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2024 Edition: Breaking Down the True Cost of Mobile App Development

Mobile apps are undoubtedly a money-making machine for your business. In 2023, it generated $44.9 billion of revenue in the US market. From subscription models to in-app advertising or in-app purchases, diverse revenue streams are reason behind this huge profit. But more than money, mobile apps are a way to connect with your customers and grow your business. So, if you are developing one then the first thing to know is- how much does it cost to develop a mobile app?

2024 Edition: Breaking Down the True Cost of Mobile App Development

The more you invest, the more you get in return is not applicable here as attracting customers with mobile apps is not as easy as before. Several factors guide the success of your mobile app and overall money you had put into it. Read our detailed guide to know more about those factors and how they affect your budget. 

Before We Tell the Actual Cost to Develop a Mobile App, Know What to Develop 

These types of mobile apps are ruling the market and will bring revenue worth $100 billion in 2024. 

  • Social media apps 
  • Messaging, chatting, and video calling apps
  • Video streaming apps
  • Financial apps
  • On-demand apps
  • AI apps
  • Gaming apps

Next Step: Know Your Customers’ Needs

Today’s customers are unlike past ones who can be easily impressed and satisfied with basic functionalities in a mobile app. They want applications that connect them with both, the world and technology apart from making their life easier. So, getting into the customers’ shoes and knowing what they expect is one way to ensure your success.

Here are a few mobile app market trends shaping the customers’ demand and expectations like,

  1. Apps that offer voice search feature  
  2. Advanced safety features like facial and voice recognition
  3. AI apps
  4. Augmented reality and virtual reality mobile apps
  5. Apps that connect with smartwatches and other wearable devices

Top Factors That Impact Your Mobile App Development Budget

#1. Development Approach

Either choose the traditional path where developers code everything or adopt low code that speeds up the process. Both are best but can majorly impact the overall development cost. Here is why. 

Low-code approach- It offers pre-build components meaning developers do not have to write code for every feature. Simply drag-and-drop and your mobile app is ready in less days. Even non-tech developers can contribute to the development which means you save money on hiring dedicated developers. But there is less possibility of customization and scaling the application would be tough.

Traditional approach- Developing a mobile application traditional way gives complete control over every aspect, from features to customization. There is no vendor lock-on (a genuine issue in low code) when it comes to switching technologies and scaling the app is easy. However, the traditional approach comes with a heavy cost, more development time, and requires skilled developers.

#2. App complexity

Whether your mobile costs a few thousand dollars or more depends upon the type of features it will have. Applications with simple features cost less as they take less time in coding and testing, thus faster to launch. On the other hand, a complex one like an e-commerce mobile app that has payment processing, real-time delivery tracking, and other features leads to longer development cycles and high development costs.

Here's the cost breakdown of mobile app according to their complexity level. This is only tentative range and actual cost vary as per individual requirements. 

However, you can manage complexity and cost by using mobile app frameworks with pre-built components. A minimum of viable product also cuts the cost as it saves from trial and error. You can evaluate which feature would engage users more and which one be a waste of resources. Making an application that promises high user engagement is more beneficial for your business as it guarantees high ROI.

#3. Type of Platform

There are primarily three types of mobile app platforms: native, cross-platform, and web apps. If performance is paramount, native is the way to go. For faster time to market and lower costs, cross-platform is a good option. Hybrid can be suitable for simpler apps where performance is not crucial, and the budget is tight. Consult with our mobile app experts to get an accurate cost estimation based on your requirements.

#4. Development Team

Whether you are outsourcing mobile app developers or relying on an in-house team, it is important to consider a few factors. Who is in the team, how much experience do they have, can they build complex apps, where are they located?

All these factors fluctuate the cost of mobile app development. For example, developers in India would charge you somewhere between $20-40 per hour whereas the cost goes up to $170/per hour for mobile app developers in the USA.

Apart from the size and location of the team, also consider what type of mobile app technologies they know. Hands-on knowledge of trending ones such as React Native, Flutter, and Xamarin can make an enormous difference to those with basic programming knowledge.

#5. Application Security and Maintenance

Considering only development costs is like seeding a plant but forgetting the fact that it would require fertilizers and regular care to bear healthy fruits. Your mobile app will gradually become obsolete as better and interactive apps with new functionalities launch in the market.

With time, your mobile app can have bugs, technical issues, and outdated security patches that will slow down the app’s performance, pushing your users and revenue away. It also means your app could lose its space in the app store. 

To ensure the long-term success and sustainability of your app, hire experts who provide 24x7 app support and maintenance beside mobile app development services. 

Looking for Mobile App Development Services, Let's Connect.

Consider Hidden Cost Too!

It seems more than what meets the eye when it comes to developing a mobile app. The overall cost does not revolve around only the above factors, there are hidden expenses too. They can pop up unexpectedly increasing your budget therefore it is important to know about them beforehand.

  • App store fees: Launching the app on the Apple app store would cost you $99/year whereas it is $25/year for Google. Transaction and subscription fees are additional here.
  • Server cost: As your mobile app grows in terms of features and user base, you need to scale up server (whether cloud or on-premises) infrastructure. So, consider the cost of storage and bandwidth as well.
  • Payment processing: If you are developing an e-commerce app, then integration of a payment gateway would add more cost as they charge additional transaction fees for processing.
  • Design and UX: Adding unique UI/UX elements gives you an upper hand in the competition, but it comes with a cost.
  • Market and promotion: Developing and deploying a mobile app in the market is not enough to get noticed in the eyes of app stores and users. You need to invest in marketing and promotion of your mobile app.

Want to Save on Mobile App Development?

While you cannot avoid any of these factors, you can still save some money. Use these tips to reduce mobile app development costs.

  1. Start with an MVP first with only the necessary features and later move on to the full-fledged mobile application.
  2. Involve the quality assurance team from the beginning so that all critical issues and bugs are resolved at an early stage, saving time and money on fixing bugs after app deployment.
  3. Choose cross-platform mobile app development irrespective of the type of mobile app you are building. It saves money on switching platforms and hiring multiple developers.

Need Help or Have a Doubt?

Still cannot evaluate how much does it cost to develop a mobile app or need an expert who can develop picture-perfect app for you? Softude can help. We offer consultation as well as complete mobile app development services to businesses from diverse industries. Beside development, we also offer guidance on product ideation, deployment, modification, and post-launch support. Feel free to connect with our experts for detailed breakdown of app development cost. 

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