The question about the cost of creating a mobile application is one of the most frequently asked by our Clients. At the same time, this is one of the questions that is difficult to give a quick, precise answer. This is due to the fact that the cost of developing a mobile application is influenced by many factors, ranging from the planned functionality, through the complexity of the interface, to the technology used.
As a result, most often, without a thorough analysis and detailed calculation, only a range of costs can be provided, based on the example of previously created applications that have similar functionalities.
In this article, we will explain what exactly determines the cost of creating a mobile application and we will discuss the often overlooked topic of additional expenses related to its further maintenance.
Introduction – why it is worth investing in creating a mobile application
In today’s reality, a well-developed mobile application can be a valuable tool supporting the business processes in the company or being a source of significant revenue.
The popularity of this solution is evidenced by the data published by Statista.com, according to which in the second quarter of 2022, the Google Play store provided over 3.5 million mobile applications, while the Apple App Store provided access to nearly 2.2 million applications.
What’s more, the authors of the Statista Digital Market Outlook report predict that revenues from the mobile application market in various industries will systematically grow to reach the level of approximately USD 613 billion in 2025.
Certainly, the interest of companies in developing their own mobile application will grow, which is why we decided to present the factors that affect the cost of creating such a solution.
Thanks to this, even before contacting a software house such as SOFTIQ, you can estimate the general cost that you should consider.
From our article, you will also learn what information a software house should receive from you about the planned application in order to prepare a precise calculation.
However, if you came across our analysis while already at the stage of collecting data for the inquiry, we encourage you to contact one of our consultants or download the mobile application brief template developed by us.
What is the average cost of developing a mobile application?
As we mentioned, many factors must be taken into account in order to prepare an accurate quote for a mobile application. This does not mean that the average cost of preparing such a solution cannot be estimated based on the available data.
For example, according to the data published by Kinvey in the report “State of enterprise mobility – CIO & mobile leader survey“, the average cost of developing an application is $ 270,000.
As this example shows, the costs of developing a mobile application vary greatly, and their precise determination requires the analysis of many factors.
So what exactly affects the cost of the application?
What elements affect the cost of developing a mobile application?
The cost of a mobile application is affected by many different factors, including the level of complexity, the scale of the project, the platform or platforms on which the application will run, as well as the functions it will perform.
There are many variables that affect the final cost of an application, so determining the final price of a mobile application requires careful analysis, often including product workshops or deep dive consulting sessions.
During such workshops, not only the business goals to be achieved by the mobile application are taken into account, but appropriate attention to the usability aspect as well.
Elements that must be considered when pricing a mobile application include:
1. Research and analysis
The first and most important phase of app development is research. The success of the application largely depends on the amount and quality of research carried out before starting work, thanks to which it is possible to understand the needs of users and design the solution accordingly.
The proper definition of user groups, their needs, and expectations will be of key importance for the further direction of work, selected functionalities, and applied solutions.
2. The composition of the application development team
The cost of developing a mobile application may vary depending on who we engage to develop it.
In the case of an experienced software house, the final cost will reflect not only the price of programmers’ work, but also UI/UX designers, project managers, analysts, testers, and other employees specialized in particular areas of application development, thanks to which you can be sure that the emerging solution will be comprehensively designed.
3. The operating system on which the application will run
The cost of developing a mobile app will vary depending on whether it is designed for Android only, iOS, or both.
Differences in application development costs depend on the operating system result, among others, from the different programming languages used to create them. Developers who know Java or Kotlin will be needed to develop Android applications while building iOS applications requires coding in Swift or Objective-C, which translates into a slightly higher cost of developer work.
Compatibility with various mobile devices is also important – in the case of iOS, there will be definitely fewer types of devices and screen sizes that need to be taken into account when creating an application than in the case of Android. As a result, the cost of developing an Android application compatible with many devices will be higher than for iOS.
A way to reduce costs in the case of Android may be to create applications with a few of the most popular devices in mind. Another solution that allows you to optimize expenses may be the use of a cross-platform framework, such as Flutter, thanks to which the application will be available on both operating systems.
An experienced software house, such as SOFTIQ, can offer you a solution best suited to the specifics of your project.
4. The size and complexity of the mobile application
The cost of creating a mobile application will also vary depending on its size and complexity.
In the case of small applications, most often designed for one platform, with a limited number of functions and using standard user interface elements, the costs will be lower. A good example of such a solution is the weather app that comes pre-installed on most smartphones.
A medium-complex application can mean both a single-system solution with a customized user interface, and a less complex cross-platform application that uses standard interface elements.
Large, complex applications, on the other hand, are feature-rich, offer multi-language support, integrate third-party systems, and use professionally designed custom interfaces and custom animations. They also often require extensive development facilities to store and manage large databases. An example of such an application can be, for example, Uber or Amazon.
5. Mobile application design, including analysis and UI/UX design
Appropriately designing a mobile application requires time and experienced employees, which translates into costs.
They will change, depending on the complexity of the project, the number of platforms on which the application is to run, and the designer’s experience.
During the design process, you will need to analyze every visual and functional aspect of the application to ensure seamless user interaction.
All these factors directly affect the time the designer will need to create the application. The more time it takes to design, the higher the cost of developing the application will be.
6. Planned features and functions
Much of the cost is related to the features to be included in the app. The more functions we add, the higher the cost of developing a mobile app will be.
At a basic level, most customers expect the application to have the following features:
- user login,
- chat or messages,
- registration via social media or e-mail,
- in-app purchases,
- push notifications,
- vertical or horizontal view,
- payment integration.
Additional functionalities, especially non-standard, will significantly affect the final cost of creating a mobile application.
7. Application testing
Application testing is essential to ensure its performance and stability. It is important to remember that one test is never enough and that testing of the application should be carried out continuously to ensure that the application works well on all types of devices and in all possible scenarios.
Mobile apps require more rigorous testing than, for example, websites, as mobile platforms vary greatly by device, OS version, etc.
As a result, testing your application against multiple devices and systems can mean increased costs that cannot be completely avoided.
8. Application security
Security should be the top priority no matter what kind of application you’re building.
Since most applications will store sensitive data such as employee information, customer details, transaction records, and other payment details, ensuring the highest level of security is very important.
The stronger the security measures used, the higher the costs will be, but you should not save on the security of user data.
The solutions used may include the use of multi-factor authentication to secure user data as well as data validation and threat modeling. The number and type of security measures used will translate into the final cost of creating a mobile application.
What are the further costs of maintaining the mobile application?
Unfortunately, the creation of the application itself is not the end of expenses. In order for it to work properly and be safe for users, it is necessary to incur additional costs, including:
- push notification fees,
- commissions for payments in the application,
- developer fees in app stores,
- analytics costs,
- costs of third-party services,
- customer support,
- and taking care of regular updates.
Currently, almost 30% of existing mobile applications are updated at least once a month, while another 52.8% of applications are updated every 6 months on average.
The cost of developing each update will depend on the scale of changes, and thus on the time that the development team has to spend on their development. The need for an update can be forced by many factors, such as the introduction of a newer version of the operating system, updating to the latest versions of third-party services, fixing bugs, optimizing code, and controlling application stability and server performance.
The initial answer to the question of what the cost of creating and maintaining a mobile application will be will always be based on estimates.
Only a thorough analysis and taking into account such features of the application as the number of functions, appearance, platform on which it is to operate and many other variables will allow you to prepare a calculation that takes into account the total costs of the project.
If you are wondering what would be the cost of developing a mobile application for your company, we encourage you to contact our consultants who will help you assess it.
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