What Factors Affect the Cost of Mobile App Development?

There tends to be a misconception among business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups that just because there are so many apps out there, that they’re somehow easy to develop.

The existence of an app doesn’t mean that it’s being used, nor that it’s creating revenue. In fact, many apps disappear soon after they’re introduced to the marketplace.

Developing an app can be a time-consuming and expensive process, particularly if your concern is developing something that’s high-quality with robust functionality.

That doesn’t mean app development is out of reach for individual entrepreneurs and small businesses, but it is important to know what to expect regarding the cost.

The following are some of the primary factors that influence the cost to build an app.

The Type of App

There are three primary app types, which are native, web and hybrid.

There are a lot of details to understand about each before you decide which is right for you, but generally, a web app is a mobile version of a website. A native app is built for a specific operating system, such as either Android or iOS, and a hybrid app has cross-platform functionality.

Price varies between these. For example, it’s generally less expensive to build iOS apps as compared to Android apps, but these apps also need lots of updates because of constant changes to the iOS system, so long-term costs might be higher.

Native apps, in general, tend to be more expensive than other options, but they also offer better performance in many cases.


The functionality and objectives of an app factor heavily into how much it will cost to develop it, and also ultimately maintain it.

If you need a simple app with one or two primary functions, it’s obviously going to be less expensive than an enterprise app that needs to be usable across the world.

For some entrepreneurs and small businesses, it can make financial sense to start with more limited functionality and then grow the app over time as budget allows.

If you’re developing an app that will manage profiles for tens of thousands of users or more, this will be more expensive, as will creating an app designed to allow users to make e-commerce purchases and transactions. Related to the example of e-Commerce transactions are backend integrations, which again, can raise the price of development.

These are just a few examples of the more expensive functionalities that can be incorporated into a new app.

Design Requirements

Along with the functionalities themselves, if you want to create an app with a lot of complexity in the design requirements, this will raise the cost of development as well.

Just one example of this would be a gaming app, which would require effects and graphics and would add an additional layer to the cost of development.

Finally, with the development of an app, there is the need for testing to ensure it’s bug and error-free, and testing also determines how expensive development will be. For example, if extensive testing is required before launching an app, this is going to mean a more expensive development process.

Are these the only factors that play a role in the cost of developing an app? No, but they are some of the most important.


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