There are multiple ways to build an app for your online store or marketplace. Here we’ll focus on three main types: native, cross-platform, and PWA. All of them differ by the cost and complexity. Let’s examine the most common ways with the cost breakdown.
Mobile App Development Cost Breakdown and Timelines
The cost of mobile app development varies depending on the app platform, features and functionalities required, the design complexity, and the development team’s location and experience. However, a general breakdown of the cost components is as follows:
- Project Brief: involves defining the app idea, conducting market research, creating frames and prototypes, and outlining the app’s features and functionalities. Usually, it takes from 1 to 2 weeks.
- Concept examination with developers. For an estimate of your concept possible cost, developers should examine the project brief, match it with the actual stack of technologies and software capabilities, outline what should be developed from scratch and what can be implemented using ready-made solutions. Normally, their examination lasts from 4 to 5 weeks.
- Design: includes UI/UX design, graphic design, and branding elements for the app. This stage may take 6 – 12 weeks.
- Development and prototyping: The actual coding and programming of the app for different platforms (e.g., iOS, Android). This typically consists of frontend development (user interface), backend development (server-side logic), and integration with third-party services or APIs. Development and prototyping requires from 6 to 12 weeks.
- Testing and Quality Assurance: involves independent code reviews and testing the app for implementing all initial requirements, performance issues, and compatibility across different devices and operating systems. The duration may vary depending on the project scale.
- Deployment and App Store Submission: This includes preparing the app for distribution, creating app store listings, and submitting the app to app stores (e.g., Apple App Store, Google Play Store). On average, the stage duration is 2 weeks.
- Maintenance and Updates: After the app is launched, ongoing maintenance and updates may be required to add patches, updates and new features, and ensure compatibility with new OS versions.
- Miscellaneous Costs: This can include expenses such as hosting, domain registration, third-party software licenses, and marketing or promotional activities.
Simple apps with basic features may cost less, while complex apps with advanced functionalities and integrations can be more expensive. Additionally, the hourly rates of developers can vary based on their location and experience level.
Cost of Hiring App Developer
|United States and Canada||$100 to $200 per hour|
|Western Europe||$80 to $150 per hour|
|Eastern Europe:||$30 to $70 per hour|
|Asia||$20 to $50 per hour|
|South America||$25 to $60 per hour|
The cost of hiring an app developer depends on the country or region. Here is a general overview of the average hourly rates for app developers in different countries:
- United States and Canada: App developers in the United States and Canada typically have higher hourly rates compared to other regions. On average, rates can range from $100 to $200 per hour for experienced developers.
- Western Europe: Countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the Netherlands have relatively high hourly rates for app developers. The average rates can range from $80 to $150 per hour.
- Eastern Europe: Countries in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Poland, and Romania, offer a good balance of quality and cost. The average rates can range from 30 to 70 per hour.
- Asia: India, China, and Vietnam generally have lower hourly rates for app developers. The average rates can range from 20 to 50 per hour. However, the quality may decrease the lower the price is.
- South America: Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia offer competitive rates for app development. The average rates can range from 25 to 60 per hour.
It is worth noted that development cost for native and cross-platform apps is typically higher across regions, whereas the PWA development costs less. When hiring an app developer, it’s essential to consider not only the hourly rates but also the developer’s expertise, portfolio, communication skills, and ability to meet your project requirements. Highly specialized developers are more expensive, but there is no need to reinvent the wheel with them. Generalists are cheaper, but there is a high risk of incorrect estimation of your project, and thus, delays and cost overruns. It’s recommended to thoroughly research and compare developers from different regions to find the best balance of price and quality for your specific project needs and budget.
Costs of Different Types of Mobile Apps
Let’s see how different the cost may be depending on the technology stack, team composition, and complexity of the work.
|Native App||$50,000 to $100,000||9 months and more|
|Cross-Platform App||$30,000 to $200,000||3-6 months|
|PWA||$20,000 – $50,000||2-6 months|
Native app means you create a native code using Java for Android and Swift for iOS separately for each device. Native apps have the native UI and are most user-friendly as compared to other app types. They are quick to discover in app stores.
When planning to build a native app, be prepared to spend an amount from $50,000 to $100,000 and above for one app (one codebase for one platform). The cost will depend on the app complexity. The more feature-rich it is, the more complex is its development process, and the longer it will take to develop. On average, it may last somewhere up to 9 months, depending on the structure of your project.
A cross-platform mobile app is a mobile application that is developed to run on multiple operating systems, such as iOS and Android. These apps are built using frameworks or technologies that allow developers to write code once and deploy it across different platforms, rather than developing separate native apps for each platform.
Cross-platform mobile app development frameworks, such as React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, and Ionic, provide tools and libraries that enable developers to create apps that can be used on multiple platforms. These frameworks typically use a combination of native components and web technologies to achieve a consistent user experience across different operating systems.
Cross-platform mobile apps offer several advantages, including:
- Cost-effectiveness: Developing a single codebase for multiple platforms can save time and resources compared to building separate native apps.
- Faster development: With a cross-platform approach, developers can write code once and deploy it across multiple platforms.
- Code reusability: The same codebase can be reused for different platforms, minimizing the need for duplicating efforts.
- Wider audience reach: By targeting multiple platforms, cross-platform apps can reach a larger user base.
However, there can be some limitations with cross-platform mobile apps, such as potential performance issues, limited access to platform-specific features, and dependency on the capabilities and updates of the chosen cross-platform framework.
On average, the price tag for a cross-platform mobile app development can range between $30,000 and $200,000. How long does it take to develop a cross-platform app? Well, the duration may fluctuate significantly, but the average is from 3 to 6 months.
Progressive Web Apps
Mobile development moves away from the native apps towards mixed technologies. Nowadays, web APIs allow much more extensive interaction between web pages and devices, and service workers enable caching pages to work offline. The latest technology that brings you all the benefits of mobile apps without developers’ assistance was named as a Progressive Web App. It is an application that can be accessed through a web browser. Google and Apple have already given an ability to add your page to the home screen, as PWA does. If you want to have a close-to-native feeling of an app, you will anyway need a development of fully functional PWA store with custom design and enhanced features.
The main benefits of such a development are that PWA allows its offline usage, adding your unique logo to users’ mobile devices’ home screens, and platform compatibility.
Some other advantages include:
- Access through a link: Progressive Web Apps can be accessed through a simple URL, just like a regular website. Users do not need to go through the hassle of downloading and installing an app from an app store. This makes it easier for users to discover and access the app, increasing its reach.
- Instant update delivery: PWAs can be updated instantly without requiring users to download and install updates. This allows developers to push updates and bug fixes in real-time, ensuring that users always have the latest version of the app. It eliminates the need for users to manually update the app, improving user experience and reducing maintenance efforts.
- No installation: Unlike native mobile apps, PWAs do not require installation on a user’s device. Users can simply access the app through a web browser, eliminating the need for storage space on their devices. This can be particularly beneficial for users with limited storage capacity or those who prefer not to clutter their devices with numerous app installations.
You don’t need to pay a fortune for it. Progressive apps gain popularity as their development can be less expensive as compared to the native and cross-platform apps. According to open data available on the web:
- The average cost of a simple Progressive Web App (PWA) starts from $20,000.
- The medium-complexity app will cost from $20,000 to $40,000.
- Development of a complex and feature-rich PWA starts from $50,000.
At this, the time of development is shorter than the same in the case of native/hybrid app development. On average, it takes up to 5 months to build the visuals and the backend, but everything depends on how complex your project is:
- A content-based light PWA with the database backend – 2-3 months.
- A medium-complexity PWA with social media features, in-app purchases, logins, favorites, backend admin panel – 3-6 months.
- A complex app with dedicated analytics, sophisticated functionality, trading options, visualization patterns, and integrations with other services – 6+ months.
How Much Does it Cost to Update an App?
Launching a mobile app is not the end. During its lifecycle, the app needs to be maintained and updated to include more features and enhance security. The cost of updating an app depends on the chosen app type (native, cross-platform, or PWA), the complexity of the update, and the development team’s rates. Here is a general breakdown of the costs:
|Native App||$5,000 to $30,000 or more|
|Cross Platform App||$5,000 to $25,000 or more|
|PWA||$3,000 to $15,000 or more|
- Native App Updates:
- iOS: Updating a native iOS app can cost between 5,000 to 30,000, depending on the complexity of the updates and the hourly rates of the developers.
- Android: Updating a native Android app can cost between 5,000 to 25,000, again depending on the complexity and the development rates.
- Cross-Platform App Updates:
- React Native: Updating a React Native app can cost between 5,000 to 25,000, with costs varying based on the complexity and the hourly rates.
- Flutter: Updating a Flutter app can have a similar cost range as React Native, between 5,000 to 25,000.
- Progressive Web App (PWA) Updates:
- PWAs generally have lower update costs compared to native or cross-platform apps. The cost can range from 3,000 to 15,000, depending on the complexity of the updates and the hourly rates.
It’s important to note that these cost estimates are rough averages and can vary significantly based on the specific requirements of the app and the rates charged by the development team. Additionally, major updates that involve significant changes to the app’s functionality or design may incur higher costs compared to minor updates or bug fixes.
Advantages of building PWA-based store with SimtechDev
Progressive Web Apps can be used in various industries and for different purposes. We, as technology partners for eCommerce businesses, can assist you in building a PWA store with your CS-Cart or Multi-Vendor platform as the basis thanks to our proper PWA-solution. It is already pre-built and pre-configured, taking all the peculiarities of the CS-Cart platform into account.
As our team is distributed globally, we can offer the best prices for PWA store development with the highest quality assured.
With our PWA development for a reasonable price, you get all the advantages of a mobile app, plus:
- Feeling of a native app;
- Add to home screen feature;
- Offline use if the page has been preliminarily loaded;
- Pre-built and customizable store.
Choosing between outsourcing, in-house, and citizen mobile app development
What is most crucial in app development, regardless of the type chosen? Find a reliable developer at a reasonable price who can guarantee the best development quality. Here you have three options: outsourcing, in-house development, or citizen mobile development (also known as low-code or no-code development). If you are facing the same challenge, consider the following key points to make an informed decision:
- Developer Expertise and Skills: Evaluate the level of expertise and skills required for your mobile app project. Low-code developers will fit your budget, but won’t guarantee a high level of professionalism and quality. Outsourcing to a specialized mobile app development agency or hiring in-house developers can provide access to experienced professionals who have the necessary skills and knowledge. Explore the company portfolio, reviews on independent sources like GoodFirms or Clutch, ask the company for clients’ details to learn yourself what the experience they had with the scouted firm.
- Cost: Consider your budget and cost constraints. Outsourcing can be cost-effective, especially if you hire developers from regions with lower or medium labor costs. In-house development may require higher upfront costs, including salaries, benefits, and infrastructure. Citizen development platforms often have lower upfront costs, but may have subscription fees or limitations on customization.
- Time and Speed: Assess the urgency and timeline of your project. Outsourcing can provide faster development, as specialized agencies often have dedicated teams and established processes. In-house development allows for more direct control over the timeline, but may take longer if you need to hire and onboard new developers. Citizen development platforms can offer quick turnaround times for simpler app requirements.
- Control and Customization: Consider the level of control and customization you require. Outsourcing means you share some control with the IT agency. In return, you get expert-assisted development. In-house development allows for greater flexibility, but it doesn’t suit narrow goals. Citizen development platforms typically have limitations on customization, as they are designed for simpler app development.
- Long-term Maintenance and Support: Think about the long-term maintenance and support needs of your app. Outsourcing can provide ongoing maintenance and support services, while in-house development allows for more direct control over updates and bug fixes. Citizen development platforms may have limitations on long-term support or may require additional technical assistance.
- Security and Confidentiality: Evaluate the security and confidentiality requirements of your app. Outsourcing may raise concerns about data security and intellectual property protection, so it’s crucial to choose a reputable and trustworthy development agency that may offer signing an NDA with you. In-house development provides more control over security measures in case you have a cybersecurity specialist in your team. Citizen development platforms often have built-in security features, but may not be suitable for highly sensitive or confidential projects.
Ultimately, the choice between outsourcing, in-house development, or citizen development depends on your specific project requirements, budget, timeline, and long-term goals. It’s advisable to carefully evaluate these factors and consult with experts or development professionals to make the most suitable decision for your mobile app development needs.