What is the cost of building a mobile app in 2020 and how to reduce it?


These days it’s difficult to imagine the world without mobile applications that have quickly become an essential part of our lives. According to the statistics provided by TechJury, there were:

  • 178 billion app installs in 2017
  • 194 billion app installs in 2018
  • The average consumer uses 9 mobile apps every day and 30 apps on a monthly basis


Aiming to automate manual business operations, improve communication with users, and increase sales, companies are investing huge resources in custom mobile app development. As all budgets are limited, it is reasonable to estimate the costs before starting the project. 


However, how do you estimate it if hourly rates of IT service vendors vary dramatically across different regions?

  1. What factors affect the final cost?
  2. How do you reduce expenses without a loss in quality?
  3. How much time does it take to create a mobile application?

In this article, we’ve prepared an ultimate guide that answers these questions.  Take a look!


How much does it cost to build a mobile app worldwide?

The cost of launching a mobile solution dramatically varies depending on its level of complexity, design elements, operating systems, and region (e.g., USA, Argentina, Australia, India, Eastern Europe).


Here are some interesting findings that will help you plan the budget of your software project:

  • Analysts at Clutch revealed that the median cost of making a mobile app is about $171,450 (at $150/hour).
    Therefore, the average development takes about 1,143 hours. 
  • Although the average price of creating a smartphone application ranges between $37,913 and $171,450, sometimes it could reach even $500,000 or higher.
    For example, when implementing complex functionality and outstanding user interface design.  
  • According to the survey, conducted by Clutch, a leading B2B ratings and reviews platform, the average minimum cost of making an app is between $5,000 and $10,000.
    However, this refers to very simple solutions that have only 1-2 features, several screens, and those that don’t require the integration of APIs. In most cases, a business needs a budget that significantly exceeds $10,000.

Hourly rates of programmers, QA (quality assurance) engineers, designers, project managers, and business analysts differ from country to country. The region you choose is one of the main factors that determine the development costs.


Have a look at the formula for calculating the price of delivering a smartphone application. 


You can see the hourly rates of IT specialists in different regions in the picture below. 





Let’s consider how much it costs to create an iOS application in the USA. The average hourly rate of an iOS developer is $100. Building a simple solution generally takes about 600 hours. 

  • USA: 600 hours x $100 = $60,000

So, the project budget would be approximately $60,000.

Now, compare it with making the same product in Eastern Europe, in a country such as Poland.

  • Poland: 600 hours x $45 = $27,000

Since the median rate for engineers here is $45, the price would be $27,000. The more complex the app is, the higher the final cost will be. As you can see, the difference is significant. 


How much time does it take to build a mobile app? 

As our practice shows, custom mobile app development takes between 3 and 9 months depending on the project complexity. If calculating in hours:


  • The creation of a Simple application that has only the key features needs approximately 500-700 development hours
  • A product of a Medium complexity requires 700-1000 hours.
  • The delivery of a Complex app with rich functionality usually takes 1100-1300 hours.



Let’s take a look at how much it costs to write simple, medium, and complex mobile apps in different regions: the USA, Poland (as an example of Eastern Europe), and Western Europe.  


As you can see, the price in Poland is much lower, though the quality is also high. This is one of the main reasons why the ITO industry is quickly growing in this country. 


We can help you compare the price of your App just right now.

Let’s arrange an introduction meeting for this.


What factors affect the cost of creating a mobile app?

Besides the project complexity and the level of developer salary in different regions, there are other factors that impact the end price. See the complete list below:

1. Location of an IT service vendor

The price of making your own mobile app largely depends on the location of a software development team.