How Much Does App Development Cost and How to Reduce It?

How Much Does App Development Cost and How to Reduce It?

Ronald Davis
Ronald Davis
November 9, 2022
Last updated on:

November 9, 2022


Read time: 4 mins

The surging demand for app development in the business landscape stems from businesses recognizing the profound benefits of bespoke software solutions. These applications optimize operations, elevate data analytics capabilities, and facilitate superior communication within organizations. With businesses embracing digital transformation, customized apps have become paramount, catering to industry-specific requirements and driving innovation across diverse sectors.

However, comprehending app development costs is crucial for businesses to make informed decisions. It helps them set realistic budgets, prevent financial surprises, and ensure efficient resource allocation.

An accurate grasp of costs enables businesses to prioritize features, choose the right development approach, and evaluate the potential return on investment. This knowledge is instrumental in achieving successful app projects, minimizing financial risks, and ultimately, maximizing the value of the app for the business.

This blog delves into describing how much does app development cost and effective strategies for cost reduction. It also aims to offer valuable insights for businesses seeking to optimize their app development investments.

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global mobile application market size  is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8% from 2023 to 2030

How Much App Development Costs?

Here is a general overview of the cost range for developing a mobile app:

  • Basic Apps: These apps come with limited features and involve minimal design and development efforts. Development of these apps costs between $4000 to $10,000. 
  • Mid-Range Apps: The normal business or utility apps fall under this category. These types of apps cost anywhere from $18,000 to $45,000.
  • Complex Apps: The complex apps include advanced features like social networking eCommerce and require high-level design, backend development, and necessary integrations. Development of these apps can cost between $50,000 to $1,50,000.
  • Enterprise or Large-Scale Apps: These apps involve extensive development, security measures, and continuous support. Due to intricate functionalities, these types of apps cost in between $1,50,000 to $5,00,000.

What are mobile app testing types?

Mobile app testing includes functional, usability, performance, and security testing. It ensures the app's features work correctly, is user-friendly, performs well, and protects user data from vulnerabilities. To know more read our blog: 6 Essential Types of Mobile App Testing

Breaking Down App Development Cost

App development costs encompass various elements, depending on the app's complexity and features. Typical expenses include: 

1. Planning and Research

In this phase, businesses conduct thorough market research to identify user needs, competitors, and market trends. It also encompasses idea validation to ensure the app concept is viable. The primary costs include subscriptions to research tools, consultation fees for market experts, and time your team spends on research, planning, and idea refinement.

Estimated cost of app planning and research (Enterprise or large scale app)
In-house - $34,000 Delegating to third-parties - $24,000.

2. Design

The design phase includes:

  • User Interface (UI) Design: UI designers create the app's visual elements, including layouts, buttons, and color schemes. The costs in this phase depend on the complexity of the design and the number of screens.
  • User Experience (UX) Design: UX designers ensure the app is user-friendly and intuitive. They design wireframes and prototypes to optimize the user journey. Costs include designer salaries and prototyping software expenses.

Estimated cost for app design (Enterprise or large scale app)
In-house - $15,000 Delegating to third parties - $10,000

How to Estimate the  Cost of App Development?
Image 1 - How to Estimate the  Cost of App Development?

3. Development

The cost for the development phase includes: 

  • Coding: Developers write the actual code for the app. Costs primarily involve developer salaries, which vary based on experience and location.
  • Software Architecture: Creating a robust and scalable architecture is crucial. Costs include the time and expertise needed to design the software infrastructure.
  • Database Creation: Building and maintaining a database to store user data and app content incurs costs for database management systems and database administrator salaries.

Estimated cost for app development (Enterprise or large scale app)
In-house - $60,000 Delegating to third parties - $30,000

4. Testing and Quality Assurance

In this phase, the cost of app development revolves around the following: 

  • Testing Tools: Testing may require various tools for automated testing, load testing, and bug tracking.
  • Testers: Hiring quality assurance testers to identify and document issues adds to the expenses.
  • Bug Fixing: The time and resources needed to fix identified bugs and ensure a smooth user experience are also part of the cost.

Estimated cost for app testing (Enterprise or large scale app)
In-house - $12,000 Delegating to third parties - $6,000

5. Maintenance and Updates

App development cost in this phase covers:

  • Server Hosting: Hosting the app's backend on servers involves monthly or annual fees.
  • Technical Support: Providing customer support and addressing technical issues post-launch incurs costs.
  • Development for Updates: As technology evolves, updates and new features are necessary for app longevity.

Estimated cost for app maintenance (Enterprise or large scale app)
In-house - $10,000 Delegating to third parties - $5,000

6. Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and promotion also incur costs with respect to the following:

  • Advertising: Paid advertising campaigns on various platforms (social media, Google Ads) require budgets.
  • Public Relations: Engaging with PR agencies to generate buzz around the app involves costs.
  • App Store Optimization (ASO): Optimizing your app's visibility within app stores often requires professional services or tools.

Estimated cost for marketing & promotion (Enterprise or large scale app)
In-house - $ 2,00.000 Delegating to third parties - $ 1,00,000

7. Legal and Regulatory Compliance

The costs involved in this phase include the following:

  • Legal Fees: Seeking legal advice and services for contracts, terms of use, and privacy policies is essential.
  • Copyright Registration: Protecting your app's intellectual property may involve fees.
  • Data Security: Implementing security measures to comply with data protection regulations incurs expenses.

Estimated cost for legal & regulatory compliance (Enterprise or large scale app)
In-house - $35000 Delegating to third parties - $2000

8. Overhead and Miscellaneous

This type of cost in-app development includes: 

  • Administrative Expenses: General office expenses, utilities, and office supplies.
  • Office Space: Rent or lease payments for office space if you're not working remotely.
  • Unforeseen Costs: A buffer for unexpected expenses or scope changes during development.

Estimated cost for overhead (Enterprise or large scale app)
In-house - $5000, Delegating to third parties - NA ( Third-party services cover this cost

How to Manage App Development Costs
Image 2 - How to Manage App Development Costs

Factors Influencing App Development Cost

App development costs can vary widely on the basis of several influential factors. Each factor contributes to the overall expense of bringing an app to fruition. Here are the key factors that influence app development costs:

1. Platform Choice

  • iOS vs. Android vs. Cross-Platform: Developing for iOS and Android separately requires building and maintaining two distinct codebases. It potentially increases development time and costs. 

2. App Complexity 

  • Feature Set: The number and complexity of features directly impact costs. Simple apps with basic functionality are less expensive to develop than feature-rich apps requiring intricate functionalities.
  • Backend Complexity: Apps that rely on complex server infrastructure, databases, or real-time communication incur additional development costs.

3. Design & User Experience

  • UI Complexity: The intricacy of the user interface design, including custom graphics, animations, and responsive layouts, significantly affects design costs.
  • UX Research: Conducting user research and usability testing to optimize the user experience adds to expenses but leads to a more user-friendly and successful app.

4. Testing & Quality Assurance

  • Testing Methods: Rigorous testing, including functional, usability, and performance testing, is crucial but adds costs. 
  • Bug Fixing: Identifying and fixing bugs post-development is a vital but potentially costly part of the quality assurance process.

5. Security Measures

  • Data Security: Implementing robust security features to safeguard user data and following data protection regulations incurs additional development time and costs.
  • Compliance: Ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations may require audits and legal consultation, contributing to costs.

6. App Maintenance

  • Server Hosting: Ongoing server hosting costs, including cloud services or dedicated hosting, impact long-term expenses.
  • Technical Support: Providing customer support and addressing technical issues after launch incurs costs for maintaining a high-quality user experience.
  • Feature Updates: Developing new features, improvements, and updates to keep the app competitive and relevant is an ongoing cost consideration.

7. Marketing & Promotion

  • Advertising Channels: Marketing expenses vary based on the chosen channels, including social media ads, search engine marketing, email campaigns, and influencer partnerships.
  • App Store Optimization (ASO): Investing in ASO strategies to enhance the app's visibility within app stores is essential. However, it is a budget-dependent component of marketing.

8. Legal & Regulatory Compliance

  • Legal Fees: Legal consultations, contract drafting, and intellectual property protection add to expenses.
  • Data Protection: Ensuring compliance with data protection laws requires implementing data privacy measures, which incur costs.
  • API Integration: Connecting to third-party services, payment gateways, or APIs increases development costs due to integration complexities and potential licensing fees.

Strategies to Reduce App Development Cost

Here are the effective strategies to reduce app development costs:

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Businesses should develop a lean app version with only the most critical features. This approach allows them to validate the app idea, gather user feedback, and save on development costs. Also, receiving feedback and insights helps them refine and expand the app incrementally, reducing the risk of costly development changes.

Agile Development Methodology 

Adopting an agile approach to app development promotes flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Agile involves breaking the project into smaller, manageable iterations. It allows for ongoing adjustments and improvements based on real-time feedback. This approach minimizes the likelihood of late-stage, expensive changes.

Cross-Platform Development 

Businesses should consider using cross-platform development frameworks like React Native, Flutter, or Xamarin. These tools enable them to write code once and deploy it on different platforms which minimizes app development time and costs compared to building separate native apps for each platform.

Open-Source Components

It is also essential for businesses to leverage open-source libraries and pre-built components to expedite development. These resources help them save time and effort, especially for common functionalities, without compromising quality.

Continuous Testing & Automation

Implementing automated testing processes helps businesses to catch and rectify issues early in development. Automated testing improves app quality and reduces the time and cost associated with manual testing efforts.

Scalable Infrastructure

Businesses should opt for cloud-based infrastructure and services, such as AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure, which offer scalable and cost-effective solutions. It helps them adjust resources according to their needs and avoid upfront hardware and ongoing maintenance expenses.

External App Development Team

Leveraging external app development teams in cost-effective regions is a key strategy to reduce costs. This approach results in substantial savings and helps businesses to take advantage of lower costs particularly in third-world countries. It also helps businesses access a pool of highly qualified professionals in different technologies and domains. Also, businesses get a dedicated team to handle multiple projects simultaneously and accelerate their time-to-market. 

The cost dynamics are poised to shape the future of app development, and delegating this to third parties will play a pivotal role in this transformation. As businesses seek to harness the power of efficient applications, cost consideration will become increasingly crucial. 

At Invensis, we help businesses optimize their budgets while accessing global talent pools. Our experts bring specialized skills and expertise to the table, enhancing the quality and functionality of apps. We also assist businesses across the globe with efficient scaling and ensure the projects remain cost-effective. Contact us to develop high-quality apps while keeping the cost manageable with our mobile application development services

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