How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App in 2020? Calculate the App Cost

cost to develop an app

Here is some good news for the mobile app market. According to a report by Research and Markets, the global mobile application market value is projected to reach $407.31 billion by 2026 which was valued at $106.27 billion in 2018. The question here is – how much does it cost to develop an app?

Here is the answer.
On average, the app development cost is between a price range of $2000-$300000.

What if you could learn the important factors that impact the cost of developing an app?

You can actually save money while outsourcing app development.

In this article, you will learn how to calculate app development cost, types and examples of apps, and which factors impact app development cost around the globe. +4 tips that will help you to save your money when you plan to outsource your app development.


“Price is what you pay, value is what you get”- Warren Buffet

Just like every other thing in life, you get what you pay for. You can’t expect to build an amazing app, just for a few dollars. At the same time, spending tons of money doesn’t guarantee successful application development. Yet, you can’t put a price tag on app development.

There are multiple factors that impact the cost range to create an app. Different developer rates, project complexity, the time it takes to create an app, types of app, outsourced or local app development, app design, and other specific features & functionalities.

This article will explain all these factors to tell you how much does it cost to make an app for your business. We’ll begin with defining your app type.

Define Your App Type

The first thing that you need to do is identify your app type in order to estimate the cost of an app development project. We’ll be discussing app types and examples based on technology and complexity.

Types of Apps by Technology


  1. Native App

    These apps are specifically created for a single operating system. Native apps are the singular focus, with the advantage of faster and more reliable performance. Such app developments are more efficient for the resources of the mobile device than other types of mobile apps.

    Users are able to navigate an intuitive interface as it integrates with the mobile operating system flawlessly. Thus user management is done easily. Apps with better UX get featured more often on the App Store. Thus, such savvy apps can be searched more easily by users, and it is easy for a business to reach its potential audience in a short span of time. If you are developing an Android native app, then it will use Java; if you are developing an iOS app it will use Objective C or Swift.

  2. Hybrid Apps

    These apps are a combination of native and web apps. Hybrid apps can be deployed in various operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows, and even can run in various browsers. They are cross-platform and are easily distributed between app stores without several versions.

    Hybrid apps can also rely on platforms that offer platforms like JavaScript APIs if those functionalities are called within a WebView. The hybrid apps majorly depend on plugins, you might not be able to incorporate all of the built-in features a user’s device offers. The development process is streamlined. The mobile application developers have no need to write unique code for all platforms.

    These are specifically made for a single OS, thus they are faster and more refined. They are also cost more time and money to develop.As compared to Native apps, it gives a slow performance. They require less time and money as compared to native apps.
    As users use different versions for using the app, it becomes difficult for the developers to maintain and offer support to all the versions.The hybrid framework allows developers to work with a single codebase for any app version- to handle both iOS and Android platforms.
    They are programmatically more secured compared to hybrid apps. These apps are assured of complete safety and security as they have to get the approval of app stores.These apps are less secure than native apps. They lack binary protections allowing hackers to reverse engineer your app logic and code to attack it with malware
    Developing an app focusing only on one OS can reduce the target market and lead to revenue losses for your development efforts.If you wish to approach a wider audience then the hybrid app development allows targeting users from both platforms at the same time.
  3. Web App

    Today’s technological advancement has answered the question of how to create an app for web browser developers to develop an app that runs in a web browser. Unlike native apps, languages such as C + are implemented easily in web apps. The app updates are easy to perform and are installed easily on the server. They are easy to maintain, sometimes web apps are made for cross-platform app development services. Users can utilize any application from any computer through internet connectivity. Thus, any desktop software products can be web-based application examples.

    In this article, we have curated something for you, a scannable table for you with some basic parameters which will help you in the app’s decision-making and eventually to develop an app.

    PerformanceFaster and more refinedSlower than native appsslower than native apps
    Cost & TimeIt is expensive and the development is time-consumingLess expensive and easy to develop the appLess expensive and is less time-consuming than Hybrid & Native
    PlatformsIt is developed for a particular OSIt is developed for both the platformsIt can be built for Android/iOS/Web
    App MaintenanceThe developers have to roll out a new version with every update. Thus, high maintenanceA hybrid app can easily bypass versions and make the app maintenance simple as updating a web pageWeb apps are easy to maintain as they are deployed easily on every platform
    User ExperienceIt provides the best experience with apt features and functionalitiesIt provides with poor user experience, as it is stuffed with complex featuresIt provides a better experience than Hybrid apps
    Cross-platform TechnologyIt does not support cross-platformIt supports cross-platform as it is a combination of native and web appIt supports cross-platform

Types of Apps Based on Complexity

You can classify the apps into three types according to their complexity. Basic or Simple apps, Medium or Complex apps, Large or Advanced Apps.

  • A simple app is the one that is made without adding any benefits. You will get some basic features and the needed UI options.
  • The complex app is the one with some interesting things to offer such as integration with API, custom UI, and real-time messaging.
  • Advanced apps provide high performance with advanced features such as media processing, real-time sync, custom animation, and more with this app.

Now, there are many other influential elements that directly impact development cost. Let’s have a look at some of these factors that potentially affect the app development price range.

Which Factors Impact Cost to Develop an App?

We’ll discuss 5 factors that impact the cost of developing an app.



  1. Features and Functionalities

    Simply put, complex features are more expensive to develop and simple features are comparatively cheaper. The implementation of the feature or functionality and it’s relation with other features also matters when it comes to the average cost of developing an app.

    The cost of app development depends on the type of app functionality and the number of features in proportion to your data storage. The complexity of features directly impacts the number of hours taken to develop it. The number of app screens, buttons, pathways, server costs, OS versions, and the type of automation – all of it are cost drivers when it comes to mobile application development.

    For instance, you are planning to develop a “search” feature.

    Now, you might think that this feature integration is quite simple as it is present in almost every app. But this little, simple feature takes about 12-18 hours in development. Let’s assume that you are hiring an app developer at a low rate of $35/hour, then the cost of developing a mobile app feature comes to $420-$630.

    There are many other features like in-app purchases, geolocation, user-login, navigation, social media integration, admin panel, user profile, video calls, push notifications, and another development stage whose costs differ for every app project. The development cost also depends on the app development company’s quality assurance. There are no fixed costs of app development as it all depends on the scale and design complexity of the in-app functionality and feature set.

    Let’s take a simple example of something, say in-app purchases or payment features.

    When you plan to integrate such a feature, you will have to secure your user’s payment with payment gateway integration. Android Pay, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Stripe, PayPal, Intuit, Square, Braintree, and many others are the options to select from. There are several factors that decide the hours and pricing structure while integrating such a feature.

    • How do you want the payment to get processed? (credit/debit cards, COD, mobile wallets)
    • Where to store the users’ payment data securely using data encryption in the app?
    • How do you want to secure digital transactions?

    We at Space-O Technologies have integrated over 1500 payment gateway integration features in different apps from salon to delivery. Our iOS, Android app developers admit to us that it takes approximately 40-50 hours to develop or even more to integrate a payment system with desired results. Thus, this feature almost will cost you between a range of $1400-1750.

    We have curated a set of features with their development complexities accompanied by approximate cost and hours. Suppose the app company would cost estimation at $35.

    FeaturesComplexityApproximate HoursApproximate Cost
    GeolocationThis is based on a mobile’s GPS (using Google Maps), geolocation accuracy, accurate location.40-60$1400-$2100
    ChatbotDirect individual messaging or group chat, support file transfer, messaging, and history or auto-delete them after a period of time, offline mode.80-100$2800-$3500
    In-app purchasesIt depends on no of items or list of products/services, subscriptions, premium features.20-40$700-$1400
    Multi-language supportThe major task is data management and UI adjustments, interface readjustments with different languages and directions.15-40$525-$1400
    StreamingReal-time data sending to the server, supportive video-audio(streaming) file formats, record-and-send option through a local file.Minimum 30$1050 and above
  2. App Platforms

    On which platform have you planned to launch your app? iOS or Android? The targeted audience is the deciding factor in the final results. One of the major aspects of driving mobile app development costs is the app deployment platform.

    According to Statista, Android captures 85% of the global market share when we compare mobile OS. However, Apple captures a large share of the American market by holding more than 40% of the U.S. audience.

    Both the platforms have different offerings, results, and cases, and if you are someone to build an app considering both app stores, then you should develop a native app for your product or service.

    In case you decide to go for only one OS, we have curated some advantages for you considering the app functionality.

     It is open-source and has comparatively low entry barriers that allow startups and small businesses to develop apps easily. iOS has more security than Android.
    There are more opportunities for businesses and developers to get the best out of UI.Such an app platform provides you with a filtered audience.
    These are distributed through third-party marketplaces. Such multi-network distribution helps increase market penetration.The users are assured beforehand about the smooth functioning of the app, resulting in better customer experience.
    Android apps are easily approved compared to iOS apps.The strong brand value and better scalability are achieved through customized iPhone app development.

    If you are planning to launch your app on both platforms, then you will need to choose between native or hybrid apps. You can hire Android or iOS developers according to your requirements. If you need to know something more, feel free to contact us and we’ll help you out.

    Have an Idea for an App? Want to Create Your Dream App?

    Get your free quote now.

  3. Local/ Outsourced App Development

    If you are hiring an employee, you don’t have to just pay for his salary. You will also need to pay for the devices he will use, electricity, water, coffee, internet, the furniture, and any other facilities that your company offers. This increases the overhead costs as you add more employees. That’s the problem with inhouse development – it might end up costing you more overall.

    With outsourcing, if you are careful about where you are investing your money, it will really work in your favor. With an efficient mobile app development company, you will get better results with strong technical backing, clean, and efficiently coded app products.

    Have a look at this difference to have an apt viewpoint of outsourcing and local app development.

    Outsource App DevelopmentLocal App Development
    • Outsourcing an app is much cheaper than working with a local team.
    • Reduction of charges and other fees. A client does not have to invest time and resources in the organization of the workplace, of employees, and infrastructure.
    • There is no need to monitor the project or be bothered about the employee’s illness. Working with an outsourcing company automatically guarantees that the project will be fully completed.
    • The speed and quality of the outsourced app development have extensive experience. The client can return the pre-payment or services if he doesn’t like the end result of the job. A client does not have to look at employee retention or the bare expenditure of his training.
    • To make an app locally is expensive as it comes with other app development services.
    • A client has to invest his time and resources in the organization and its employees.
    • The development process is bothered by the employees’ leave, illness, job time. As a client, your mobile application will be impacted by such a development process glitch.
    • In this scenario, the client has to hire an app development team and have to take all the decisions from hiring to firing, to train and brief them about the development process. It consumes a lot of time, money, and energy, & still is unsure about the quality of work.

    Moreover, you don’t have to look after any of the overhead costs or worry about the management of the employees. All you will need to do would be paying the billed amount to the outsourced company and relax. This would make things easier for you so you can focus on the core functions of your company and leave the development to the experts. Hence, outsourcing your app development would definitely reduce the overall app development costs.

  4. Hired Company

    The harsh reality is that there are fraudsters in every industry. But not everyone’s the same. There are many mobile app development companies that have been working with multiple customers for a number of years. Such companies offer multiple benefits to every client that works with them.

    To hire the right firm, you should ask for recommendations from people close to you. You can also talk to the clients of that firm to check if the client faced any problems and how it was solved by the firm. You can also ask about their app development stage and know their development steps.

    As our clients like to say, with Space-O Technologies as your mobile app development agency, you will get an all-in-one deal. We value your privacy and data security, which is why we sign a nondisclosure agreement with all our clients. Apart from this, we already have the experience of developing over 3,500 mobile app products, so you can expect professionalism and efficiency from us.

    Some of our popular apps include but are not limited to the Glovo grocery delivery app which was covered by top news sites like TechCrunch, Bloomberg, and has received a total funding of $513M, and Bevy alcohol delivery app which has been covered by TechCrunch and The HuffPost.

    We offer several flexible hiring models which will work in your favor because you will get to hire developers as per your convenience. Working with us will ensure that you will get your money’s worth for your mobile app development.

  5. Country Where You Outsource Mobile App Development

    The cost of living in the U.S. is rising steadily and was already averaging at $170 daily in 2018 according to data from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hence, the people living there need a higher amount of pay to survive. In turn, hourly wages will be higher in comparison. This situation is applicable to all the developed countries across the world such as countries of Eastern Europe or North America, the U.S., the U.K, and Australia amongst others. Hence, if you opt for one of these countries, it is but natural that your cost to develop an app will rise up.

    However, there are other developing countries with a good talent pool. Many multinational corporations outsource their software development projects to India and some other Asian countries. Since these nations are still in the category of developing countries, the per capita income is comparatively lower. This reduces your cost per hour as well as, gives clarity on app development cost breakdown and app logic or app architecture.

    If we split the app category into three sections to understand the products’ complexity and take the app development costs by regions, you might be able to calculate your estimated cost for an app.

    app development cost by regions

    Let’s have a look at how much does it cost to make an app by yourself in different regions in the world. We have a scannable table with countries and their respective hourly charges.

    CountryHourly Charge
    U.S.A$ 50-200
    UK$ 30-70
    Australia$ 40-110
    India$ 30-70
    Indonesia$ 10-20

    Fortunately, we have a development center in India and our talent pool is rather strong. By considering Space-O Technologies for your mobile app development, you will be able to stick to your app development budget and also get professional mobile app development services in return.

How to Calculate the Cost for Developing an App?

No one can provide you app cost calculators, as the cost of developing an app may change with even the slightest of changes. But in this article, we’ll tell you how to get an estimate.

Let’s assume that a leading mobile app development agency like us charges $35 an hour and the development time it takes to make an ordinary app is 80-90 hours (initial phase). Here’s the simple formula that you can use for calculating the cost of mobile applications for your business or startup:


Development time x Cost per hour = Total app development cost

In this sense, the answer to how much does it cost to start an app is anywhere from $2800 to $3150.

Now, after calculating the costs to develop an app, if you are having a similar concept from the best app examples like Uber, Tinder, Instagram, Whatsapp. We have studied different top app development costs in different categories.

Approximate Cost to Make Apps in Different Categories

Business apps or gaming apps do not cost the same. According to VDC research survey results, most organizations spend an average of $140,000 on building their enterprise apps but the range is from USD 100,000 to 500,000. Small apps can be built within a range of somewhere between USD 10, 000 to 50,000.

Here, we have compared various top app products as per their mobile app cost in different categories worldwide.


These apps are popular in both iOS and Android, so we have mentioned the approximate app development cost for both platforms in the table. Feel free to bookmark this article for the average cost of building an app. This table will tell you the cost to develop an app like Uber, Airbnb, Instagram, Amazon, and Tinder.

Sr. No.App CategoryTop AppThe approximate development hours for AndroidThe approximate development hours for iOSWeb Panel (Back-end Development)
1Maps & NavigationUber848.4hrs695.8 hrs511 hrs
2Social MediaInstagram1910.16 hrs1591.8 hrs125 hrs
3ShoppingAmazon2036.16 hrs1696.8 hrs250 hrs
4DatingTinder450 hrs400 hrs200 hrs
5TravelAirbnb1554 hrs1295 hrs165 hrs

Cost to Build an App Based on Development Stages

App development is not a single level process. In fact, there are 9 steps to create an app successfully.


You will need a business analyst, designer, project management lead, QA tester, and PHP developers for the backend, along with app developers. Each member of the team charges a specific hourly fee.

For your better understanding, we have curated an approximate hourly cost table of the intricate team members like business analysts, a project manager, lead developer, senior or junior QA engineer, graphic designers, appointed on a basic app development process. Have a look at this app cost breakdown and development team.

Team MembersDutiesHourly Cost
Business AnalystTo know the actual scope and app cost along with overall market profitability. They develop and monitor data quality metrics and ensure business data and reporting needs are met.$22-25
Project ManagerThe major task of the project managers is to meet deadlines and communicate with the team to avoid misconduct. Every detail of the client is briefly translated by the P.M.$45
DeveloperWrites the code of an app, integrates the app features, fixes bugs, and upgrades advanced features.$35
Backend DeveloperEnsures that the mobile application works correctly. The database, content management system, and the back-end server-side are functioning in a sink with each other in real-time.$35
QATest each part of the app, controls code does bug fixes, and app design elements ensure the end-product meets project requirements.$24
Graphic DesignerWorks on the UI/UX of the app. They solve the app interface and designing issues and optimize the tasks for smooth in-app navigation$27

After calculating these costs, we are sure you are thinking about how to reduce your mobile app development cost.

Tips to Reduce the Cost of Creating an App


  • In-detailed requirement- Carry out complete business analysis considering all the cases. Jot down all your requirements which will help you in clear communication with the app developer that will save their time and efforts.
  • Clear & concise app purpose- Keep your app’s purpose clear & concise like if you want to develop a food ordering app, then it will only take orders from users and deliver it on time.
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP)- This is a new development technique in which an application developed with only one region, sufficient features, and functionalities to suffice the early users’ needs.
  • Integrate Useful Features- If you have decided to develop an app, it is not mandatory to include a lot of features in your first version.

The app costs fluctuate depending on the size of the project and the involvement of the developers. App maintenance is a must-have service even if you have no plans for upgrading or adding new features in the app.

App Maintenance Cost

After looking at these costs to develop an app, now let’s talk about the app maintenance costs.

If you are thinking that once the app is deployed on your desired app platform, your job is done then you are thinking in the wrong direction.

Once the app is deployed there is a constant need of upgrading its features and functionalities to increase the user engagement on the Google or Apple app store platforms. The app development agencies like us have a dedicated team of developers who control the back-end development of your project after it is deployed on the platform for a stipulated time period.

According to the results if one of the industry surveys by the Clutch survey in 2017, after the app launch, you can expect to spend around $5,000 – $10,000 annually for support and app maintenance costs. If you are a startup, you must spend your seed funding or seed round amount carefully as you need to take care of maintenance as well.

Have an Idea for an App? Want to Create Your Dream App?

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Let’s now take a look at some of the frequently asked questions.


How much money do apps make?

They are a billion-dollar business. In 2018, global mobile app revenues amounted to over 365 billion U.S. dollars. It is projected to generate 935 billion U.S. dollars in 2023 via paid downloads and in-app advertising.

It is extremely hard to put a particular figure around how much revenue an app can generate because of the varied app genres, user management functionalities, and the disparity of money they produce. There are many monetization strategies and models that channelize app revenues.

The number of mobile app downloads worldwide in 2019 is 204bn. With such impressive consumption numbers, it’s no wonder that startups and entrepreneurs alike are trying to get a piece of the modern-day gold mine.

Is it hard to create an app? How to make an app?

The creation of an app depends on the concept, its complexity, and the project estimate. It is the end product that you have in mind, which plays a major role in deciding the total cost to build an app too. You need to consult an experienced app development company like us who will define your app’s design and development goals. Thus, the development of an app is hard or easy, depending on its features and functionalities.

How much time does it take to develop an app?

The time required to develop an app can range from 2-3 weeks to 9+ months. It depends on multiple factors including the number of features and their complexity, uniqueness of the design, development complications, use of third-party services, and so on.

How to hire mobile app developers?

The main way to find and hire dedicated developers is to look for them online on websites like Clutch or Upwork. These websites have their old clients’ feedback as well as showcase their previous experiences. Recently we received the Top Rated Plus Badge on Upwork for our achievement with our enterprise customers. You can find app developers via word of mouth from your social networks as well.

How much does it cost to put an app on the app store?

We will talk about the AppStore, Amazon Appstore as well as Google Play Store. The charge of getting a developer account approved to launch an iOS app is $99 per year. Further, the AppStore transaction fee is 15 percent for every purchase or apps prices. That means if it costs $10 for downloading your application, subscription, or in-app purchase, you’ll have to pay $1.50.

Google Play Store has a different charging plan. It charges a one-time lifetime registration fee of $25 (no per month or year charges)to register as a developer on it. Google Play Store charges 30% for every purchase. this charge decreases to 15% for subscription apps after a year. On Amazon AppStore, it’s free to register as a developer and publish your app. Again no per month or yearly charges, however, they charge a fee of 30 percent for every purchase.


We hope that after reading this article, you know how to calculate the cost of developing apps when you hire developers to build your app. But the cost estimate you saw in this article was for other apps. We know what you really want is an estimate for your app project. So what are you waiting for?

At Space-O Technologies, we have the best app developers for both Android and iOS platforms, depending on your needs. Being among the app development companies we provide a free consultation to address your requirements.

So if you have any queries or confusion regarding the app development process, tools, app design costs, overall app development timeline, information about the development team, then fill up the contact form in the footer to get your app development cost calculator needs today. Our sales representative will reach out to you and gather your requirements to calculate the cost as per the app complexity and app users interface or answer your query on how much does it cost to build an app for your business.

This page was last edited on October 27th, 2020, at 2:37.

Author Bio

Jigar Mistry

Jigar Mistry

Designation: Vice President (Technologies)

Jigar Mistry is Vice President (Technologies) at Space-O Technologies. He has 14+ years of experience in the web and mobile app development industry. He has expertise in different mobile app categories like health and fitness, eCommerce, and on-demand.


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