How Much Does it Cost to Design a Mobile App?

How Much Does it Cost to Design a Mobile App
01Dec, 2020

Mobile apps provide businesses with a host of advantages. Unlike a regular browser experience, users are “contained” in the app environment and less liable to distractions. You can also tailor the experience far more than you can if you rely on regular HTML.

But what about the cost? After all, that’s what businesses care about most. They want to know whether they will get a return on developing a mobile app or not. If the price is too high, it’s not worth the investment. The return isn’t there.

The Price Of Designing A Mobile App

Many established companies are surprised to learn just how inexpensive it is to develop a professional corporate app in 2020, even in the US.
Fundamentally, the amount that an app costs to develop relates to the labor dedicated to creating it. Design for a simple app can take as little as 30 hours, but most companies require some bespoke functionality, which could take between 100 and 200 hours to complete. Some very complex apps might take upwards of 1,000 hours.

The amount that developers charge by the hour determines the final price of the app. In the United States, development fees run between $150 and $200 per hour. If you get developers in Western Europe to develop your app, you’ll pay between $50 and $130 for their time. And if you go to India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, you’ll only pay between $10 and $20 per hour.

With this information, you can begin to estimate how much it’s likely to cost to develop an app for your enterprise.
If you just want a basic app with a simple user interface and ask developers in India to make it, you’ll pay somewhere between $300 and $600 – which is very little in the grand scheme of things.

If you have a complex app and you go to developers in the US, you could pay between $150,000 and $200,000.
Both these examples are extreme, but they give you a flavor of the kind of prices you can expect in today’s market.

More generally, if you have a moderately complex app that takes 150 hours to put together and pay reasonably-priced developers $100 per hour to get the job done, the final bill will be around $15,000. Once the app is in place, it will always be available for your company and may help to generate many more leads than standard channels.

What Other Factors Contribute To The Cost Of App Development?

We’ve already covered some of the specific factors that affect development cost – such as which country you choose to develop your app. But what else contributes to the cost?

Pre-Development Research

In some cases, pre-development research can add to app development costs. Developers need to study the market to determine which types of apps are having the most success in the current consumer landscape. Generally, the research phase involves getting a clearer picture of the market scenario and understanding the type of features that the company needs if it intends to thrive.

The Platform

The platform is another factor that contributes to the cost of app development. Today, there are apps for smartphones, messenger services, AI-powered home assistants, VR apps, smart cars, connected TVs, and so on. And each of these requires a slightly different development approach. Apps for handheld devices are generally less expensive because the ecosystem is more developed. Doing the same for IoT is more difficult because there are fewer shortcuts.

API Integration

In many cases, companies just want standalone apps. But in some instances, they also need API integrations. Many apps, for instance, integrate with social networks. Thus, if the social media platform decides to update its API, it can also push up the app’s long-run cost.

Data Security

Some commercial apps don’t require any user data to provide value, but they are rare. Most need names, email addresses, and payment details – all sensitive pieces of information customers want to keep safe.
In general, highly secure apps require more development time and ongoing support. Many require updates after they launch to reduce the chance of a breach.


Lastly, localization – or the process of adapting an app to a specific region – can take time, again pushing up the price. Here, developers effectively have to create multiple distinct versions of the same piece of software to make it suitable for people in different counties. In many cases, language translation becomes a significant part of the cost.