• Mattia Della Corte

How much does it cost to developp an app in 2020?

When you want to create your own mobile app, one of the initial question you ask yourself is about the budget you need to create it. So, how much does it cost to develop a business performing app in 2020 ?

Answering this question can not be straightforward for anyone, even for the experts. There are no fixed cost, as developing an app is depending on multiple factors: app type, features, functionalities, UI/UX design, developing team’s competences and geolocation, stack of technologies, etc.

You can compare the development of an app with buying a car. It’s not possible to know the precise cost until you have the model, the make and the features you are interesting in. As well with a mobile app, there are multiple factors that will influence the cost of its development.

In this post, we will provide you a detailed picture of these costs by explaining the major factors.

Here are the highlights of the content:

  • The Importance Of Developping A Mobile App For Your Business in 2020

  • The Mobile App Cost Breakdown By App Type

  • Factors That Affect The Cost Of The Development

  • A Formula To Calculate The Cost Of Development Of A Mobile Application

Let’s take a closer look at each point in order to understand how much people nowadays need to invest to create mobile apps…

The Importance Of Developping A Mobile App For Your Business In 2020

Today, we live in an era where mobile apps have become an integral part of our daily lives. We have become mostly depending on our smartphones in order to accomplish certain actions. We buy groceries, we have home delivery food, we process invoices, we schedule workouts sessions, we book a flight ticket, we create saving accounts and many more things through mobile application. The reason why we do this are multiple but mostly because these applications have made our life easier and provide efficient solutions to manage a lots of things through simple clicks on our smartphone screens. Also, mobile apps are a powerful and connected bridge between users and businesses.

If you want to understand how and to what extent mobile apps have become a so important feature in our lives and all size businesses, you can check the following report with compiled statistics about app usage in 2020 with infographics:

The size of your business doesn’t matter because in any case, investing in a mobile application has become a need and it is urgent to take it into account.

Let us now take a close look at our main topic : the mobile app development cost.

The Mobile App Cost Breakdown By App Type

How much cost the development of a mobile app ? If you are reading this post, we assume that you didn’t found any satisfying answer yet. It’s time you get what you are looking for.

As we discussed above, there are multiple factors that affects the cost of the development :

  • Application type

  • Technology stack used

  • Basic or complex app ?

  • Number and complexity of features

  • Business model

  • Etc.

So, it’s time to break down the costs by app type. We’ll check the major types of mobile applications that are interesting all types of businesses nowadays.

- Basic Mobile App Without service and Network access

Basic apps have only one to very few functionnalities and don’t need network access. Today, they are not often demanded apps because of their simplicity. Still, they can meet specific needs for businesses.

They are often standalone apps and are low cost. For example, camera apps, mobile setting app and/or equally complex apps.

Average Dev Cost: from CHF 5,000+

Development Time: 4 to 6 Weeks

Examples: Camera, Clock, My Files, Settings, Calculators, and more.

- Data-Driven Apps with Network Connectivity

This is a very common type of applications. It requires a network connectivity and works with data connection. In most cases, it doesn’t need any sort of verification or login access to work. But they can include account syncing, user login or other functionnalities.

This kind of mobile app is good to invest in if you have a low budget but still need to do real-time market. Those data-driven and -consumptions applications need a lightweight server for development.

Average Dev Cost: Starting from CHF 7,000+

Development Time: 6 Weeks

Examples: Weather forecast, Maps, Stocks, Calendar

- Authentications Apps With Complex Login Functionality

Apps that need user authentication in-app are complex and more costly. They include data syncing across devices, push notifications system and often social features like inviting someone to join or sharing data.

If you plan to developp an app that can be accessed by a sign up and login process, this type of application would be an ideal option.

Average Dev Cost: Starting from CHF 10,000+

Development Time: 12+ weeks

Examples: Google Drive, Doodle app

- Apps with advanced social and networking features

Those are the major dominants applications in the industry. Most of the top apps today integrate functionnalities that have something to do with social interactions between users. For example, through sharing data (photos, videos, texts). They have as a purpose to extend users’s social network.

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, all these social networking apps are grabing our attention on a daily basis.

They all have different sets of features to engage the user to stay as long as possible on the app (pictures filters sets, TV-videos platform, etc.).

Average Dev Cost: Starting from CHF 8,000+

Development Time: 8+ weeks to 6 months depending upon the project

Examples: Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

- On-Demand App with Social Features and Login

On-demand apps are increasingly demanded apps from users and businesses. Amongts them we find Uber and other delivery apps. The purpose of these apps is to full-fill immediately the needs of users and also to grant them authentication and advanced social features. They are win-to-win apps as they meet the needs of both app-users and app-owners. They are often built for both platforms, iOS and Android.

Average Dev Cost: Starting from CHF 10,000 (each platform) and goes up to any expensive price

Development Time: 4 months to 6 months depending upon the project

Examples: Uber, and other delivery apps

- eCommerce Mobile Apps With Product Catalog

These kind of apps are accessed with a user login through e-mail or social network accounts. They allow to shop from a detailed list of a product catalog. ECommerce apps often profit from already existing APIs, web services and custom builds to manage their services. In this matter, there are some suitable solutions as Magento, Shopify or others.

Average Dev Cost: Starting from CHF 10,000+

Development Time: 4 months to 12 months depending upon the project

Examples: Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Wish

- Virtual and Augmented Reality-Based Applications

These kinds of mobile apps have become the latest trends and their importance and impact are constantely growing. They occur in various domains : games, simulation apps, high-tech business apps, etc.

Their features are various, from taking real pictures and modifying them with animated content, to seeing the starlit sky and the names of the stars and the constellations through the camera.

Average Dev Cost: Starting from CHF 12,000+

Development Time: 5 months to 12+ months depending upon the project

Examples: SkyView, Seek, Incell

Now, let’s find out how we could calculate the above figures.

Factors That Affect The Cost Of The Development

Truth is, there are a number of factors that affects the app development costs. But the main cost driver of all are the features (number and complexity) that you want to have, no matter what is the type of application you want to develop.

Then, the most influential factors are the following ones, divided per phases:

1. Conception Of The Mobile Application

  • What we call “Conception” is a phase of research, meetings and planning. In this phase, the app development agency you work with will estimate the app development and its cost, decide goal, understand targets and requirements, create a backup plan for risk coverage, synchronize the project requirements with client and development team, prioritize the tasks and create a prototype of the app. This Conception’s phase takes up to 4 weeks to 5 months and cost ranges from CHF 4,000 to CHF 6,000+ according to the timeline.

2. Development Of The App

  • The most time-consuming part of creating an app is the development itself. The complexity of the app and the number of features you want to integrate will here have a major impact. The cost of the developers of an agency can vary from CHF 18 to CHF 200 per hour, depending upon the experience and skills of the developer. The basic versions that you can be starting with can cost from CHF 5,000 to CHF 10,000 and go to any expensive price.

  • You will also need to consider if you want to develop and release your app on one or more platforms: Android, iOS.

  • The level of Software Development company (its scale of competences) and its geolocation are another important factor.

  • The kind of Back- and Frontend infrastructure the application uses and its APIs, are also to be considered.

  • The design of the UI/UX of the application is a big factor too. In general, mobile app development agency have their own UX/UI designer. But you can also hire an independent one. Their cost per hour varies from CHF 15 to CHF 200.

  • Finally, the testing and quality assurance are not to be forgotten.

The following figure sums up phase 2 costs:

3. Maintenance And Updates

  • After the official release of your mobile application, you may need to pay support and maintenance from your development agency. In this phase, they assure that everything works fine and correct bugs and errors. You need to take this factor into account in your budget.

  • As well, any new feature and update of the app cost money.


A Formula To Calculate The Cost Of Development Of A Mobile Application

In conclusion, every entrepreneur that wants to create an app has to be aware that the cost of any application can dramatically vary according to all these different factors, the project requirement and the software development agency your hire. The data-driven resources that you find in this article are a business guide that create more awareness regarding the costs of creating an app and what kind of budget you need to aim for it.

Basically, by applying the following formula, you will be able to calculate the cost of the app you want to develop. The final result should be more or less the same as what you will pay for real :

*Cost of the App Development + Cost of the Conception’s Phase + Cost of the Maintenance’s Phase = Final Cost of the App

*Following is the formula to understand the Cost of App Development:

App Type (Basic/Complex/Advanced) development hours + UX/UI Design Hours + Release Platforms (Android, iOS) App Development Hours x Hourly rate of Developer & Designer = Cost of the App Development

If you want a specialist advice and accurate results for your mobile application project, contact our team of experts, they will answer you and fulfill your wishes to the best of their abilities.

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