The True Costs of Mobile App Development
Let’s face it, the world that we live in has become more and more dependent on mobile technology which is why it is so important that your business has a customized mobile app. In 2014, 60% of traffic came from mobile devices and by 2016 that figure reached 65%. The increasing popularity of smartphones has contributed to the high demand for mobile apps leading to an overall profit of around $45 billion in 2016 by the mobile app industry. By 2020, many analysts predict that the revenue will increase to $100 billion.
If you are planning on designing a mobile app for your business, you should first consider the overall mobile app development cost, since it is a multi-stage process. Each of these stages requires specialization and multiple testing to make ensure functionality and quality. If you were to build a mobile app that properly addresses the needs and desires of your market, your business could enjoy huge profits.
Why Do You Need a Mobile App?
If your business has a mobile-friendly website, then you are already ahead of 91% of your competitors according to a report by Yahoo. But, if you added a mobile app, you could substantially increase the distance between yourself and your closest competitors.
Here are a few advantages of having a mobile app:
- Improved accessibility – Today’s mobile user spends about 200 minutes on apps. A mobile app allows users to access your business much more easily without having to switch devices.
- Better customer engagement – Customers are looking for convenient and easy to use means of connecting with your business in real-time. This helps build trust and promote a long-term relationship with your customers.
- Better Brand Recognition – If your brand is located on the interface of a smartphone or tablet, it will heighten brand recognition, especially if you consider how much time people spend on mobile devices. Also, according to a recent report, more than 175 billion apps were downloaded in 2017 and more than two-thirds of consumers actually using the apps they downloaded.
- Improved Value Proposition – Use your mobile app to give customers support, discounts, and usable information.
- Another avenue for sales – Your customers will be encouraged to carry out transactions with your business thank to the convenience and accessibility of your mobile app instead of patronizing a competitor who only has a mobile website.
People spend 89% of their time on mobile apps instead of mobile websites. And mobile apps tend to acquire a more engaged and qualified audience, thus driving sales conversions higher in comparison to an e-commerce website. All of these factors help justify the overall app development cost.
The Process of Developing a Mobile App
There are four stages in the mobile app development process:
- Idea development – As soon as you have identified the type of app you need for your business, it is time to focus the attention on the concept behind the idea.
- Functionality Layout – During this stage, you will bring your idea into a more tangible concept. Your software architect or developer will present wireframes to show you how the app will function. Here you can provide your input on how to make the app more user-friendly for your audience.
- Design – This stage includes frontend and backend development. It also includes user management server-side logic, user experience customization, data integration, data caching and synchronization.
- Going live – As soon as your everything has been certified as “ready” by your software development team, you are all set to go live. For iOS users, you have the built-in Xcode installed so your app can be displayed on the app store.
Estimated Mobile App Development Cost
There are two main platforms to choose from: iOS and Android. The main differences are that iOS is cheaper and can be built quicker, whereas Android apps take about 2-3 weeks longer to develop. Also, iOS users on iPhones and iPads tend to spend money more freely, which is why developers launch iOS apps prior to creating an Android app. Your choice of platform will depend on the market you want to target. iOS is increasingly becoming more popular in the US while Android is leading in Asia, Africa and South America.
Also, you will need to assemble a mobile app development team, which will consist of a Project Manager, UI/UX Designer, Coder and Quality Assurance Engineer. The cost of this team will depend on the complexity of the app. Simple apps can be built in about 10 weeks with design accounting for about 90 hours and backend accounting for 800 hours. More complex apps will take about 28 weeks to build, with design taking up about 350 hours and backend development 2,000 hours.
For Android apps, the cost range is the following:
- Elementary apps: $10,000 to $20,000
- Standard apps: $25,000 to $55,000
- Complex apps: $55,000 to $100,000
- High-tech apps: $100,000 to $300,000
The estimated costs for iOS apps is:
- Simple, table-based apps: $5,000 to $10,000
- Database apps: $15,000 to $50,000
- Games: $25,000 to $500,000
Some Costs to Consider
If you would like your app to have in-app purchase capability, this will cost you an extra $1,000-$3000. Web services which take content to a remote access point so you can update the app with XML files instead of changing the raw code will cost an extra $1000-$5000. SDKs which allow you to track the app and find monetization methods will cost an additional $50-$200 dollars. Examples of SDKs include Google Analytics, Tapjoy, and Chartboost. Prior to beginning any work on app development, be sure to estimate your project cost.
A mobile app is a great way for your business to gain acceptance and recognition, but it could require a lot of investment. Even though the timing of the release is important, be sure not to rush through the development stages. The cost of mobile app development will not be as important if the app is a huge success and gains acceptance among a wide range of audience.