The total number of smartphone users in 2021 is expected to reach about 7.1 billion, rising from the 6.95 billion recorded in 2020. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a massive expansion in mobile app development, and now there's an app for almost anything you can think of.
If your business does not yet have an app, the numbers above should convinced you to at least consider making one. You could be missing out on many potential customers and opportunities.
But how much will it all cost? The answer to that question is not all that simple, but we'll try to break it down in this post. Let's start by taking a quick look at what the process of building a mobile app actually looks like.
App Development Process: A Quick Breakdown
Before being able to grasp the cost related to app development fully, you should know a little bit about the process of building a mobile app. Here's a quick overview:
- Outlining app requirements — The first step of development relates to determining what you want your app to do. This includes your brand representation within the app, your target audience, and your goals.
- Choosing the platform — Once you've outlined the requirements, you must pick which mobile platform you want the app to run on iOS, Android, or both.
- Designing the app — This is the most extensive part of the process. It's usually divided into stages, with each step focusing on a particular aspect of the app. The stages include, but are not limited to the following:
- Visual Stagev
- UX/UI Development Stagev
- Branding Stagev
- Testing and Support — Once the app has gone through the development phase, it's time for QA tests to ensure flawless functionality.
The costs of the entire operation will depend on a variety of factors, which we will discuss below.
What Factors Affect the Cost of a Mobile App?
There are no fixed rates when it comes to app development because the cost depends on a number of factors. Let's take a look at the most prominent ones.
Features and Functionality
The functionality of an app and its choice of features are the first factors affecting your mobile app's overall development costs. Each app is different, and there is a wide range of features you can choose to implement.
The requirements will depend on the type of application you're trying to build, as well as its purpose. Needless to say, the more features you want to include in your app, the higher the cost.
If you want your app to be successful, you should try to make it visually unique and use custom UI elements. However, all that customization could be hard on your development budget.
Think about how unique you need your app to be and whether you can scrape by without exceptionally high levels of aesthetic appeal or custom functionality.
The platform you choose to run your app on will be another decisive factor when it comes to development costs. You could go with an app for iOS, Android, or both. You may also want your app to be available on other platforms, such as TVs, smart cars, or even VR.
All of these come with a different set of requirements in terms of timeframe and development costs.
Data security is crucial for the success of any mobile app. You should not even try to launch your app without an efficient data security solution keeping your customers' personal information safe. Encryption protocols such as 128-bit SSL can be used to protect data such as names, addresses, and passwords.
Failure to implement data security may leave the door open to system attacks, malware, and other problems. Aside from potentially costing a fortune to fix, these problems could irrevocably tarnish your brand's reputation.
Localization and Markets
Your app's development costs will also largely depend on the markets you choose to launch it in. If you want your application to be available globally, you may need to think about additional requirements, like licenses, languages, etc.
If this is the way you choose to go, the overall cost of your app will be higher. In case you're only looking to advertise to a local or national audience, on the other hand, this is where you can cut costs.
Some Rough Numbers
Now that you're familiar with the process of mobile app development and the factors that influence its cost let's look at some rough estimates. Research by GoodFirms suggests that an app's average cost can range from about $20,000 to more than $200,000, depending on its complexity and features.
Contacting a web development agency is probably your best bet in this case, as they will be able to give you a more precise estimate.