, making it the no. 1 app in the real estate industry.

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

Level of ComplexityFunctionsAverage TimelineApproximate Cost
Basic Appa) MVP functionality
b) Intuitive Interface (UI)
3-4 Months$5000-$50000
Intermediate Appa) Sophisticated features
b) Custom UI
3-7 Months$50,000-$120,000
Highly Advanced Appa) High-level advanced features
b) Bespoke UI
c) Multiple platforms supported
10+ months$100,000-$300,000

App features and functionalities

The cost of developing a mobile app depends on the features and functionality you want to include. The base price for developing this type of app increases with the addition of new features.

Therefore, it’s advisable to only focus on the core features for the initial version of the app. It’ll help you provide a great customer experience at an affordable price. The best option is to get an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) developed. It’s the first version of a product with a basic set of features. An MVP will save you time and money while also helping you garner valuable user feedback.

FeaturesFunctionalitiesApproximate TimeApproximate Budget
User Login/Sign UpSignup/Login with social media
Signup/Login with email address
Forgot password option
Log out option
30-42 hours$500 – $1,000
User ProfileAdd basic info
Add photo
Set region
30-40 hours$900-$1,000
MessagingOnline/offline status
Typing status
Send media files and documents
Read/sent status
170-180 hours$3,000-$5,000
Push NotificationsPush notifications and reminders for users25-32 hours$1,000 – $1,200
Basic admin panel: User managementSee list of users
Delete/block user
Create user
Edit user
66-90 hours$3,500-$4000

Here is a mobile app development cost breakdown based on advanced feature integration:

FeaturesFunctionalitiesApproximate TimeApproximate Budget
PaymentsTransaction history
Check balance
Add debit/credit card
Add other payment gateways such as Paytm, Paypal, etc.
60-78 hours$2,500-$3,000
MapsDetect user’s location
Set pickup and destination point
100-120 hours$3,000-$4,000
CallsAudio calls
List of contacts
Video calls
300-400 hours$14,000-$15,000

App category

The cost of developing a mobile app varies widely depending on the 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 look at the top categories of mobile app development:

E-commerce/M-commerce apps like Amazon, Nykaa Fashion, Flipkart & Myntra have become increasingly popular due to their expansive feature sets that allow for real-time performance, millions of concurrent users, and robust security.

For example, CloudTrains created an app for ”Forever21″. The project raised $10 million in funding and is currently serving thousands of customers.

Social media apps are developed with integrations from third-party sources and have access to hardware functions, such as cameras and audio recorders. They are also highly scalable, being able to support millions of users at one time. The social media app cost is often higher than the cost of simpler mobile apps because they require more time and effort to develop.

On-demand apps have three versions- one for users, one for individuals offering services, and one for businesses. On demand insurance apps such as Metromile provides insurance coverage for drivers with transparent pricing. On the other hand, the company Digital Risks allows covering against loss due to cyber liability, public liability, and employer’s liability.

Hardware-dependent apps are a type of app that relies heavily on hardware devices to function properly. IoT-based applications are a prime example of this, as they often rely on devices like sensors and controllers to extract data or send commands.

One popular example of a hardware-dependent IoT app is “Moo”, an eScooter application. Moo is designed to manage transportation at a micro level, which is why it is completely hardware based.

App Design Factors

The next factor that contributes to the cost of making 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 example, CloudTrains designed and developed a mobile app for Forever21 that integrates innovative features into the eCommerce App to increase traffic and gives their customers a new experience shopping. Thanks to the app’s engaging design and animation, the conversion rate increased by 60%.

Other components of mobile app design include wireframing and animation.

Wireframing is used by developers to create effective user experience features and maps. Special tools like MARVEL, Balsamiq and Photoshop are used.

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.

App platform

There are a few things to consider when choosing a platform for your mobile app development processes, such as your target audience and whether you want 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. You can always shift to multiple platforms later on.

There are a few 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.

Web App Platform: When it comes to cost-efficiency, web app platforms like Progressive Web Apps have a clear advantage over native apps. Development costs for web apps tend to be much lower, ranging from $15,000 to $50,000.

Cross-Platform: Developing an app for both iOS and Android platforms 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 web view component.

App Development TypeAverage 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

Undoubtedly, expenses don’t come to a halt at the final stage of mobile application development. Businesses will need to continue changing their apps to stay updated with the ever-changing market trends and new device & OS versions, and this of course comes at a cost. So what drains your budget after you’ve developed your app?

App bug Fixes- It’s important to keep your app up-to-date with the latest bug fixes and design changes. Bug fixes are essential in keeping your app running smoothly and design changes can help keep your app looking fresh and inviting for users. Keep an eye out for both so you can make sure your app is always in top shape!

Design Changes- Outdated app designs are one of the main reasons users stop using an app. To keep your users engaged, it is important to make sure your app design is updated regularly.

App maintenance cost is calculated yearly and is typically 10-15% of the total mobile app development cost.

Size and location of the development team

The total mobile application development cost is primarily determined by the team or individual you select for the development process. There are multiple options to choose from – a competent app development company, a local team, an in-house development team, or a freelance developer. Though an experienced mobile app development company may be more expensive, they often deliver a higher quality product with better features and functionality than their less experienced counterparts. In the end, the decision of who to entrust with your project is up to you and should be based on your specific needs and budget.

The 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:

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

Quality assurance

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

Infrastructure costs

Infrastructure costs can quickly add up and become complex. They include data storage, delivery, and app hosting expenses. Examples of infrastructure cost items are servers, data storage, and development tools and libraries.

IT support costs

You can’t have a high-functioning app without IT support services to back it up. However, as time goes on you may need to increase your budget for these kinds of services. Some examples of IT support services include updates for iOS and Android, bug fixing, and API maintenance.

App publishing costs

As a developer, when you build an app you have to take into account the requirements of the app store. In terms of app store fees, it’s not a make-or-break cost. For example, when submitting an Android App to the Play Store, you pay a one-time fee of $25. Apple, on the other hand, charges $99 per year.

However, if you want to distribute your app exclusively within your organization, you’ll need to pay $299 a year to join the Apple Developer Enterprise Program and make your app available via the App Store. Google Play doesn’t charge for this service.

The Mobile App Development Process You Need to Follow

The Stages You Need to Go Through to Build a Successful App for Your Business :

Define Your Target Market

When it comes to developing an app for your business, research is key. You need to get a clear understanding of your target market, how consumers interact with brands, and what the leading players are doing. Additionally, user reviews for top apps can give you some valuable insights into how to improve your product.

Select Right Platform for App Development

When it comes to developing a mobile application, there are a few things you need to take into account. One of the most important deciding factors is which platforms you want your app to be compatible with. If you’re on a tight budget, you may have to choose between Android and iOS. However, you can always develop your app for one platform first and then expand to others later on. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each option so that you can make the best decision for your app.

Hire Right App Development Partner for You

It is no secret that the mobile app industry is booming.With over two billion active app users, there is a lot of opportunity for businesses to take advantage of this growing trend.

However, before you can start reaping the benefits of having a mobile app, you need to make sure that you have a reliable and trustworthy app development company by your side.

A trusted app development company will not only help you create a high-quality app, but they will also make sure that it includes all the latest features and functionalities that your users will love.

In addition, a reliable app development company will work with you to ensure that your app is released on time and within your budget.

So, if you are looking to hire a trusted and reliable app development company, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Start Building MVP

If you’re looking to validate your app idea without spending a fortune, you may want to consider developing a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP can help you identify must-have features and key USPs for your app, and can be developed relatively cheaply compared to a full-fledged app. Of course, it’s important to work with a reputable and experienced app development company to ensure your MVP is successful.

Testing Your App

It is no secret that developing an app for your business can be costly and time-consuming. What many businesses don’t realize, however, is that testing is another crucial step to consider. Test everything from the app’s performance and user experience to content. Proper testing helps reduce development time and cost, identify bugs, and greatly improve your reputation as a service provider.

Time to Launch App

When it comes to Android app development, there are many different stages that you need to go through in order to get your app onto the Google Play Store.The first stage is of course to create your app. This is where you will need to come up with an idea, design it, and then code it. Once you have your app ready, the next stage is to get it tested. This is where you will need to use Android app development tools to test your app on a variety of devices.

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.

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.

How Do Apps Make Money?

There are a lot of ways to monetize an app. You can go for ads, in-app purchases, or even paid subscriptions. But which one is the best for you? In this section, we will discuss a few of the most popular revenue channels for apps. You can choose one or a combination of them to earn more revenue and enhance customer value.

Advertising

Are you looking for a way to monetize your app? If so, you may be thinking about using in-app advertising. In-app advertising is one of the most popular ways to earn money from an app. 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. This model is beneficial for both the user and the company. The user gets to use the basic features for free, and the company gets to generate revenue from the premium features. This model also offers the scope for implementing secondary revenue channels such as in-app advertising.

Subscription

If you’re looking for a way to access the features of your favorite app without having to pay for a subscription, you’re in luck. There are a number of subscription-free models out there that can provide you with the same great experience without breaking the bank. From per-day to monthly and even yearly subscriptions, you can find a plan that fits your needs and budget. And, thanks to platforms like Google and Apple, managing your subscriptions is easier than ever.

Sponsorship

App development costs can be prohibitive for small businesses and individual developers, but there are a few ways to keep them down.One way to save on app development costs is to use a sponsorship model. In this type of arrangement, you find a sponsor related to your niche and negotiate 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. This could be a win-win situation for both parties involved. The sponsor gets promotion for its products or brand, and you get to keep your app development costs down. Of course, this type of arrangement is not without its risks. You need to be careful that the sponsor is a reputable company and that the compensation you receive is fair. Otherwise, you could end up with an app that doesn’t meet your needs or worse, one that could damage your reputation. If you do decide to go the sponsorship route, be sure to do your research and only work with companies you trust.

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

Now coming to the main question- how much does it cost to develop an app? The answer to this question is not very simple as there are a number of factors that come into play while calculating the cost of developing an app.

However, we can give you a rough estimate of the cost depending on the factors mentioned above. The cost of developing an app varies from $10,000 to $250,000. However, the average cost of developing an app is $50,000. This cost can go up or down depending on the factors mentioned above.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the factors that influence the cost of developing an app: The Platform: The cost of developing an app for Android is different from the cost of developing an app for iOS. Android apps are generally cheaper to develop as compared to iOS apps. This is because Android is an open source platform and there are many free tools and resources available for Android app development.

On the other hand, iOS is a closed source platform and the tools and resources required for iOS app development are expensive. The Number of Features: The cost of developing an app also depends on the number of features you want in your app. The more features you want, the higher the cost will be.

The Location: The cost of developing an app also varies depending on the location where you want to get your app developed. For instance, if you want to get your app developed in the US, the cost will be higher as compared to other countries.

Thus, these are some of the factors that influence the cost of developing an app. If you want to get a rough estimate of the cost of developing an app, you can contact us and we will be happy to help you.

FAQs on Mobile App Development Costs

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

Although 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

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

The first year after launching an app, the costs of maintaining it can be 50% of the initial app development cost. Later on, the yearly budget for app maintenance can be 15-20% of the initial cost.

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

Depending on the app’s complexity and the project’s structure, apps usually take between three and nine months or more to develop. For more detailed information, you can either consult the article “How long does it take to build an app” or get in touch with a mobile app development company.

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

Factors such as features and functionality, the complexity of the app, app design and animation, code reusability, size and location of your development team, and other hidden app development costs all affect how much it will cost to develop an app.

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