According to a report published by, by the third quarter of 2019, Android users had the option of choosing from 2.47 million apps on Google Play, while iOS users had could choose from over 1.8 million apps on the Apple Store. This makes Google Play the app store with the biggest number of applications available to its users.

These huge numbers show just how much the mobile start-up industry has grown over the years, and how competitive it has become. According to an image provided by Sensor Tower, the Apple Store and Google Play store has had over 105 billion downloads in three years (2016, 2017, and 2018) with Google Play having 75.7 billion downloads and Apple Store having 29.6 billion downloads. One of the most asked questions in the mobile app industry is, how much does it cost to develop a mobile app? In this article, we discuss a general estimation of the cost of development for mobile apps in 2021.

A statistic on app download on the App Store and Google Play store.

App and Google Play Store

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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Custom App? – Estimations and Statistics

Before you go deep into the idea of building an application for any platform, it is a good idea to get a rough estimate of what it might cost you to do so.

According to several surveys, the average cost of building a mobile app ranges from $100,000 to $500,000 depending on various factors. Some apps have been known to cost more than half a million dollars to build. It is important to know that apps can definitely be built for significantly less amount of money, however, the apps described in this article are fully custom and feature-rich.

Here are some of the estimates based on different surveys:

  • According to a survey performed on app development agencies by Clutch, the median price for app development is $171,450.
  • A survey of enterprise developers carried out by VDC estimates the cost of app development to be $140,000.
  • Kinvey carried out a survey of CIOs and estimated the average price of app development to be $270,000.

Note: The estimate presented here is based on the cost analysis of app development companies in the United States. The cost of development can be significantly cheaper depending on the region where the development company is based.

Factors that Determine the Cost of Mobile App Development

The estimated prices provided above are based on several factors involved in the development of a fully functional mobile app. Here are the major factors that determine the cost of mobile app development on any platform:

Application Development Team

There are two major routes available to you when considering mobile app development- choosing an app development company or a freelancer (or freelance team). While there is a huge debate on whether a freelancer (freelance team) or an app development company is the better choice for custom mobile app development, the truth is neither one of them is a bad option, depending on your needs. Both options have their advantages.

The major advantage of hiring a freelancer is affordability and several freelance platforms provide freelancers that can accomplish your goal at relatively cheap prices. However, an app development agency has several advantages over a freelancer.

If you decide to go with a freelancer, then understand that you will need a freelancer for every aspect of the development process including:

  • UI/UX design
  • Data analysis
  • App development (coding)
  • Marketing

An app development agency will most likely handle every aspect of the app development process and spend less time in development. Of course, an app development agency will cost more but might save you money in maintenance in the long run.

Location of the Development Team

The cost of app development depends largely on the location of the team involved in the app development process. The most popular locations for mobile app development are North America, Australia, UK, South America, India, Ukraine, and Indonesia. A team based in North America is likely to cost more than those based in any of the other countries mentioned above.

The average price of building a mobile app in North America is $150 for iOS and $168 for Android development.

Size of the Development Team

The scope of your project will determine the size of the development team required to bring it to life. For complex applications, a dedicated team of specialized developers is required.

Here is a list of specialist required for a standard development team:

  • Programmer
  • QA engineer
  • Project manager
  • UI/UX designer

For large and complex projects, you require additional:

  • Two to four app developers
  • A back-end developer
  • Multiple UI/UX designers
  • A system administrator

Features and Robustness

Building a fully functional and custom app usually takes an average of 3 to 6 months. However, more complex applications may take up to a year to build, or more in some cases. The length of time required to build your mobile app depends on the features and complexities involved in implementing your app properly.

Here is a general breakdown of how long it takes to build an app based on its level of complexity:

  • Simple: 2-3 months
  • Moderate: 4-5 months
  • Mid-level: 6-7 months
  • Full custom: 8 months or more.

Developing an app for a business, organization, or start-up is a process that involves careful analysis, estimation, planning, and more to execute properly. However, understanding what makes up the cost of development for your start-up app is a great place to start is it can make or break the entire development process.