Anastasia Lushyna · Business Development Expert

App Development Cost in 2018: True Facts and Figures

App Development Cost in 2018: True Facts and Figures

Even if you are planning to develop an extremely complex application, this doesn’t mean that you will have to pony up tens of thousands dollars at once. Start with calculating the cost of MVP — it may require only a few thousand! So, are you relaxed enough? Great, then we can start.

How Much the Stages Of App Development Process Can Cost

The report from calculated the time required to pass the following app development stages: planning, design, features, infrastructure, app administration, testing, and deployment. The results they got look like this:

Stage Hours
Planning 67
Design 171.5
Development 213.5
Infrastructure 380
App Administration 140
Testing 160
Deployment 11

These numbers are average, so all these stages may take less or more time. But in any case, planning and deployment are the least time-consuming stages, while the other ones may cause a significant impact on your budget. Let’s take a closer look at them and answer the age-old question which sounds like “How much does it cost to develop an app?”.


A great idea backed by an amazing design is virtually a guarantee of success. However, the design is another time-consuming component, and, as a result, it may be costly enough, especially in case you don’t want your app to look standard, and prefer custom components. The stage of designing an app usually includes the market research, prototyping, and developing the design itself. Again, everything depends on the complexity of the project, but it may take at least 35 hours to design the simplest app. So, the price may start from $1,225.

Oh, by the way — hereinafter we consider the rate as $35. As for us, this rate is the most adequate. If you pay less, this attempt to save the budget may result in bad quality of the product. In case you pay more, you can overpay for the brand or just because you hire a team, for instance, in the UK.

App Features

Working on app features is another stage which can significantly increase your app development cost. Since we don’t know what your app is going to be about, we can’t provide you with a detailed list of features to implement. However, here are some features which you may need:


It may include registration, integration with social networks (for instance, Facebook and Google+), password restoration, and email verification. Depending on the platform, all these authentication features may take from 22 to 25 hours to be developed, so implementing them may cost you from $770 to $875. Again, these numbers are not final — they are here just to give you the basic understanding of how much authentification may cost. And if you wonder where we got all these numbers, here is the answer — they are based on our projects.

User profile

Apart from user data and diverse settings, this feature may include plenty of mini-features, such as subscriptions, number of followers, likes, activity history, and so on. The more features you would like to add, the higher the cost will be. But if we are talking ONLY about the profile, it may take from 40 to 46 hours and from $1,400 to $1,610 to develop it.

In-app purchases

This feature is not mandatory, but if you need it, its development may take somewhere around 38 hours and $1,330. However, that’s in the worst case. If the project is not too complex, in-app purchases may require 5-10 hours and $175-$350.

Push notifications

Push notifications are a pretty convenient way to inform users about messages, app changes, news, etc. Developing this feature may take from 5 hours and $175.


Infrastructure includes basic controls, third-party integration, data storage, data encryption, access to enterprise data, and scalability. The numbers we provided are average, so dealing with infrastructure may still take less time and funds. If we are talking about the simplest app, the infrastructure may require around up to 75 hours and $2,625.

App Administration

This stage heavily depends on the purpose of your application. However, the majority of consumer apps are developed with analytics which helps to understand the behavior of users. The more parameters you would like to track, the higher the cost will be. Apart from this, a mobile app sometimes needs a web portal or CMS to manage users and content. So, dealing with app administration can take from around 45 to 1080 hours. Then the price can vary from $1,575 to $37,800.


Testing is another pretty costly stage, as it may take around 140-150 hours and $4,900-$5,250. But here is a tip for you — start testing as early as possible. The thing is that it is much cheaper and easier to fix a bug during the early stages of the development process than to deal with it after your app is released.

Here are top tips on successful mobile app testing. Use them, otherwise the bugs may hijack your app!

Just check the data provided by The Systems Sciences Institute at IBM — according to their report, it may be up to 100 times cheaper to deal with the problem during the maintenance stage than after the product release!

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Other Factors of App Development Cost Formation

The complexity of the project is not the only factor which has an impact on the app development cost — there two more things you have to consider.

Supported Platforms

iOS and Android are not the only existing platforms, but they are the most popular, so let’s focus on them. So, you have several options to choose from:

  • Building a native iOS app (iOS is more expensive than Android!)
  • Building a native Android app
  • Building both iOS and Android native apps
  • Developing a cross-platform application.

The last option is the least expensive one, but we still recommend you to start with a research — find out what platform your target audience uses. Then, you can build either iOS or Android app, and after the idea will be validated, you may start thinking about moving to other platforms. Native applications guarantee higher performance and, therefore, better user experience. Apart from this, they ensure greater store visibility.

From our experience, developing two native (iOS + Android) apps may require somewhere around $35,000, give or take $10,000. This estimation includes all potential upgrades and adaptations, and refers to MOST apps, not to all of them. And, obviously, it is approximate.

In turn, cross-platform apps may have diverse UX and performance issues, but developing such an application usually takes less time.

Another thing you have to keep in mind is versions of the chosen platform. Android is more diverse in these terms than iOS, so, again, you need a research.

Hourly Rates of Developers From All Over the World

The location of an outsourced team can play a significant role in the app development cost. According to Accelerance, global software outsourcing rates look like this:

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Now you know what the app development cost consists of, but we have one more little secret to share. When we estimate the cost of a new project, we always do this from the pessimistic point of view. But pessimistic doesn’t mean bad in our case — we are just very careful in our calculations, and consider all the cost components.

It is much better to estimate the project at, let’s say, $25,000 than to promise to do everything for $15,000, then spend extra time and funds on fixing all the issues which occurred because of poor estimation, and at the end ask for $30,000 in total. We are not fortune tellers who always talk about something amazing — we are just honest pessimists.

By the way, we’re always glad to provide you with a very detailed estimation of your own app idea — just talk to us via the form below.

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