how much does it cost to build an app in 2024

How much does it cost to build an app? In 2024, businesses will become more reliant on apps for daily tasks and operations. Thus, they need to understand app development costs to achieve their goals without breaking the bank. They should also learn the factors involved in the cost breakdown to ensure they have a cost-effective yet functional app. 

Today, STS Software GmbH will explore the ins and outs of app development cost, from the expense you spend on every stage of the development process to all the factors contributing to the final price. So, join us now to discover!  

Understanding App Development Costs

understanding app development costs

The app development cost varies widely, from $10,000 to $500,000, depending on many factors, such as the type of app, its features, integration, and requirements. The specific technologies you use in the app development process also impact the final cost. There are four main steps to consider: 

  • Development
  • Design
  • Testing
  • Deployment

Each step above plays a different role, affecting the cost to develop an app. You can explore them one by one right here and find some cost-saving strategies to get good value for your money. 

Design Phase Costs

Design plays a crucial role in app development. First impressions of customers on your app are 94% design-related. Here are some steps in the design stage:

1. UI design

UI design highlights the visual elements of your app, such as layouts, buttons, and icons. Its costs may include the fees for licenses and graphics. If you need more elements in your app, the price will increase. 

2. UX design

UX design refers to users’ interaction with your apps, including how they feel about that interaction. A good UX can improve their satisfaction and conversion rates. So, to bring out the best of the design, you should invest in research and design software. 

3. Graphic design

When you gather all the visual elements of your app, you have its graphic design. Designers may use free apps to carry out this task. However, some elements are not for free. Sometimes, you use paid graphics for your professional app design code. 

4. Prototyping

A prototype helps you and your team visualize your app. There are both free and paid prototyping tools so that you can choose a cheaper way to develop your prototype. 

You can also reduce cost for app designing by using free or ready-made templates and focusing on essential features of your prototype. You can also work with experienced designers who offer cost-effective solutions.

Development Phase Costs

Development is the most important stage. You can estimate the cost to develop an app based on its features and functionalities. Generally, the more features your app has, the more expensive it is. App development is also a costly process because it includes many complicated steps, such as:

1. Planning and research

Before building your app, developers have to learn your needs, study market trends, and develop information sources. This planning and research task takes up a few days or even weeks. Moreover, it requires resources related to customer and market data. So, you have to pay for the insights. 

2. UI/UX design

UI/UX design is part of development, too. It gives developers detailed requirements regarding layout and visual elements. Then, they can use the design to enhance the app’s accessibility and usability.  

3. Frontend development

Frontend development focuses on creating the app’s user interfaces. This process can be costly because it may need interactive elements and animations. Developers must use advanced technologies to ensure its optimization. 

4. Backend development

Backend development works on the app’s server. It’s something you can’t see but determines how your app functions. Like the frontend development, the backend can significantly increase the cost of app development due to the complicated development tools. Developers use them to deal with the app’s performance, scalability, and security. 

5. Integrations

Many apps these days work with external systems. Thus, when building an app, you need to consider its integrations, which cost more money. 

One of the best ways to reduce the app development cost is to choose offshore software development. Your offshore partners know which technologies work best for your project, saving you time when experimenting with unnecessary tools. Moreover, you can outsource to a country with a lower labor rate to build a high–quality app without breaking the bank.  

Testing Phase Costs

Testing ensures that your app meets quality standards and works as intended. It takes place during the development process. There are different types of app testing: 

1. Functional testing

This test checks if your app’s features work correctly. When done properly, it helps improve user experience and reduce risks. This test can be automated or manual. Depending on your chosen method, the app testing cost can be different. 

2. Performance testing

This test focuses on the app’s efficiency and speed to identify performance issues. Testers have to cover various techniques in performance testing, including stress, scalability, and load testing.

3. Security testing

If security is your top concern, do not save money on this test. It defends your app against potential risks and hackers. You can also ensure data integrity and build a strong safety ring around your app. 

4. Usability testing

Customers are the center of your app development process. Thus, work on usability testing to guarantee that your app can be user-friendly. This test finds and solves user errors, too, to achieve your purpose. 

You can save your mobile app testing cost by dealing well with the testing process. For example, if you prioritize user experience, invest more in usability testing. The key is to opt for the critical tests only. They can be costly, but you can save money on fixing problems in the future. 

Deployment Phase Costs

After testing, you will deploy your app. This process is about making it accessible to users and involves these fees: 

1. App Store fees

App stores charge fees for hosting and distributing your apps. For example, Apple takes at least a 30% commission rate for regular subscriptions and transactions on the App Store. 

2. Server and hosting costs

Server and hosting costs are the expenses for setting up and managing the infrastructure to host your app. You have many hosting options, with cloud-based platforms among the most popular choices due to their cost-effectiveness. For example, Amazon Web Services only requires you to pay for what you get. The maintenance cost here is low, too. 

3. Launch marketing costs

If you want to attract users, consider investing in running marketing campaigns. Some companies even partner with celebrities or influencers to promote their products, which costs a lot. 

If you want to reduce your app deployment cost, find affordable hosting services. Cloud computing is worth trying. Also, focus on cost-friendly marketing channels, such as content marketing or social media. 

Maintenance and Updates Costs

Even after deploying your app, you will have to spend money on it. Every app demands continuous maintenance and updates to perform correctly. 

1. Bug fixes

Developers allocate 20% of their time to fix bugs in their software. Technical issues may arise after the app’s release. Thus, you must pay for the bug fixing to ensure its performance. 

2. Updates and enhancements

Consider the costs for updates and enhancements, too. They include adding new features and upgrading interfaces based on user feedback. 

3. Server maintenance

You need to maintain your app’s content, users, data, and other elements on the server. Most servers demand monthly payments to manage apps. 

4. Security updates

Security testing is important, but it doesn’t eliminate all the threats. So, you have to implement security protocols to protect your app. 

You can reduce the app maintenance cost by investing in a cross-platform app. Building an MVP first is also a smart move, as it helps you gather user feedback to perfect the final product. This way, you can develop the best app for your customers while avoiding too much maintenance. 

Factors Affecting App Development Costs

factors affecting app development costs

Many factors affect how much it costs to build a mobile app, including the app’s complexity, platform compatibility, design requirements, features, functionality, and integrations with external services. Before starting your project, you need to consider all of them. 

Complexity of the App

Complexity can determine how much it costs to build a mobile app. Here is an app development cost breakdown in terms of app complexity:

  • Simple apps: You may only need business cards to showcase your company’s information. This simple app includes simple features, hence the cheapest option. 
  • Medium apps: These apps can be online stores or booking systems. They call for sophisticated features and custom UI. So, you need to pay more for them. 
  • Complex apps: As the name implies, complex apps are the most complicated because they come with advanced features and bespoke UI. Social media apps like TikTok and Instagram are the most notable examples of these apps. 

Platform Compatibility

Where do you want your app to work? The answer is the guideline for your project, and also affects your mobile app development cost. 

Android app development cost is generally higher than iOS app development cost. Some businesses build cross-platform apps so that they work on different operating systems. They also help save more costs than the native apps. 

Design Requirements

Design is an essential stage of app development. Thus, you have to consider the app design costs. Basic UI/UX designs are cheaper because they have pre-made templates and standard elements. Meanwhile, custom designs are tailored to your needs. The designers have to put more effort and resources into those designs. Hence, they cost more. 

Features and Functionality

The number of features your app has can surely determine the mobile app development cost. Basic features call for minimal investment. On the other hand, if you want to build advanced features, the developers have to work harder. Thus, they will charge you more. 

Integration with Third-party Services

When building your app, you can integrate with third-party services, such as payment gateways, APIs, SDKs, and social media integration. However, these extensions mean you add complexity and functionality to your project. Finally, it can be more expensive, depending on your chosen third party services cost in mobile apps. 

Case Studies: Real-world Examples

Here are some mobile app development case studies and their estimated development costs. Let’s see what you can learn from them! 

Case Study 1: Simple Utility App

Developing a simple utility app like a calculator may cost from $15,000 to $25,000. This type of app requires basic math functions and a user-friendly interface. By focusing on those essential features, you can easily meet user needs and save your money. 

Case Study 2: Social Networking App

TikTok is one of the leading social media platforms. It has innovative features, such as editing tools, filters, video recommendations, connecting, and many more. You need about $60,000 to $100,000 to develop such an advanced app. It’s worth the investment because you can use the app to access a massive user base and foster a vibrant community. 

Case Study 3: E-commerce App

Amazon is a worldwide famous e-commerce app with a wealth of products and services. It demands a minimum development cost of $50,000 due to the various features, including product reviews, payment integration, order tracking, customer support, etc. For such an e-commerce app, robust server hosting is needed to handle high traffic volumes. 

Conclusion

The app development costs depend on various factors, such as its complexity, design, features, compatible platforms, and integrations. What you use in every stage of the development process also contributes to the cost. Hence, consider multiple solutions to opt for the most cost-effective one so that you can manage your budget better. 

Working with STS Software ensures a seamless journey to success and saves money on app development. We offer expertise and dedication to help you overcome cost-related issues while delivering top-notch services to your needs. If you are ready for the project, contact us now and bring your vision to life! 

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