How much does it cost to make an app in 2023?

refresh iconUpdated 12 Jan 2023
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How much does it cost to make an app in 2023?
How much does it cost to make an app in 2023?

If you’re reading this text, it means that you probably have an idea to create an app. You may even have some special features in mind and think of app design details. However, when it comes to the implementation of intentions into particular actions, the logical question always appears - how much does it cost to create an app?

The thing is, that mobile applications development is a comprehensive process; it’s affected by many factors that make each project unique. It’s almost impossible to provide precise cost estimates at once, so we usually answer “It depends”.

In this article, we shared our experience to help you consider as many aspects as possible to calculate your app development cost. Moreover, we added bonus tips that can optimize your app development budget and help you get more profit.

Without further ado, let’s dive deep into the topic!

An App Development Cost Worldwide

To cut the long story short, costs to develop an app starts from $1 600 to $1.000 000+. Wow! Let’s figure out the reason for such cost differences step by step.

You may be surprised (or not) to find out that app development costs vary significantly depending on the region where your tech team is located. In some regions, the hourly rates of developers are quite high, in others - suspiciously low. However, keep in mind that high rates don’t guarantee excellent quality and vice versa. For example, lower rates can be a result of a simplified taxation system; higher rates can be explained by higher economic level and cost of living, etc.

Let’s take a closer look at hourly rates of mobile app developers* in different region

RegionHourly rateThe best software development destination in the region
Eastern Europe≈ $10-$70Ukraine, Poland, Hungary
Western Europe≈ $30-$100United Kingdom, Germany
North America≈ $40-$200USA
Latin America≈ $20-$150Brazil, Argentina, Mexico
Asia≈ $5-$45India, China
Australia≈ $50Australia
Africa≈ $15South Africa

*for Android and iOS app development these rates are almost identical **take into account that these rates are median - they can differ based on app developers' level of expertise (junior, middle, senior)

app development hourly rates by region

As you can see in the table above, the highest mobile app development rates are in North America, and the lowest one - in the Asian region (although the price differential here is quite large - mobile development in India can be very cheap). Still, these numbers can’t provide you with the full picture of app development costs without an understanding of the complexity of the app you want to develop. In general, all apps can be divided into:

Level of app complexityTime to deliverDescriptionExample
Simple2-6 months (320h - 960h)MVP with basic features, simple UI/UX design, suitable for 1 platformCalculator app
Medium6-10 months (960h - 1600h)more comprehensive feature set (e.g. API integration), general design is still basic but can include custom UI elements/animations, suitable for 1-2 platformsMcDonald’s Loyalty App
Complexmore than 10 months (1600h+)custom UI/UX design, fully custom features, suitable for 2 platformslarge enterprise systems or large social networks like Instagram

*we took an average amount of work hours per month - 160h

Now we can make a rough calculation* of how much will it cost to develop apps of different complexity in different regions:

An App Development Cost Worldwide

RegionSimple app development costMedium-complexity app development costComplex app development cost
Eastern Europe$8000- $48 000$24 000 - $80 000starting from $40 000 - $80 000
Western Europe$9600 - $38 400$28 800 - $64 000starting from $48 000 - $64 000
North America$16 000 - $67 200$48 000 - $112 000starting from $80 000 - $112 000
Latin America$5 760 - $48 000$17 280 - $80 000starting from $28 800 - $80 000
Asia$1 600 - $48 000$4 800 - $80 000starting from $8 000 - $80 000
Australia$16 640 - $49 920$49 920 - $83 200starting from $83 200
Africa$6 400 - $19 200$19 200 - $32 000starting from $32 000

*based on rates and timelines from the tables above

Now to bring these calculations even closer to reality, we should consider not just tech team location and app complexity but other important factors as well.

Factors that Determine the Mobile App Development Cost

If you want to clearly understand what you’re paying for and smartly spend your project budget, it’s of crucial importance to figure out the key factors that compose the cost of app development. Here’s our short list of factors based on which we provide estimates for app development.

  • Complexity of your functionality (in correspondence to the app type you want to develop)
  • Development team structure','Type of development team (in-house / outsourcing team)
  • Hourly rates of the development team
  • Design customization
  • Required platforms (iOS, Android, cross-platform (hybrid) app)
  • App hosting and security
  • We’ve already described how rates and app complexity can affect the cost for app development, so let’s move on to the next factors.

    Project team: in-house or outsourcing?

    If you can’t develop a mobile app on your own and don’t have someone to help you with this, it’s obvious that you need to hire an expert or several experts. What’s better: to assemble an in-house team or hire an outsourcing tech team? Once again, everything depends on your needs and requirements. However, keep in mind that the only benefit you can get from an in-house team (compared to a remote one) is a physical presence, and full control of the processes (or illusion of it). Still, even this argument is not relevant enough because of the current circumstances - the pandemic, the tendency to work from home, etc.

    mobile app development teammobile app development team

    At the same time, maintenance of the in-house team can be too expensive because of the recruiting costs, the necessity to pay office rent, buy all the necessary equipment, and so on. From this point, it’s much simpler and cost-effective to outsource your mobile app development. Just imagine - you can pick any vendor with any expertise level and price-quality ratio without being limited by location!

    Project team: in-house or outsourcing?

    Mobile app developer - that’s who comes first to our mind when it comes to app development. However, he’s responsible only for tasks related to programming. You also need a UI/UX designer to take care of the mobile app design, and a QA engineer to test your app thoroughly and ensure its smooth running. Moreover, you need someone to manage and control your tech team - that’s exactly what the project manager does. Also, if your app is complex enough, it’s of crucial importance to investigate your market, target audience/competitors, and assess all the risks and profits from the app development. A business analyst can help with these tasks perfectly.

    So you should plan your project budget keeping in mind not just app developer costs but payments related to other tech experts. Here’s a classic team structure needed to develop an average mobile app:

    01.Mobile app developer (depending on the app complexity, you may need several experts)
    02.UI/UX designer
    03.QA engineer
    04.Business Analyst
    05.Project Manager

    If you need detailed info on hourly rates of different tech experts in various regions, check out the latest Accelerance research!

    Design customization

    Designs for mobile apps with standard elements and a small number of screens will cost you much cheaper. For some apps, this may be enough. However, if you want to make your app eye-catchy and easy to perceive, you need to think of a special visual approach. The custom design will result in additional costs; however, you'll win more with it. Ability to attract more users and increase their loyalty, outpace your competitors, and build strong brand awareness - these are just a few of the potential benefits you can get with custom UI UX design.

    Required platforms

    Do you need to develop an Android or iOS app? Or maybe your app should be suitable for both platforms? Keep in mind that the development of separate native apps will cost you much more than the development of a hybrid app with cross-platform functionality (with a single code, you can run your app on different operating systems). It’s already proven that a cross-platform approach can save you from 10% to 30% of your budget. Moreover, the development of a cross-platform mobile app can significantly shorten the time needed for app creation.

    App hosting and security

    Mobile apps have a lot to do with big data amounts and their real-time exchange, so your users' security should be a key priority. To minimize the appearance of any vulnerability and protect your app from hacker attacks, you should ensure that your app has strong security features (for example, different types of authentication) and is based on reliable hosting. This can take additional costs; however, it will keep you away from serious problems.

    Learn more about cases we made

    Here you can find examples that might be perfect fitted to your project or to the industry you work with

    Learn more about cases we made

    Here you can find examples that might be perfect fitted to your project or to the industry you work with

    Hidden Factors Affecting Mobile App Development Cost

    Besides the basic expenditures, you may also face so-called “hidden costs” that many entrepreneurs/startupers don’t take into consideration (and that’s a huge mistake). We strongly recommend including these expenses in your budget as well:

    Functional costs
  • usage of third-party services (e.g. for email or SMS notifications)
  • maintenance (bug fixing, updates, etc.)
  • Infrastructure costs
  • hosting and servers
  • data storage tools
  • releasing the app to app stores
  • Marketing costs
  • targeting ads (Facebook, Google, LinkedIn ads, etc.)
  • in-app promotion
  • SEO
  • SMM
  • How much does it cost to put an app on the App Store/Google Play?

    We decided to pay special attention to this question because it contains several hidden factors at once.


    Of course, both App Store and Play Market have the same goal - to provide their users with high-quality useful apps. However, these platforms have some peculiarities that make them different, in the terms of fees and revenue as well.

    App StorePlay Market
    Yearly developer fee - $99One-time fee - $25
    App Store users are more likely to get paid versions / fully paid appsAndroid customers more often download free apps only
    App developers get around 70% of profit from in-app purchasesIt’s more difficult for Android developers to monetize their app

    To release your app to the app store it’s not enough to pay an app market fee. You should also take into consideration the costs that may be needed to present your app to the market in the best possible way! Include in your app budget the costs for:

  • Graphic design (banners for app stores, app icons, etc.)
  • Copywriting
  • SEO-optimization
  • Ads in app stores
  • Etc
  • Step-by-Step Mobile App Development Process

    It’s a very common practice to break down design mobile apps and the app development costs based on project development stages. Let’s imagine that you hire a team that provides full-cycle development services (for example, DreamX :) ) In this case, your project will consist of the following phases:

    01. Discovery

    (Deep analysis of your business problems and needs, investigation of your target audience, competitors, market conditions and trends, assessment of potential risks, estimation of the needed resources to deliver your app (number and qualification of experts, time, budget, etc.)

    02. Roadmap and tactical planning

    (Usually with a breakdown into several milestones)

    03. Prototyping of User Experience design

    (The UX stage of the process involves very close collaboration between you and our team to create the framework for the product. Here our UX team create a user-friendly product for potential customers)

    04. User Interface design

    (At the UI stage, our team creates 101% uniqueness of your product. Our experienced designers will create for you an incredible style of the product, with a motion design, branding and much more in smallest details)

    05. Clickable products

    (This is the final testing of the product before it goes to development. Our team will carefully check every detail of the product with you in the process to confirm all the results)

    06. Development stage

    (This is the main stage of programming where we create components that will later interact with users. We use coding, source control, task automation, code review, testing and more for a proper end result)

    07. Quality Assurance

    (At this stage, we test the project in many different ways to maintain the desired level of quality. We provide a complete check of the project for the absence of errors and weaknesses in the code)

    08. App release

    (Market App to AppStore and GooglePlay)

    09. App maintenance

    (We provide all necessary support even after the completion of work on the project)

    Keep in mind that these phases are not equal in the terms of duration, efforts and the number of involved tech experts. As our practice shows, to cover all these phases project budget is usually divided like this:

    mobile app development processmobile app development process

    Ok, how does this abstract scheme work for real-life applications? Our DreamX team is excited to share the case!

    Turning Your Ideas into Real Products with DreamX

    DreamX team has profound expertise in mobile app development for different industries. Recently we have developed a fitness app. Many details are under NDA (as well as the name of the project), however, can share the general project workflow and approximate estimates. Based on this, you can see what results you can get for a particular budget and make some predictions for your project.

    Develop a Fitness App by DreamX

    (App for tracking workouts with personal coach)

    fitness mobile app designfitness mobile app design

    Approximate total time:

    1000 hours

    Approximate budget:

    $25 000

    App complexity level:


    40 hours
    Our client didn’t have experience with digital product development and designing mobile apps, so we helped him structure all the ideas and references, as well as create project requirements to become competitive with the best apps for workouts. Also, we conducted business research and analysis
    300 hours
    • UX Audit
    • UX & UI design with clear user flow for up to 30 screens
    • 6 admin dashboards to manage the mobile app
    • 2 design modes - light and dark
    50 hours
    - it’s the most popular monetization model. It means that you offer some basic app features for free. More advanced features are available for a certain payment.
    500 hours
    • Roadmap development
    • Front-end development
    • Back-end development
    • 4 milestones released
    Quality Assurance
    40 hours
    Check and fix all weaknesses in the code
    ≈ 10-40 hours
    Market to App Store and Play Market as an app for sports
    Share Fit mobile app ui ux design

    Bonus #1: How Can You Reduce Your Mobile App Development Costs?

    As we promised at the beginning of our article, we’re happy to share a simple but effective trick that has already helped many of our clients to reduce their app development cost:

    Minimum Viable Product is the most basic version of your app that contains vital features only. Still, MVP can be uploaded to the app stores to attract the first users! MVP development is cost-effective because:

  • you don’t need to spend all your budget on full-version development - instead, you invest in each feature development cycle gradually
  • with MVP on board, you can more effectively attract new investors
  • MVP enables you to get feedback from early adopters of your app - if something works improperly you can fix it before the full app is released. Moreover, if users don’t like some features, you can improve them or even drop them away and don’t waste money on their further development
  • How to calculate your MVP development cost? First of all, you need to define the MVP’s essential features. Then use the simple formula: development time x hourly rate of the needed experts + 15% for unexpected circumstances. If you need some expert advice on MVP creation and cost calculation, feel free to contact DreamX!

    Bonus #2: How to Monetize Your App?

    As Statista research shows, most users download FREE apps (as of 2022, 96,1% of apps on Google Play and 91.9% on App Store are free). So how should you monetize your app to return your app development investments and get profit? Here’re the most popular app monetization strategies:

    In-app advertising
    - it means that other brands, companies, or even other apps can place their ad in your app and pay for this.
    - it’s quite similar to the advertising model. However, in the sponsorship model, you have one or several sponsors that permanently provide you with compensation. In your turn, you should mention their brand in your app, advertise their products or motivate your users to follow their website).
    Creation of a clickable prototype + its thorough testing and improvements

    Which monetization model is the best one? It depends on your app's peculiarities because there are a lot of benefits and pitfalls in each of them. This topic is also very comprehensive, so we think that it will be better to write a new article dedicated to it, what do you think?


    Hope, that our app development cost guide was useful! And a friendly reminder: if you have a mobile app development idea and want to implement it into a cost-effective high-quality app, DreamX team is all set to help you!

    What is mobile app?
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    Online or offline mobile application or mobile app is a software that has been developed for mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet. This is one of the areas of expertise of our team (there are other areas that we work in: Web App, SaaS Systems, CRM, ERP etc.) For such projects, we develop both the mobile app design and the necessary software code. We develop mobile applications for both IOS and Android, as well as hybrid apps.
    Is it the same as tablet app?
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    Smartphone apps and tablet apps are both mobile apps, but there are some key differences that necessitate considering a different approach for tablet apps. First and foremost, tablets have a much larger screen size, which means a different design layout. Additionally, your app may require more features or functionality to fully utilize the available screen space. Another difference is how users interact with the device, as tablet apps need to support a wider range of user inputs, such as stylus pens or attachable keyboards. Finally, tablets usually offer higher performance compared to smartphones, which broadens the list of design and functionality features that can be offered to the user. If you have a need for a tablet app version of mobile app designing, you need to think about it in advance, so we can discuss the development details and set a separate budget for its implementation.
    Do you make apps for both iOS and Android platforms?
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    Yes. Our development and design team specializes in both of these major platforms. In most scenarios, we develop mobile applications for both iOS and Android simultaneously. In some cases, either due to the specifics of the target audience or budget constraints, an app can be developed only for a specific platform. We can do an additional consultation to help you make the right platform choice.
    Can I order a hybrid app?
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    Yes, we are also developing mobile apps as a hybrid modification. Due to the specifics of such apps, you need to consider all the additional nuances and make the right decision. If you need additional advice on this type of web application, we will be happy to answer all your questions.
    Will your company market my app?
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    Yes, this is one of the workflow stages of development of mobile apps. Our team works with all modern platforms, so we can help you pass all stages of verification and publish your mobile application at an online marketplace, such as App Store or Google Play.

    Have a project in mind?