How Much an App Development Cost – 2024 Detailed Overview
- by Beantsingh Duggal
- 24 minutes read
- 25.6k Views
You have a brilliant app idea that could change the game. You have done extensive research on the app idea and extracted some useful information for the technical implementation. But before putting it into the development process, have you planned the budget for the same?
If this question has left you pondering, you’re not alone. In a bustling app market, where the Google Play Store is loaded with a soaring 3.55 million apps and the Apple App Store with 1.6 million apps, these queries consistently arise among app owners: “Which platform to choose for my app development?” and “How much will it cost to bring my app to life?”
Okay, you asked it, we heard it! Your curiosity has led you to the right place. In this blog, we’ll delve deep into the factors that influence the app development cost. This cost analysis guide will guide you in the right direction to prepare your app development budget to consider.
So, let’s crunch the numbers and understand what it takes to build an app!
How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App in 2024?
It is hard to answer the question ‘how much it will cost to make an app’ in 2024. No one can give you a precise estimate of the costs without understanding the nature and vision of your app.
There is no fixed price because it depends on many factors like app features, design, app development team location, and more.
Think of it as buying a car or a bike. You cannot come up with an accurate price unless you know the model, engine capacity, and other features of the vehicle.
Similarly, there are different factors, considerations, and price tiers when developing an app. Below is a breakdown of the factors that determine the app development cost:
App Market & Requirement Analysis and Planning
It’s the pre-development stage that involves app market research, technology stack planning, development team assignment, project timeline, and much more.
Also, the effectiveness of this app market analysis and planning service can vary depending on factors like app complexity, target market, app scope analysis, and expertise of the talents working on the same.
However, considering the overall cost estimation for this pre-development service can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 – based on the specialty of the app research team.
The App Development Type
The first factor affecting the development cost is the type of app that you are building. There are various app types, and each with a different set of feature requirements, determining its development cost.
Some of the popular app types include e-commerce apps, social networking apps, on-demand apps, data-driven apps, and functionality apps. Some of these app types may have similar features, but they all take different approaches to build.
Additionally, your app may fall into a distinct category like gaming, music, business, health, travel, education, etc. The cost of your app will change with the app category.
It’s all subjective matter as per the features and functionalities it carries. However, games, enterprise apps, healthcare and medical apps, AR/VR apps, fintech apps, IoT apps, and other custom app types can cost more than other app categories.
The Complexity of the App Concept
The app development cost rises with the complexity of the app with its concept, design, architecture need, platform for the development, and much more.
The app concept complexity type plays an essential role in calculating cost to develop an app. It considers types of features, functionalities, no. of screens, action buttons, the programming complexity, business logic, etc., the app will have.
Apart from these, app development types are also categorized based on their complexities, like:
Simple or basic apps are the ones designed with a minimalistic and straightforward user interface, implemented with limited functionalities to fulfill a specific scope.
These apps have the characteristics like:
- Simplicity at core;
- Provide only essential features and functionalities;
- Lightweight in terms of memory and processing power usage;
- Limited set of task efficiency;
- Clean and uncluttered UI, making app easy to navigate;
- Quick accesses, so users can access it for the immediate use;
- Requests minimal permissions from users;
- Enhanced privacy and security;
- Need very less app maintenance and support.
To-do apps, content editors, basic manual tracking/record keeping apps, and many others are the types of basic apps.
Considering all these factors, basic apps could cost around $5,000 – $50,000 and more.
Such apps are also known as moderately complex ones that require more sophisticated programming than the basic ones. These apps are often designed to meet more diverse user needs. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of mid-level apps:
- Offer multiple functions or services within a unified interface;
- Have a diverse range of use cases;
- More screens, features, and functions;
- Contains data storage and web server support for better accessibility;
- More refined user interface with many interaction points as per features;
- May contain custom and third-party API integrations;
- May allow users to customize their app experience.
Email management apps, entertainment apps (audio/video streaming apps), productivity suites, project management apps, e-commerce apps, fitness tracking apps, and more are the types of mid-level apps.
Considering all these factors and app development types, mid-level app development can cost around $10,000 – $250,000 and more.
High-end or complex or sophisticated apps – you say, are the ones that offer extensive capabilities to do users’ advanced tasks. These apps are designed to tolerate complex or specialized user demands at a time at scale, often on a professional or enterprise level. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of the high-end apps for a better understanding:
- Niche and industry-oriented apps, such as healthcare, finance, engineering, etc.;
- Require highly thoughtful and easy-to-navigate app user interface;
- Highly customized apps;
- Real-time support is must required;
- A wide range of functions and features, such as data analytics, user management, etc.;
- Require sophisticated programming and complex-yet-advanced technical architecture;
- Implemented with top-notch internet security best practices, functions, and compliances.
Taking the app design and development factors, the cost of high-end app development typically falls within the range of $50,000 – $1 million or more.
App Architecture Planning and Designing
Proper architecture planning is required for the app to meet functional requirements, scale efficiently, perform smoothly, and offer better maintenance opportunities.
It is the technical side planning with what your tech experts can help you with. They can help you do research, gather insights, plan the app architecture, and create a blueprint to perfectly structure your app.
Proper app architecture blueprinting helps tech geniuses better understand tools and technologies to use for particular feature and function implementations and where there’s a need for API integration and customization.
In this stage, your app requirement and market research will help you a lot to consider the app’s purpose, target audience, core features, and any specific technical constraints or requirements.
Post this, you should define the app architecture you want to design, from Monolithic, Microservices, Client-Server, or Event-driven. Considering the technology suitability of your app architecture, your IT partner will help you with the technology stack selection and further planning, plotting, and designing.
Well, app architecture planning is quite a factor-rich service, which can cost based on the service-engagement type you select:
- Hourly Rate: As per our research, many app architecture planning consultants or firms charge on an hourly basis, which is around $25 – $100 or more, considering the quality of services they are providing.
- Fixed-Price Projects: Based on the clarity of your app requirements, some IT consultants or firms provide a fixed-price quote. These fixed-price projects can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars or more.
Apart from these two engagement models, your app architecture planning service may depend on factors such as the scope of work, app concept complexity, experience and expertise requirements, geographic location of the IT partner, and much more.
App Design Requirements
App design is the most essential and integral part of app development, which you must not ignore. The cost for the design task adds up based on the customization required as it could require more time investment, impacting the cost.
When designing your mobile app, you must keep a few factors in mind, including User Experience, User Interface and Visuals, and Branding. And the effectiveness of your mobile app design heavily depends on how beautifully you craft these three major design factors.
We all know what these “” and “” signs interpret for us. Any guesses? Yeah! The first one is from Netflix and the second one is from NIKE. Both are our beloved brands! But do you know it’s not just about the logo, even the color palette selection plays its part in creating a vibrant brand image? It’s their unique BRANDING we all know as they are today!
It is the first and foremost design part you must finalize to create your unique and robust brand identity and presence. If you’re creating an e-commerce app, you must design its brand identity in such a way that even by looking at a random screen, your target audience can easily identify your app and prioritize it above other competitors.
So, yes, when creating your business-oriented app, the charges of its branding services also come within your app development cost. Some do consider it as an additional service, but you better not, as your app design partner is responsible for creating the branding through app design color and visual selections.
So, how much does the app branding service cost? It’s also categorized into different branding service types, including:
- Basic Branding Services: It includes logo design and color palette development as per your requirements. So, it can cost anywhere from $2,000 – $10,000 or more, depending on the logo design complexities and app cost.
- Comprehensive Branding Service Packages: These can include logo design, brand guidelines creation, typography selection, color schemes, and marketing material design. It’s an ongoing kind of service package that companies with branding and digital marketing services can offer. So, such comprehensive branding packages can cost around $5,000 – $30,000 or more based on their effective service standards.
Apart from the geographical location, expertise, licensing and usage rights, timeline, and urgency are the other app branding cost-affecting factors.
User Experience (UX) Design
As the name suggests, UX design stands for the app’s usability and effective user experience through using this app. “How helpful will your users find your app?” UX design is all about that!
When designing your app, you should aim for an interface that is visually stunning, smooth to navigate, contains everything in the right place, and minimizes users’ app understanding time.
So, UX design service includes:
- User research and understanding user psychology;
- Creating wireframes;
- Button design and placements;
- Planning for the interactions;
- App animation planning, and much more.
In short, UX design service comprises most research, understanding, and planning-oriented tasks, which ask for extensive design industry experience. This design service includes user research, UX strategy, information architecture (button, icon, other design-related information), wireframing, and ongoing usability testing.
The UX design and UI design go hand-in-hand?! Hence, we’ve stated the total app design cost in the later section for better understanding.
User Interface (UI) Design
This is the visual representation that you must design for users to find it appealing and interesting to explore further. The time and efforts invested in this app UI/UX design process directly impact the cost of the app development.
After the UX planning, your design process undergoes creating many design mockups to finally find the one appropriate design that anyone wants to spend their time on.
Hence, your UI/UX design service partner will consider the following factors to design a mindblowing app UI/UX design:
- Layout and Structure design
- Navigation Design
- Visual Design
- Interaction Design
- Responsive Design
- Usability Testing and Followup
As they consider all these points when designing a perfect app UI/UX design, it would cost around $5,000 – $50,000 and more, depending on the number of screens to be designed, uniqueness in the design, urgency, no. of designers involved, their country, and more.
The Technology Platform Used to Build an App
When it comes to deciding on the app development platform, there’s always a debate on whether to go for the Native, Hybrid, or cross-platform app development. Don’t worry! You’re not alone in this dilemma because each and every app conceptualizer planning to bring it to life gets into this situation.
When the cost is the concern, many choose to go for Cross-platform app development as it can help them save up to 30-40% of time and cost to be invested in the Native app development.
Of course, when running on a tight budget, it’s advisable to go for cross-platform app development, but thinking of better performance and long-term reliability, Native app development should be the choice.
It’s not like cross-platform apps are not reliable. Of course, they are reliable, but in the need for real-time promptness and complex app concept configurations, native apps are more advisable.
The difference is – cross-platform app development covers the single codebase for the entire app that will run across iOS and Android mobile devices. On the other hand, in Native there are different code bases for iOS apps and Android apps. So now, it’s almost clear to you what to choose for your app concept.
However, taking experts’ advice for your app concept is more advisable.
Size and Location of the Development Team
Apart from the app development type and technology selections, the size and location of your app design and development team can also impact your app cost. If we consider the region-wise app developers’ hourly hiring costs, then it would cost around something, as shown in the image below:
So, if you are running on a tight budget, you may want to outsource your work to a top mobile app development company operating in India or any other country with a reliable median cost per hour.
Type of App Development Engagement Model You Choose
You must be thinking about how different types of app development engagement models can help control the app development cost. Well, here’s the catch!
Each development engagement model follows unique methodologies to deliver the effective app you need within the given timeframe and cost.
The fixed-cost model is for apps with clear scope and requirements and owners who know the exact flow. It helps you cut all the time and thus cost being invested in brainstorming sessions.
With this, you can get the app in their hands in the appropriate timeline with perfect project execution planning and management. This model is flexible to meet any type of development methodologies, such as Agile methodologies, DevOps practices, Waterfall model, etc.
In the case of hourly hiring, you pick a team of your own from a different team and introduce them to your project. Then, you and your team will together brainstorm on what to do next based on shared research. Through this, you come to output, meeting your varying requirements. It may look like time taking, but it’s not, it’s very flexible and agile as you delve deep.
Once your development plan is ready, you can make your remote dedicated team work in an agile manner for faster and better app development output.
Therefore, when looking to develop a world-class app with a unique concept that no one has ever built to date, you should go for the Hourly engagement model – hire dedicated mobile app developers to better keep track of your investment, pause and resume your project when and as needed with much more flexibility.
Although, both engagement models at MindInventory, offer clients the flexibility and efficiency they need to get their app developed within the appropriate timeline and budget.
App Features & Functionalities and API Integrations
App features and functionalities are the main cost-affecting factors. You’ll find countless features to include in your mission-critical app, but how many of them are necessary ones – without which your app is useless? So, first only focus on the required features’ implementation that can help your app to get users’ attention.
Apart from implementing features from scratch, you can also directly integrate some third-party APIs into your app to avoid additional feature development time and ensure app efficiency.
Basically, the following features are the most important ones that every app should have to offer a better user experience:
Since features do not have a fixed price tag, you cannot expect their price to remain the same in every project.
The number of features, along with the process and complexity associated with each one, determine the cost of app development.
If you’re running on a tight budget, it’s better to start with the MVP app development with only the required core features implementation just to initially launch your app in the market.
Remember that MVP development of your app is similar to full-fledged development, with the difference of focusing on the core features only to check the app’s market popularity and future stability.
The cost of the MVP development can vary as per the app development type, expertise of the designers and developers, location of the team, and the type of services being provided.
However, generally, you expect the MVP development cost anywhere between $10,000 – $50,000 or more. Let’s further break the cost for the same for the different development aspects:
Please note that this is just an estimation, not an actual cost of developing your MVP. So, it’s better to consult multiple app developers to get a mobile app development cost estimation.
Full-fledged App Development
After the success of your MVP solution, the full-fledged app development also counts under the total app development cost. Here, you implement additional features over the core ones, making your app full-fledged and super handy for users.
As compared to MVP development, this total app development will take some more time and require much more effort and careful planning for better app development task executions. This process can also ask for redesigning the app based on the app performance and user behavior report you receive.
However, the total redesigning of an app is not the case with every app. Some only require the app design adjustments as per the new features to be added. Hence, the cost for this would be calculated as per design changes and efforts put into the same.
In case you already have an MVP of your app ready, the cost of full-fledged app development would cost 20-50% less to develop an app.
You can also refer to the previously mentioned mobile app development cost mentioned in the “the complexity of the app concept” section.
App Security Implementation and Compliance Cost
In this internet age, where hackers are looking for the opportunity to breach your app wall, you should be extra careful when creating your business-critical app to not leave any loopholes behind.
As per the Statista report circulated in 2022, mobile apps are the most chosen target for cyberattacks:
- It states that around 55.7% of cyber threats were reported in the category of synthetic fraud. (Identity theft by creating fake accounts acting as the original accounts with the combination of stolen social security no. or DOB to create a new identity)
- While 50.1% of users are concerned as their app has been hacked by malicious personalities.
- Moreover, around 28.5% of app users face app security concerns due to existing on-device malware.
According to the data breach report 2023 by IBM and Ponemon Institute, on average, the data breach can cost a business around $4.45 million.
And you definitely don’t want to pay that much amount for an app breach. Hence, you must prioritize app security from the beginning of the app development.
Let’s come to the main question, “how much does the app security and compliance service cost?”
The cost of the app security and compliance varies according to the following factors:
- The size and complexity of the app
- Industry and regulatory requirements for the app to comply with
- Experience and expertise of the app security team
- Tools and technologies they choose to harden your app
However, on average, you can expect to pay around $5,000 – $50,000 or more for app security implementation and compliance.
App Testing & Quality Assurance
After development and security implementation, the next app cost-affecting factor is app testing and quality assurance. Here, you can go for two types of testing: Manual App Testing and Automated App Testing.
Manual app testing may take some more time but offers the best results, whereas Automated app testing is time-saving and much preferred by those looking for quick and reliable outcomes.
For this service, you may need to hire QA engineers with the required skills to execute the app testing and quality assurance tasks.
The cost for the app testing and QA service may depend on factors such as:
- Size and complexity of the app
- Testing requirements (Manual, Automated, or Both)
- Location and expertise of the QA engineers
Also, if considering the hourly model for the dedicated QA engineers, you may expect to pay between $25 – $75 per hour for the app testing and quality assurance services.
The most important thing is that you need the support of App developers to publish your app in the respective app stores for your target audience to access it easily.
The cost for the same may vary depending on the app store type:
Apple App Store for the iOS App:
- Individual Developer Program: $99 per year
- App Store Small Business Program (business with $1 million annual revenue): $99 per year
- Apple Developer Enterprise Program: $299 per year
Google Play Store:
- Developer Account: $25 one-time fee
App Support & Maintenance Cost
It’s hard to believe, but yes, the expense list for your mobile app development project will never end. If you look on the bright side, this investment would help in making your app better performant.
Using app support & maintenance service, you can keep your app up-to-date with the latest technology trends, design trends, and newly arised system bugs and loopholes.
The app maintenance service cost can depend on factors like app size and complexity, app features, frequency of app updates, app platform, and team.
However, the app maintenance and support service may cost between 15% – 20% of the original development cost every year.
If you’ve taken a fixed-price bucket model, you’ll find this service already included. So, no need to buy this service additionally. You only have to renew your contract with a particular subscription cost. And MindInventory provides that, too.
App Store Optimization and App Marketing
As an additional service, you can also opt for App Store optimization and app marketing services to boost your app’s digital presence and gain better audience interest.
These services are flexible to how much you’re willing to pay for a better digital presence. However, considering the consultancy and expert services, it can cost you around $2,000 – $10,000 on average a month.
How to Reduce the Mobile App Development Cost?
Well, as we have mentioned here many times, the cost to develop an app is totally variable depending on its development factors. However, by considering a few following points, you can avoid paying extra costs:
- Features: As we said before, you’ll find countless features, but how many of them are really useful for your app’s success? So, figure out the necessary features that can make your app useful for your target audience to avoid budget overhead.
- Practices: As the timeline and budget is the constraint, following the Agile and DevOps methodologies, you can plan and execute app development processes accordingly. The reason is transparency and a better boost to team collaboration and communication.
- Service model: With a fixed budget project, you have to put your entire budget at once, but in the case of hourly hiring, you have control over skills, working hours, and even cost to manage according to your requirements. So, choose the model that you think can help save up some cost from the average cost of app development.
- Consider Cross-platform Development: If you need top-notch performance, go for the Native app development, but if you need reliable performance in a single code base for both – Android and iOS development at a better cost, then go for the cross-platform development with the help of technologies, like Flutter and React Native.
So, these were the effective ways to consider to cut down extra costs to create an app vital for your business.
How Can MindInventory Become Your Ally in App Development?
When your business is fantastic and doing an amazing job, even if operating offline or with traditional digital technology, why make it stay away from the top-notch mobile app development solution?
Now that you’ve thought of creating a great mobile app and have created average app development cost calculation and your budget planning with the help of this guide, why stay away from hiring a top mobile app developers’ team?
If you think that hiring developers from the US, UK, or other regions can be strenuous for your budget, MindInventory can always be your escape plan, as it has been for Passio, I.AM +, Betterhalf, EnneaApp, and other leading businesses. We have an extensive team of Mobile app developers, project managers, designers, and business analysts working side-by-side for your Native app or Cross-platform development project.
Also, we have clients who have been working with us since the inception. Anything else you want to know? Get in touch with us with your app development requirements and get a quick quote and solution meeting your needs.
FAQs About Mobile App Development Cost
Similarly, calculating the cost to develop an app depends on some factors – app development time also depends on factors like the expertise of the development team, the technology used, the engagement model used, the complexity of the app, the features required, and more.
To select the right mobile app development partner, you should define an app objective, list down development requirements and app scope, plan your budget, define a realistic project deadline, select a software development model, engagement model, market research, shortlist mobile app development companies in your target locations, analyze their portfolio, and then consult all to finalize one. So, that’s how it’s done. Read our blog on mobile app development partner selection for better insights.
Mobile apps can monetize through in-app advertising, in-app purchases, subscriptions, paid apps, getting sponsors on board, and much more. Read our blog on app monetization strategies for better insights.