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Understanding App Development Cost in 2021 [Full Guide]

How much does it cost to develop an app from scratch? Perhaps this is the first question that application brands and app ambassadors ask when launching an app development project. Indeed, the app development cost sits at the very bottom of any mobile application development project. Quite often, a business owner finds himself asking this question – how much does it cost to create an app myself, and how much does it cost to hire a professional agency.

Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. So, to cast an eye on how each impacts an app development costs, let’s review the two.

After several years, an app development agency or company develops industry experience on mobile app development for multiple platforms. This industry experience enables them to overcome several bottlenecks especially when app projects become sophisticated, involving machine learning, artificial intelligence, the internet of things IoT – and other advanced mobile technologies.

Being smart, app development enterprises learn from the mistakes that occur in mobile app development projects. Working with such an experienced team saves you a lot of time and protects you from repeating the same mistakes. In addition, app development is a multi-stage process involving careful planning and an appropriate timeline.

If you choose to design your app in-house, you cut on the app development cost, at least initially. However, in the long-term, going through a bug fixing caused by a lack of experience may lead to costs amounting to the price tag of an app development agency. Therefore, in-house app development is less costly in the short term but costly in the long term. This is due to the lack of specialty and experience by in-house development teams.

How Much Does It Cost to Create an App?

Well, how much precisely may an app development project cost you? The typical price of designing an application of good quality ranges from $60,000 to $300,000 per platform. Without a doubt, factors like app number, app type, functionality, complexity, and app design drive developers to influence the app price, sometimes to $40 per hour.

  • Simple app development costs. The simple app starts from $60,000 for each platform (e.g. Camera, calculators, photos etc.)
  • Basic app price. The basic app starts from $50,000 to $100,000 per platform (e.g. MacDonald’s Loyalty)
  • Complex, multi-feature app type. The complex app starts from $200,000 (e.g. Uber, Facebook, Instagram).

The app development timelines range from 2-4 months for a simple app, 4-6 months for an app with a basic feature set, and 9-months for a complex app which is considered an ongoing project of immense complexity. Luckily, our software development firm provides an app development calculator that gives you several options to select from and provides a cost estimate of your app.

Benefits of the App Cost Calculator

With our calculator, you will be able to:

  • Effectively track and manage your app development budget
  • Reduce app costs by providing a detailed cost breakdown
  • Pay attention to mobile app cost drivers upfront

Benchmarks of App Development Costs

It makes much sense to launch a mobile app these days because a majority of the population uses apps for their day-to-day activities. Statistics show that 90% of the time on mobile is spent on apps. Messaging and social apps consume 12% of time spent on mobile, YouTube takes 3% of our time on mobile phones, and entertainment apps take approximately 17% of our time. Additionally, gaming is accountable for 15% and utilities 8% of the time spent on mobile.

The most reliable and accurate app development studies provided the following breakdown and quotations of app development costs and their respective timelines:

  • The median app development cost is around $170,400 (at a rate of $150/hour), representing 1145 development hours. According to the 2015 Clutch Survey, this margin could even increase to $727,150 in case of complex app functionality implementation.
  • The average minimum app development project is between $5000 and $10,000. But the typical cost of an app is likely to be higher than this according to a 2017 Clutch Survey.
  • The enterprise mobile app development cost is an average of $150,000 based on the VDC 2017 research.
  • The available app cost calculators quote an average of $267,000 to $350,000 for sophisticated, multi-feature apps.
  • Looking at the app development timeline, 80% of apps take 3+ months to develop; 40% of apps are built-in 6+ months according to the Outsystems Survey.

App Development Cost Drivers

Essentially, your app idea, combined with your functional and business necessities, influences your app development costs. However, the most influential factors that determine the final cost of your app include:

  • Vendor type
  • Vendor location
  • Complexity and number of basic app features
  • Back-end infrastructure and any interconnected application interface APIs
  • The complexity of UI/UX design
  • Inclusion of extra branded visual elements
  • Development approach (mobile web, native, hybrid, etc).
  • The number of platforms to be created or developed (web, android, iOS).

How Much It Cost to Build an App in 2021? The Question Remains

Our question is still open: how much does it cost to create an app in 2021? The key finding shows that the cost of an average app ranges from just $10,000 to $400,000 based on up-to-date industry surveys. Our team has also created a detailed investigation on the cost of app development that lists estimates based on design complexity, widely used app features, and software development stages.

Therefore, our findings support the initial finding regarding the cost of developing an app in 2021. An application with a core set of features costs upwards of $60,000, while a sophisticated app development project costs approximately $300,000. The breakdown below provides a range of costs and timelines for app development.

  • Basic app. A basic app with a core feature set and one platform costs between $60,000 and $150,000 with a development timeline of 2-5 months.
  • Full product. A full product app with a basic feature set, a complex design, and one operating platform costs from $150,000 to $300,000; and has a design timeline of 5-10 months.
  • Large apps. A large app with a complex design, integrated support, and development and features more than one platform (android, web, or iOS) costs from $250,000 and takes a timeframe of 9+ months ongoing.

How is an App Development Cost Estimated?

The main app cost driver is the feature. A feature is a special task or activity which an app should perform and give the expected results. The feature can be a sign-up button on the screen or a more sophisticated aspect like music synchronization or video-streaming integration. The number of features and the complexity of design and implementation directly determine the cost of app development. Thus, the formula used to calculate the cost of an app is provided below:

Total Development Time × Hourly Rate = Cost

Before the app development project begins, the software developers usually provide you with a rough mobile app development estimate. This initial quotation is based on the project description, technical specifications, and business requirements. Finally, this information is collected, compiled, and concluded in a preliminary list of product features.

Usually, companies usually estimate your app development cost using primary drivers:

  • Concepts. This represent a sum of features to be accomplished
  • Stories. List all the features necessary to make a particular concept
  • Story points. Show the app development’s complexity and pace

So, are you ready to start your app development project? Do not worry, contact NS804 for any inquiries and get a free quotation and additional product details about your next app development project.