Have you ever heard that saying, “there’s an app for everything? Well, that’s true.  Approximately 3.5 million mobile apps were running on the Google Play Store as of the second quarter of 2024, whereas 2.2 million were running on the Apple App Store.
Furthermore, it is estimated that by 2025 the mobile app market will generate around $613 billion in revenue across various segments.

As a result of mobile app development’s popularity, it isn’t surprising to see every digital business investing in it. It is common to ask – How much does mobile app development cost when discussing investments in mobile app development?
The goal of this guide is to provide you with a comprehensive answer to this question as well as detailed insight into the factors contributing to app development costs, monetization models for apps, mobile app development processes, and ways to save money.


6 Factors Influencing the Cost of a Mobile App

There are many factors that determine how much it costs to build a mobile app. It is crucial, however, to consider the following  factors:


1. App development complexity

Planning a home is similar to estimating the cost of creating an app. A higher price will result from adding more features.
The development of simple apps takes less time and costs less. The development time and costs will increase if you want to incorporate advanced mobile app features into your app. Therefore, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What features are you adding to your app?

  • How complex is the business logic of the application?

  • What is the number of screens, buttons, and functions it will have?

An example of a mobile app development price breakdown based on complexity (assuming a $40/hour price for an average app):

Complexity level Characteristics An example Time spent on development The cost
Easy-to-use apps Messages, notifications, search, and profile creation are all essential features

Benefits that can be added

Screens that are fewer

Apps for calendars, calculators, and cameras In two to three months $40000-$60000
Apps on average Payment portals and in-app purchases are essential features

Integrates with APIs

There are more screens than in the basic version

A custom user interface

Features such as real-time messaging

Loyalty app for McDonald’s Three to six months $61,000-$150,000
Apps that are complex Apps with multiple functions

Features such as real-time synchronization

Animations in user interfaces

The processing of media

Instagram, Uber 9 months or more $300,000+

It’s essential to keep your budget in mind when building your app, since too many features can quickly blow your budget. 

Cost estimation for some core features

Using $40/hour as an example, let’s see what it costs to create an app based on the types of features that make up a typical app:

Feature Function Time (Hours) Cost (USD)
Login as a user The majority of apps have some kind of login method, whether it’s a simple username/password combination or a convenient social media login system. 20 $800
Schemes of monetization Payment integration, in-app purchases, and shopping carts are separate features with their own development costs. 50+ $2500+
The messaging system Providing users with the ability to communicate and interact is essential for social media apps. 80+ $3200+
Geographic location The importance of geolocation for travel, restaurant, and dating apps cannot be overstated. 50 $2500
Search A search feature, product catalogs, photo galleries, videos, and other content are all expected by many users. 10+ $400+
Notifications via push Notifications can be an effective way to keep users informed about what is happening on your app and to encourage engagement and retention. 0 to 20 $40-$800

The following is a breakdown of standard features combined to build simple mobile apps. Developing an app is also complicated and expensive because of the following factors:

  • Internet connectivity is required for the application.
  • A comparison of the app’s pricing models (e.g., free, subscription-based, single-purchase).
  • Support required for the back-end of the app.

2. Type of app

It is generally possible to classify mobile apps into Native, Web, and Hybrid. Depending on the business logic, requirements, and functionalities of an app, it is unique.

  • Android apps are typically written in Java or Kotlin and iOS apps are written in Objective C or Swift.
  • From tablets to smartphones, web apps provide a smooth user experience across varied screen sizes using responsive design.
  • In order to cater to the needs of a larger audience, hybrid apps combine web and native technologies.

The following table compares the costs of building Web, Native, and Hybrid mobile applications:

The web Native A hybrid system
Cost $60,000-$300,000 $50,000-$300,000 $40,000-$200,000
The performance It depends on the speed and connectivity of the internet and the browser. Due to their ability to access native device features, they are highly efficient. The device’s native features are less accessible, resulting in less performance.
Maintenance of code Low: Every platform uses the same code High: All devices cannot use the same code. Multiplatform portability: Single code structure can be ported to all major operating systems.
Channels of distribution Web-based access An app for the operating system can be found in the App store. An app for the operating system can be found in the App store.
Skills required HTML, CSS, JavaScript Objective-C, iOS SDK, Java, Android SDK HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Mobile Development Framework
The best use for Apps with limited resources and budgets and low performance requirements. A game or consumer-focused app that requires high optimization levels, especially in terms of performance, graphics, and overall user experience. A low-performance app requiring full device access, but without high performance requirements.

3. Region of development

Due to the variation in programmers’ hourly rates, some regions have more affordable mobile app development than others.
Based on hourly rates, here are how much programmers charge in different regions:

Region Hourly rate (In $)
United States of America $120-150
United Kingdom $100-120
Australia $100-120
Western Europe $80-100
Eastern Europe $30-50
Qatar $20-30

Compared to the US, UK, and Australia, Qatar and Eastern Europe regions have more affordable pricing. It would cost you approximately 1/5th of what it would cost in these regions ($120-150/hour).


4. Runtime platform for your application

The following is an estimate of the cost of developing an Android or iOS app:

Type of mobile app Time Estimated for Development Cost estimate
App for Android 1,200h $50,000-$300,000
App for iOS 1,200h $55,000-$300,000

There isn’t much difference in cost between these two platforms. Depending on your needs, you can either build an Android app or an iOS app. Stair-stepping can also be used, in which you develop an app for one platform and then build it on another later. In 2014, Instagram became available for Android users four years after it was launched on iOS in 2010.
It is another matter to decide which platform to use. The following factors need to be taken into consideration:

Type of mobile app Android iOS
Share of market 86.2% 13.8%
Complexity of development Android is a popular operating system for smartphones and tablets. Android users use no other operating system than Android. iOS is only available on a few Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod). iOS 11 is installed on most of these devices.
Charges for publishing Payment of $25 for uploading your app plus 30% of sales. An annual fee of $99 plus 30% of app purchases.
Time required for development Due to the complexity of Android devices, Android development takes longer. There is a 40% speed difference between iOS and Android development.

If you want to target both the Android and iOS markets simultaneously, you can build a hybrid app. The cost of building these apps is much lower than that of simultaneously building native apps.


5. Approach to development

It’s a mistake to think that the development approach doesn’t matter and has a significant impact on the cost of building a mobile app. The development approach must therefore be taken into consideration when creating a mobile application.
To build a mobile app, you can follow the following development approaches:

An approach to development Cost estimate
Invest in a local agency Let’s say you live in the United States.

The Development & Design Team charges $120-150 per hour

Based on 500 hours of development, the development cost will be as follows:

$120 * 500 = $60,000

Maintenance and operational costs should not be overlooked.

Establishing an in-house team Hiring a local agency is even more expensive.

Salary information for various members of the development team can be found below:

Developer: $98,000 per year for a full stack developer

The salary for a designer is $85,000 a year

An iOS or Android developer earns $85,000 per year.

Operational and maintenance costs will also be incurred.

The hiring of freelancers The average hourly rate of a freelancer based on the country in which you are hiring

US: $50/hour

Ukraine: $25/hour

Latin America: $20/hour

Asia: $15 to $25/hour

Based on 500 hours of development, the development cost will be as follows:

US: $25000

Ukraine: $12500

Latin America: $10000

Asia: $7500 – $12,500

Partner with an outsourcing company Hourly outsourcing rates:

North America: $38 – $63

Eastern Europe: $25 to $50

Western Europe: $20 – $45

Latin America: $30 – $50

Africa: $20 – $40

Asia: $18 – $40

Based on 500 hours of development, the development cost will be as follows:

North America: $19000 – $31,500

Eastern Europe: $12,500 – $25,000

Western Europe: $10,000 – $22,500

Latin America: $15,000 – $25,000

Africa: $10,000 – $20,000

Asia: $9000 – $20,000

In the table above, hiring a freelancer appears to be the most cost-effective option. There is, however, a cost associated with it. Freelancers do not hold you accountable. An app’s quality can’t be guaranteed. Therefore, it is more viable to hire an app development agency.
Provides you with accountability and costs less than hiring an in-house team or a local agency.


6. Design complexity of the application

As with application development, more customizations in your app design will increase costs. The following aspects must be considered for a detailed overview:

  • Experience of the user: It is important to consider engagement levels and the intricacies of user experience, such as button placement, color psychology, and eye patterns, when determining the cost of an app.
  • The user interface: The design of the app’s layout, screen, color, and typography will influence its cost.
  • Branding: To make your app stand out from hundreds of similar apps, you’ll need to spend more.
  • UX Writing: Hiring from a native English-speaking country is more expensive than hiring from a nonnative language country.

Can Carmatec Help You Estimate Mobile App Development Costs?

How much does it cost to create an app? The answer to this question cannot be predicted clearly. The cost of creating an innovative app should be nearly accurate once you consider all the influencing factors.
For top-notch mobile app development services, you can contact a reliable company such as Carmatec Qatar if you still feel that calculating the final cost of mobile application development is cumbersome.
Using next-generation features and functionalities, these experts develop and launch innovative and scalable apps. For more information on developing innovative mobile apps for your business or to get a rough estimate, contact our experts today.

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