App Development Cost

9 April 2020

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The app development cost is question number one when starting a digital startup.

How much should you invest in the beginning to build an awesome app and then scale it to a business worth billions?

Our team has analyzed some key mobile app industry studies. Here, we created a compound article of recent findings and have included our practices regarding mobile app development.

This guide will help you to understand the app development cost formation. You will be able to effectively manage your app development budget, reduce app costs, and pay attention to mobile app cost drivers upfront.

The most reliable mobile app industry studies provided the following quotations for app development cost and timeline:

  • The median app development cost is around $171,450 (at a rate of $150/hour), which represents 1,143 development hours. The total app price could even increase to $727,500 in the case of complex functionality implementation 

  • Average minimum app development project is between $5,000 to $10,000. The typical cost to create an app is likely to be far higher 

  • Enterprise mobile app development cost is an average of $140,000 (VDC Research, 2017)

  • Available app cost calculators state a price range from $267,000 to $360,000 for complex, multi-feature mobile apps

  • Regarding the app development timeline: over 80% of mobile apps take 3+ months to develop; 40% of apps are built in 6+ months 

Basically, your app idea, along with business and functional necessities, influences the app development cost.

The most influential factors which determine the final cost to build an app are:

  • Vendor type and location
  • Complexity and the number of app features
  • Back-end infrastructure and connected APIs
  • Complexity of UX/UI design
  • Inclusion of additional branded visual elements
  • Development approach (native, mobile web, hybrid, etc)
  • Number of platforms to be developed (iOS, Android, web, etc)

This confusion exists due to the following three factors:

  • Apps are intangible – as opposed to hardware, software products are seen as screens. In order to show this information, all the hard work is done in the background. An analysis of Kickstarter campaigns derives that hardware projects receive more funding as opposed to software ideas. It is suspected that hardware remains more noticeable, while software is out of sight and, therefore, unappreciated.

  • Immeasurable intellectual capital value – the creativity and thoughtfulness involved at the project’s start is hard to measure. Usually, a cross-disciplinary team is involved to ensure all the app details and processes are covered. Clients do not see the result of this work since it does not result in any tangible deliverables, just an app concept. Therefore, many people become confused by the final app price tag for this service.

  • Non-obvious benefits – some prefer elegant, simple, and intuitive products, while others search for more power and speed in their apps. This can be compared to Mac users and those who have never understood the benefits provided by Apple’s devices.

Your brand’s mobile growth starts today!