How much does it cost to develop a mobile app?

Updated on Apr 23rd, 2021

How much does it cost to develop a mobile app?

The inclination of users towards mobile apps has been seeing a terrific position for some years now. With over 2.7 billion smartphone users globally, it’s no surprise that the mobile app industry is thriving (Source). Users have been excitedly using smartphones for tiniest to the vital tasks including food ordering, booking vacation rentals, connecting with dear ones, reserving cabs, and the list goes on.

It all boils down to one thing- mobile apps are the need of the hour to garner attention from the colossal market that is rapidly going mobile. Big as well as small enterprises have been enthusiastically taking up mobile app development to digitize their business and reach out to broader consumer base.

As the digital transformation begins, most of us focus on various aspects including the features, phases, team, etc., unintentionally missing out that one aspect that has a significant effect on all of these- the cost of mobile app development.

“How much does it cost to develop a mobile app”? As tricky as it may sound, the answer to this question only appears as a ballpark that is closer to the actual development cost.

Addressing the pink elephant, we dug deeper into the perspective by having an insightful conversation with our Director (Mobile App Development) and listed our findings here. Let’s start right away on this informative journey.

First things first, what determines the cost of mobile app development and how?

Here are the top determinants that affect the cost of mobile app development, according to our expert:

1. Platform

Well, the first thing we generally ponder is the platform we are going to build the mobile app for. The choice decisively depends on the target market. Find out who all make your buyer persona and which mobile platform do they generally prefer.

Besides, the app’s unique requirements and value offered by each platform significantly affect the cost of mobile app development. That said, to make the apps more accessible for the users, the businesses also target cross-platform app development making the mobile app available across various platforms.

How does the platform contribute to the mobile app development cost?

That needs no extra brain boggling exercise. Investing in iOS app development while having a larger share of Android users is not a sign of intelligence. Once you are sure of your target market, find out which platform suits you the best.

That said, if your user base comprises of both the types of audience, cross-platform app development is cost-effective as compared to the native app development. This is primarily because native app development involves developing an app for Android and iOS individually, taking longer as compared to another counterpart.

2. App category and corresponding features

Features play vital determinants while estimating app development cost. However, these are specific to the application category. For example, a food ordering application requires a wide range of features including third-party integrations besides essential functions such as payment gateways, databases, GPS and navigation, etc. On the other hand, a video editing app doesn’t require these. The complexity will in turn increase for a gaming app owing to the high-end graphics requirement.  

How does the choice of features affect mobile app development cost?

Broad and extensive features will take longer to develop. And hence, the cost of development will increase accordingly. Nevertheless, you always have an option to start with an MVP that comprises just the basic features and keep enhancing the app with each update.

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3. Device and OS Compatibility

Support for various devices not only increases the development time but also takes longer during the QA phase. Here, not only the device size varies, but also, some devices operate on older OS versions. Therefore, it  has to be taken into account as well. Higher the type of devices that need to be compatible with the app, higher will the time required thus multiplying the cost of development.

4. UI/ UX development

An app’s UI/ UX is a crucial element to its success. With unfriendly user experience, an app will merely end up as another failure in the market. Invest time understanding how can you offer best-in-class UI/ UX and make sure to include the elements that users look forward to.

How does UI/ UX development affect the cost of mobile app development?

Designing an app’s interface is vital. But that’s not just a single aspect that adds up to the cost. Besides this, developing UI using native elements takes up lesser time as compared to customizing those elements to match up with the UI/ UX needs. Additionally, it also adds up to the cost of future maintenance, mainly because each update would require checking UI/ UX compatibility with latest devices and native elements of the platform, leading to higher chances of bugs.

5. Hardware

Apps that rely heavily on the hardware take up complex coding. No wonder such apps are costlier as compared to the ones that don’t rely on hardware.

6. Requirement analysis/ Scope freezing

Last but not least we have the scope discovery phase. The features to be offered by the mobile app along with its must-have aspects should be frozen in the initial stage itself.

Confusion on this aspect not only takes a toll on the quality of application but also keeps adding up to the development time as new requirements keep coming.

What checklist is recommended for businesses to minimize the cost of app development?

Mobile app development cost cannot be minimized beyond a specific value. However, businesses can truly make each penny count by considering this checklist, especially suggested by our expert.

  • Don’t shy away from investing time in requirement analysis and scope freezing. A right start paves the way for full control during the mobile app development phase.
  • If you are not sure about the features or facing budget crunch, start with an MVP. Hire mobile app development team and brainstorm the basic features. Once your MVP starts garnering user attention, you can always release new updates according to the business model.
  • Step 2 is also an incredible way to figure out what features and services are much-needed by your target market. You can, therefore, improve the experience accordingly taking user reviews in the account.
  • Focus on native elements to ensure development time does not exceed much. Additionally, make sure that you don’t go around playing with these elements. Not only does that increase the mobile app development time, but also increases team efforts and maintenance cost. Further, the lack of native elements might pose security and quality challenges.
  • Favor code reusability. You can always reuse the code for general features. It significantly reduces the time to develop app hence slashing the cost.

Find an opportunity in your idea. Talk to Matellio’s business experts today!

Matellio LLC is an IT studio delivering cutting-edge digital solutions to clients worldwide. With our versatile technical acumen, we have delivered over 600 successful projects over the past twenty years. We take pride in blending our tech expertise and business intelligence to foster excellent result-oriented software engineering services for the clientele based in more than 100 nations. At Matellio, we relentlessly work hard to enable the customer relationships that deliver values beyond just the contract. Request a quote and share your idea with us to get free estimation for mobile app development.

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