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Mobile App Development Costs in 2023 that You Need to Consider

mobile app development costs (5)

With the anticipation that 6.8 billion global users will use smartphones worldwide in 2023, mobile apps are pervasive in the modern world. Seizing this growing trend, many corporations have joined the competitive race of mobile app development. However, understanding the development cost is essential when building a mobile app from scratch besides an app idea and its functions. 

A recent report indicates that the tentative cost to build an app in Australia is $50,000 to $250,000. Yet the actual costs will vary depending on different factors such as the type of app, features, platforms supported, complexity, level of polish and location of the development team. In the article, you’ll discover an app development cost breakdown and an estimation of the mobile app development process.

Table of content

Stage of Mobile App Development Cost

Factors Affect the Costs of Building a Mobile App

1. Type of App

2. The Complexity of App Development (App Features)

3. Supported Platform

4. Level of Polish

5. Development Team's Location

Hidden App Development Costs 

Ways to Reduce the Development Costs

KMS Solutions: Your Trusted Mobile App Development Partner

Stage of Mobile App Development Cost

The average cost to create an app comprises expenditures from the early phase of initial planning to the app’s public release, which can be separated into four primary stages:

  • Project analytics phase (15% of the development costs):  This is the initial phase of building any mobile app, specifying business objectives; the app’s potential users; functional and non-functional requirements; screen flow and design specifications. When done properly, the analysis offers an in-depth product roadmap that will aid in planning the development process and budgeting other costs.

  • UI/UX design phase (20% of the budget): User-friendly design and a seamless experience are essential for any modern app. Prior to app coding, you will need UI/UX designers to create wireframes and clickable prototypes to determine how a product should function and how likely your users would use the app. This phase is the most fluid, as it requires regular feedback from the team and clients.

  • Development and app architecture phase (55-60% of the project): More than half of the development expenses are made up of the salaries of developers, QA specialists and testers. Their works consist of: coding the app’s features, testing how it works and bug fixing. 

  • App launch phase (5-10% of the development costs): Knowing how to launch an app is as important as knowing its creation process.  This launch process comes with its own cost, as you’ll need to pay requisite fees on mobile app stores like Google PlayStore and Apple Store.
Stage of Mobile App Development Costs (1)

Factors Affect the Costs of Building a Mobile App

To better understand what goes into the typical cost of developing a mobile app and why one app costs $50,000 while another costs $250,000, let's look at the components that influence the price of the final product:

1. Type of App


The app type is probably one of the biggest elements influencing the development cost. There are three common categories of mobile apps: Native, Web, and Hybrid. Each type is different based on its requirements, business logic, and functionalities.

Here is a comparison table highlighting the distinction between mobile app types:

 

Native

Hybrid

Web

Cost High up-front costs Medium up-front costs Low up-front costs
Code Maintenance A standard code cannot be applied to all devices. Single code structure can be ported to all major platforms. The same code is used across all platforms
Best Used For Apps that need a high level of optimisation, such as games or consumer-focused apps, where performance, graphics & overall user experience are essential. Apps that do not have high-performance requirements but require full device access to cater for the large audience needs Apps with low-performance requirements and modest resources and funding.

 

2. The Complexity of App Development (App Features)

The number and complexity of features are other significant aspects influencing development expenses. Simpler and smaller apps may take less time to develop and release; however, the development time and cost may grow if you want to integrate advanced features into your mobile app. Thus, it’s critical to clearly determine:
  • How many features will be implemented in the product?
  • Is the application’s business logic complex?
  • How many screens, buttons, and functions will the mobile app have?
The app's complexity level is determined by the features and integrations you select, as well as how you have an app produced.

Types of Complexity Examples Common Features Characteristics
Simple App

- Calculator app

- Time tracking app

- Notes app

- Camera app

- …

- Login

- Signup

- Profile making and editing

- Admin panel or dashboard

- Search

- Notifications

- Essential features only, no additional functions

- Low-tech screens

- Necessary UI solutions

- Average time to develop:  2- 4 months

Average App

- Food-delivery app

- Dating app

- Music app

- …

- Real-time Messaging

- Payment Portals

- In-App Purchases

- Social Media Integration

- Geo-location

- Requires data storage and more synchronisation

- API integrations

- More screens

- Custom UI

- Average time to develop:  4-8 months

Complex App

- Social network app

- Gaming app

- Enterprise app

- Customised CRM app

- E-commerce platform

- …

- In-app calls/ Video chat

- Data synchronisation with more than 2 devices

- Online streaming

- Native features

- Multi-functional apps with advanced features 

- Heavy customisation 

- Require various infrastructure elements

- UI animation

- Media process

- Average time to develop:  8 months to a year or more

Besides some common features that can be embedded in every mobile app, you also need to consider their typical features of them to ensure it works properly. Here’re some key features required for different types of mobile apps:

Types Typical Features
Banking app/ Fintech Peer-to-peer transfer, Payment integration, Account management, Transaction history, Secure authentication, Bill reminders,  etc.
Education app Interactive content, Live tutorials and sessions, In-app messaging and video calls, Testing knowledge, Gamification, Feedback sections, etc
Healthcare app Appointment scheduling, In-app reminders and notifications, Medical records, Prescription tracking, Symptom checker, etc.

Mobile apps with dissimilar numbers of features and at different levels of complexity will affect the cost of software development. 

Taking banking app development as an example, in addition to concentrating on key features it must have to function appropriately, you also need to pay attention to security concerns with sensitive user data. Thus, the expenses for banking app security features and security testing will be higher in comparison to other kinds of mobile apps. 

Read more: Must-have Features for Banking Application

3. Supported Platform

Apps for iOS and Android are developed in separate programming languages. In fact, creating an app that supports both platforms takes more time and money than building just one. 

You may even implement a stair-step strategy, developing an app for one platform and then porting it to another. For example, Instagram, which was originally released on iOS in 2010, only became available to Android users four years later, in 2014.

However, you’ll need to consider the publishing charges of these two operating systems:

  • Android: Google charges a one-off $25 payment to upload your app + 30% of purchases made through the app.
  • iOS: Apple charges an annual fee of $USD99/membership to register for the Apple developer program + 30% of purchases made through the app.

4. Level of Polish

Polish can be implemented to every aspect of an app and has a significant influence on the cost of development. Common levers include user interface (UI) design, server architecture, animations and interactions, and tablet optimisation. The more polish you apply, the greater the expense.

Apps usually go through several lifecycles, with additional polish added at each stage. Rarely will the initial version of an app launched to the public be entirely functional and polished. The first release for most businesses is often a simple proof-of-concept app. This is a basic, low-cost version of the app that is used to analyze the viability of an idea. In this manner, you may ensure that there is a demand for your mobile app before investing additional money in future development.

Here are some examples of common app lifecycles or stages. As you move through the phases, the development cost will rise progressively:

  • Design Prototype
  • Proof-of-concept
  • MVP
  • Fully-featured app

5. Development Team’s Location

The location of your app development also plays a significant role in the cost.  Mobile app development cost is more affordable in certain regions than others, owing to differences in programmers' hourly rates. Here’s how much developers from separate regions charge on an hourly basis:

region & hourly rate (1)

In Australia, the costs of labour are relatively high compared to other countries in Asia, such as India, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Therefore, you can think about outsourcing app development due to its several advantages, including 

  • Enable concentration on core business
  • Reduce IT costs and assorted expenses compared to building an internal team
  • Make the most of IT top experts and technology stack
  • Retain flexibility and scalability easily

Hidden App Development Costs

The design and programming costs are not the only expenses you'll incur when building the app. There’re also expenses that are elusive at the onset of product development. Albeit hidden, they’re salient to developing a robust mobile app, ensuring it remains functional and assisting it in reaching target users.

Here’re some costs related to mobile app development that you should pay attention to:

  • Infrastructural costs: including the costs for CDN, payment for server, and more. 
  • Functional costs (Third-party integration fees): some third parties such as System email (Mailgun), SMS (Twilio), App administration (Forest Admin), Chat (Getstream.io) often cost you $5,000 to $20,000/year
  • Maintenance costs: combining the amount spent on fixing bugs, releasing updates, and paying server fees. The expenses in ongoing maintenance are around 20% of app development costs per year.
  • Marketing costs: the spending in marketing will be based on your marketing strategy, such as your industry, target audience, expected outcome, etc. To promote your app widely, you should concentrate more on marketing efforts. These expenses can be varied from 20 -50 % of development costs.

Ways to Reduce the Development Costs

1. Start with MVP

Getting started with Minimum Valuable Product (MVP) allows you to evaluate the app’s concept with real users on a small scale and on a tight budget through the prototype based on your app's must-have features. By collecting feedback from customers, you can have ideas to optimise the budget of the app’s full version.

2. Limit Support for Outdated Operating Systems and Devices

Supporting a large number of old models that are no longer used widely in the market may cost you significantly. Therefore, finding a balance is needed. You should consider the potential amount of money that users of old models can bring to your company and the maintenance costs to support those customers.

3. Consider Outsourcing Your Development Demands

Since code can be written anyway, hiring IT partners from other regions can result in lower development costs. Moreover, since building an internal development team needs several processes and is difficult for you to ramp up/ scale down, outsourcing mobile app development is one of the best ways to help you access the latest technology while ensuring a modest budget. What you’ll need is to clearly analyse your project requirements and find a suitable mobile app development vendor. Check out this Checklist for Selecting Software Development Vendors!

KMS Solutions: Your Trusted Mobile App Development Partner

Researching and choosing a reliable app development partner can be challenging. As you may need to consider many elements, it can be overwhelming at times. However, the mobile app development experts at KMS Solutions can assist you in developing a secure and scalable mobile app on your requested budget. 

Besides offering the most talented IT specialists for the whole life cycle of your app development, KMS Solutions is also based in Melbourne. The highest quality output on every project from a leading Australian company in app development.

Contact us to get your demanded app development costs and plans.

Learn more about our Digital App services