How Much Does It Cost to Develop Mobile App

The mobile application is the growing trend for business. A large number of enterprises, start-ups, and SMEs are shifting their focus from traditional web to mobile app development.

The ever-increasing number of smartphone users and their way of interacting with the application are reasons for companies to take such a decision.

However, the main concerns for business and enterprises are the annual cost of mobile app development, and they often seem to be perplexed thinking about how to get cost-effective solutions without affecting quality work.

Considering their concern, we have dedicated the article to those looking for tips and tricks to get the best, robust and cost-effective mobile app development solutions.

However, before we look into the cost of application development, there are some essential things that you need to look into.

They are directly associated with the cost of app development. Going through the tips can save you some big bucks, for sure.

Mobile App Development Cost

Table of Contents

  1. Importance of Mobile App
  2. Mobile App Market Share
  3. Is It Time to Switch to Mobile App
  4. Mobile App Development Process
  5. Skill Required to Develop Mobile Application
  6. Factors That Affect Mobile App Development Cost

Importance of Mobile App

A mobile device such as a smartphone is a lifeline for people. They use all day, every day. The growing number of mobile users have not only simplified the life of individuals but also helped industries, business enterprises, start-ups, and other SMEs to reach potential customers in no time. So, the mobile applications are faster, smarter and better to reach your customers.

$188.9 billion

global mobile app revenue to be generated by 2020

86 %

of Smartphone users’ time is spent surfing app

$88.3 billion

global mobile app revenue accounted in 2017

Statistic: Worldwide mobile app revenues in 2015, 2016 and 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

We are here in smart age, and if we want to prevent ourselves from potentials of a smartphone, we are not taking a right step, and when it comes for your business, you are giving other competitor opportunities to attract all your customers to their sides. We think you never want this to happen. Just letting yourselves remain back in the highly competitive business era may cause you severe loss. Here are some of the most shout-after benefits of a mobile app for your business, no matter what you deal in.

  • The mobile application provides a professionalization solution
  • Helping customer with live assistance
  • Sending personalized offer to customers
  • Mark your presence online 24/7
  • Help you send a notification containing ads, vouchers to customers
  • Enhances customer engagement
  • Apps works faster than websites
  • Provide value to your customers

Mobile App Market Share

$108,440 million was the exact mobile app market share in 2016 while, the global mobile app market expected to account for $311,249 million US dollar by 2023, reported Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2016 – 2023 by

So, the data shows how mobile app is and going to be the future of business. Yes, unless you decide to quit the business, you should stick with the idea of switching your business to the mobile application and web application. Here’re some of the most exciting facts about smartphone users -the data will help you understand the users’ behavior and how they interact with things using smartphones. Let’s take a look;


smartphone users turn to phone before purchasing things from the store


increase in booking for non-branded products through a smartphone


of users say that they are most likely to buy from companies that give quick results

Similarly there more which you can grab through the research report titles as “Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile.”

Is It Time to Switch to Mobile App?

Well, having gone through all these market reports, you may be positive about shifting to a mobile app. However, there is yet another question that might hinder you from taking the further step is “Is it really time to switch to the mobile app?” To make things clear, you need to take self-analysis and explore the potentials of a mobile application from your business point of views. Here are some tips to consider and questions to ask before you take the plunge.

Is Your Business Website Responsive?

Before you think for the application, you need to check if your business website is optimized for mobile. A Responsive website is enough to provide a good user experience.

Prepare Analysis Report Based on Mobile Uses in Your Industry

If you have competitors, you need to take stock if they are using or planning to shift to mobile applications. If your competitors using the app, then take a look at the statistics such as the number of downloads and reviews given by users.

How End Users Will Get Benefits From Mobile App – Think like an End User

If you are planning to switch to a mobile application, you need to examine first if the application is going to solve the problem of users. If yes, then it’s a good idea. But, if only you or company get benefits from the app, then it will not be helpful in the long run. Simply make your website useful and responsive and that will enough for users to interact with your application.

Mobile App Development Process

When you plan to develop an app, pricing is not just the only thing that you need to consider rather there are some other essential things that you need to think before you go ahead. These are things which let you think broadly about the application and make you remain cost-effective. Here is the list of the development process that an application goes through.

  • Analysis
  • Wireframe & App Design
  • App Programming
  • Application/Database Framework
  • Server-side Application Programming
  • APIs Development
  • Customizations
  • Usability QA
  • Multi-platforms Programming
  • Back-end QA
  • Cloud Setup
  • Submitting to App Stores

Mobile App Development Process

Skill Required to Develop Mobile Application

Well having got through the development process, you need to ensure what skill you require to develop your applications. Here are some of the common things that will help to know.

  • Wireframing Specialist
  • App Screen Designer
  • App Screen Programmer
  • Developer for Writing Server-Side Application (APIs)
  • QA Specialist
  • Deployment of App

In short, you need to hire a specialist for each development, or you can hire a dedicated developer having extensive skills in app development. Hiring a Full Stack Developer could another effective way to get the development of things done at cost-effective rates.

So far, we have understood about the factors which are associated to cost. Now, we’ll learn about the core factors which have direct impact pricing or the cost of development. So, here we go;

Factors That Affect Mobile App Development Cost

Coming to the core reasons for writing a blog -the cost of developing a mobile application, we’d like to tell you that the cost of mobile app development depends on many factors. They are plenty of things involved that have a direct or indirect impact on development cost. Some of the factors that indirectly affect costing, I have discussed in the paragraphs written above. Now, we bring you some of the directly associated factors in your attention that impact on pricing or the cost of developing a business application.

1. App Platforms and Development Environment

If you are new to this field or first going to have application for your business, you need to decide the platforms for which you want to have an app. For example, if you choose to get an application developed for cross-platforms such as Android app development, iOS app development, Windows, then it will substantially increase the cost. Here’re how to cost impact;

Selection of Platform

If you choose to develop an app for multi-platforms and decide to use native programming language for each platform, then you should not care about money as it will rise beyond your expectations. It may cost double or even triple time high as developing an application for each platform will consume a lot of time and resources. For example;

iPhone developer uses Xcode IDE and Objective-C or Swift Programming Language to make iOS application while for Android, developers need to work on Java Programming Language or Android Studio.

Therefore, the more time it takes in development, the higher the cost it will be to develop the application.

Meanwhile, if you choose a cross-platform framework or hybrid frameworks such as React Native, Flutter, PhoneGap, Ionic, etc., then developers can complete in the project in less time, and hence it will reduce development cost as well.

Native vs. Cross-platform

Both require a separate mode of development. However, whether you should go with native or non-native development will entirely depend on the need of the project.

Native Application:

When it comes to power performance, native is unbeatable, though you need to build a separate application for each platform. These apps are developed for a specific platform, and the language is selected which is fully compatible with the platform. For example, Objective C and Swift for iOS and Java for Android are the most favored languages. But, you will have to hire separate developers for each platform, and that will impact heavily on cost.

Cross-Platform Application:

Cross-platform or non-native is time-saving and cost-effective, though they are plagued with performance issues. It is also possible that Cross-platform may not be able to provide the best or expected user-experience. However, it is not all negative. There are cross-platform frameworks such as React Native, Flutter, Ionic, etc. which are very effective and scalable. You can explore the potentials of hybrid frameworks before use.


2. Engagement Model for App Development

Engagement model stands for the level of understanding between clients and service partner. In simple term, you may get to sign an MoU with the development company regarding the level of responsibility and control and services they will provide to you. Engagement model has a significant impact on pricing and the cost of development. Companies have different engagement model based on their comfort level. However, most companies offer four common engagement model plans. Let’s take a look.

Fixed Cost 

Selecting a fixed price engagement model can be suitable and cost-effective for smaller projects. It’s a fixed bid and also called a lump sum contract. So, get your vision cleared regarding the time and resources it would take. If you have complex or lengthy projects, then the fixed cost engagement model will not be helpful to you.

Dedicated Team

If you have lengthy or time-consuming projects, then it will cost you more. But, you can hire a dedicated development team and get your project done right in cost-effective rates. In this model, development companies will provide you development team that will include developers and designers who will dedicatedly work for you. You need to pay for developers’ time spent on the project.

On-Site Model

On-site engagement model, a company, provides you dedicated team of developers and designers and they are employed to your site for complete duration. This is costly but will be cost-effective if you have a large and complex project which requires constant updates and modifications from time to time. Companies charges for the resources used on an hourly basis. You can contact the developers directly through phone lines and explain things and your requirement in the right manner.

Time and Material Model

When you are not able to define the project scope and specification, and if you think that requirement of resources and developers will keep changing, then you need dedicated developers having good years of experience in the relevant field. Companies charge on the basis of resources and time utilized. When it comes to cost-effectiveness, this model will be beneficial for a long and complex project.

3. Time It Takes to Develop Mobile Applications

Time is really important to keep you remain cost-effective. Simply, the more time it takes to develop an app, the higher cost it will be. Again, how much time your app will take, depends on the complexities and size of the application.

To understand how much time it takes to develop the applications, you need to understand the process it goes through. We explained the process in detail in the paragraph written above. We are just recapping here.

An app goes through;

Analysis & Requirement

UI/UX Designing

Development and Testing


When you consider all these factors, the scale of the app plays a greater role whether how much time it is going to take. When it comes to the size of the application, it can be divided into three main categories;
Here’s the average time it takes for typical applications;

Small App – 10-12 weeks

Medium Size app – 23-25 weeks

Large Size App – 35-38 weeks

Besides, selecting the right company having experienced developers can also help you save some serious bucks.

4. Expertise of Developers & Development Company

The reliable app development company, having an excellent team of developers can make a huge difference. So, considering hiring the right company with perfect and talented development team will help you finish the project in less time without compromising with quality.

“We as a top mobile app development company believe that retaining a customer is more than earning profits. Hence we try to put more focus on quality service. Our mission is not just to complete the project rather we want our customer to come back, and that is possible when we provide them uncompromised quality service that includes cost-effective solutions as well”, said Ronak Patel, CEO of Aglowid IT Solutions.


5. Regions Where App to be Developed

The cost differs from one Development Company to another; one state to another and one country to another. For example, we have stated that when hiring developers from the USA and India, the pricing will surprise you. Here’s the statistics prepared by Statista show that in America, you need to spend $125 to $168 per hour while in India, you need to pay $21 to $30 per hour. It’s a huge difference, isn’t it?

Note: $21 is average pricing while reality is you can get service even at $15 per hour.

Importantly, even if you hire developers or development company in the U.S., they are most likely to outsource the project to India (this is hidden truth, but you should know). India is the only country where you can get cost-effective solutions without compromising with the quality of the project. Mobile App Development Company like Aglowid offers even free trial service that is enough to convince you that your project is in the right hand. Similarly, there are many companies out in India, which provide effective and reliable solutions.

6. Personalization & Customization

The more customization you make the much time it takes to develop the application. Subsequently, that increases cost as well. However, if you used standard widgets and convention provided by the framework, it will be cost-effective for you.

Suggestion: Don’t skip customization forcefully. If you believe that the existing features more than enough to engage and provide benefits to your users, then you are good to go with the option. Compromising on basic customization is a huge mistake people usually do. Keeping it cost effective

7. Features/Functionalities

Choose only the necessary features that are relevant to your business and helping the customer get solutions quickly. Besides, adding more features will increase cost as well, though selecting a good company can help you save cost.

The high-quality app is very crucial to make app informative, innovative and easy to navigate. Here are some must-have yet common features that an application should have.

  • Push Notifications
  • Feedback system
  • Security
  • Advanced Analytics
  • Google Indoor-Maps
  • Customization
  • Social Integration
  • Payment Gateway Integration
  • GPS Integration
Key features & functionalities of Mobile App

Besides, you can integrate as many features as required based on your business type.

8. Third Party API Integration

When your app requires third-party API integration, developers may find it difficult (if not have used it in the past). It will increase cost, as developers need to learn to implement it correctly.

9. Hidden Cost

The hidden cost is the most argued factor which as an investor, you need to understand. When you hire developers or Development Company, they don’t have any hidden cost policy (provided that you have selected a genuine company). However, there are some factors which you will not find mentioned in the contract book, but you are supposed to pay after the app is deployed. For example;

Functional Service (Third party integration)

Third party integration involves SMS, Push Notifications, etc. and they not mentioned anywhere in the contract as the company believes that you are aware of these expenses. So, when you integrate third-party app, initially they don’t charge (at the time of integration), but once you start taking their services, you need to pay.

Administrative services

After deployment, you need professional who will manage the app including updating the data in the app and manage users.

Infrastructure services

You need to pay separately for the server, CDN and other infrastructure services you have employed.

Technical Support and Maintenance

IT supports, and maintenance involves updating your app and fixing bugs if it occurs in the near future. These are not part of application development or architecture.

Note: However, there are companies which provide after sales service that includes free maintenance, bug fixing, and updates.

So, when you hire developers, you need to make these things clear with the company. Moreover, you should also consider these things as one of expense and add to the cost of development.


Wrapping Up

Well, these are just the common factors that can heavily impact on the cost of development. However, from planning to execution, there are so many things that you can explore and find a way to save maximum on the project. Before you approach the developers or the development company, you can take a self-analysis keeping all the tips given in this article and come up robust and practical vision.

I hope this content help in your efforts and provide you the right guidelines to get cost-effective solutions. Besides, if you come across any, you can share with us.

Saurabh Barot

Saurabh Barot is co-founder and Experienced Chief Technology Officer at Aglowid IT Solutions. His deep industry experience in Angular, React, Ruby on Rails, PHP, Mean Stack and just to name few, has helped the company reach to a new level. He believes that technology is all about exploring new possibilities. Whatever a mind can think (exception can't be ruled out), technology brings it into reality.

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