How Much Does It Cost to Make an App in 2022?

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App in 2022

Every startup, every entrepreneur wanting to go online has this one common question “How much does it cost to make a mobile app?”

Surprisingly, the startups have this notion that mobile app development is costly and does not fit their budget. The most common mistake business owners do is not investing in a mobile app. A well-thought strategy can help you minimize the costs and recover the investment easily.

Prefer custom mobile app development services. Even though it may be heavier on your pocket, you will be successful in creating an amazing shopping experience for your customers and that is your sole purpose. Once you gain customers, you can use your mobile app to boost online sales and revenue.

How much does it cost to make an app in 2022?

The year 2021 has been a good year for the m-commerce industry. The annual app revenues stood at 400 billion dollars. It is expected to reach 613 billion dollars by 2025. The revenues are a testimony to the fact that mobile apps earn you a good income. But the only prohibitive factor for many startups and entrepreneurs is the cost of creating a mobile app.

Before we analyze the cost of mobile app development, let’s try to understand the various factors that decide the cost of developing a mobile app.

1. Business model

In this competitive era, where everyone is an entrepreneur, a mobile app can be a differentiator on what your business model has to offer. Before you start with the custom mobile app development, try to understand what difference will you be able to provide your customers with a mobile app. Determine your target audience first. See if your business model genuinely solves their problem or offers them better solutions. A customer is very crucial to the success of your mobile app. Failing to understand your customer base is one of the main reasons why businesses flop. The difference between market takers and makers is the business model innovation and not necessarily product innovation.

2. Type of app

What type is your mobile app? Is it a gaming app or a shopping app? Is it for social networking or for business? You can broadly classify them into these types:

Shopping apps- These are the basic online shopping apps and popular among them are Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Kroger, and Costco.

Lifestyle apps- These are related to fitness, travel, dating, food, and music. Some examples of lifestyle apps are Spotify, Tripadvisor, Uber, Grubhub.

Social media apps- These are built for social networking. Some popular apps are Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.

Utility apps- These are mostly pre-installed on your mobile device. These are function-specific for example, calculator, reminder, flashlight, and weather.

Games/entertainment apps- These are purely for fun. Some popular examples are Subway Surfer, Clash of Clans, and Pokemon.

Productivity apps- It helps users accomplish a task. Some fine examples are Trello, Docs, PowerPoint, and Teams.

News/Information apps- These supply users with information. Some examples are Buzzfeed, Reddit, Quora, and Yahoo News Digest.  

Determining your app type based on its functionality is crucial to deciding the features, platform, and mobile app cost.

3. App platform

Once you decide on the business model for your mobile app, you have to make it accessible to your target audience. The app type can make a considerable difference to the reach of your app as well as its cost. A mobile app can be categorized as-

Web App

This is the mobile version of a website. The cheapest among the apps, its responsiveness ensures that it fits across varied screen sizes from mobile devices to tablets. But it offers limited functionality and features to customers. 85% of the people prefer mobile apps to mobile-friendly websites. So, it makes sense to invest in mobile app development rather than a web app.

Native app:

A native app meant specifically for an iOS or Android device takes full advantage of the software and operating features of the system. They are built with language native to the operating system such as Swift or Objective C for iOS and Java or Kotlin for Android. These apps directly access the GPS, camera, microphone, etc. so they execute fast and provide a better user experience. They demonstrate a high level of performance and are more secure.

Cross-platform app:

If you cannot invest in a separate app for iOS and Android, a hybrid app is the best solution. It uses a combination of web and native technologies. Though not the best in terms of capabilities, it has lower development and maintenance costs.

The type of app you select depends on your purpose. A gaming app requires high optimization, speed, and graphics that are satisfied only by a native app. Likewise, an e-commerce shopping app requires full device access but not necessarily high performance. Here, you can opt for the hybrid app to cut down costs but not its features. A web app is best suited for businesses having limited resources and budgets.

Also, if the majority of your target audience uses iOS mobile devices, it is best to have a native iOS mobile app.

4. App functionality

There is no limit to what a mobile app can do. They have become so advanced and each additional feature in your app will add up to the mobile app development cost. But then there are some basic features any mobile app should have that will help you to create amazing customer experiences. Some of the core features and functions necessary in any app are:

User login- It may vary from simple user login to a combination of convenient social media logins. You can provide secure 2-factor authentication too.

Messaging- This enables the users to interact and communicate with each other or with you.

Geolocation- This is necessary for travel, restaurant, and dating apps.

Search- It may be the product catalogs, photo galleries, videos, or other content, users expect some sort of search filter to reach where they want on the mobile app.

Push notifications- It is to encourage user engagement and retention.

Monetization- In-app purchases, subscriptions, shopping carts, and payment integration are features that help you in monetizing your mobile app.  

UI, animation, special effects- Great animations, gestures, and special effects are needed for gaming apps. Other apps can make do with simple UI to cut down the mobile app development costs.

These are some of the basic functionalities in a mobile app. Integrating advanced features will require custom mobile app development and of course, the more advanced your app is, the more is its development cost.

5. Backend complexity

When designing a mobile app, most of the research is spent on the front-end. The UI takes up 75% of the research and design time. But business owners fail to recognize the need for a secure backend. After all, it is the place where your crucial data, information, and credentials are stored. At the backend, your mobile app development should focus on database, scripting, and architecture. You can choose pre-existing MBaaS (Mobile Backend as a Service) such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) Mobile, Firebase, Parse, and Back4App. For iOS, the best backend service providers are Firebase, Rest API, GraphQL, and StackMob.

Cost of mobile app development for 2022

Having a cost estimate at different stages of mobile app development may help you decide the budget for the app.  

A survey conducted by Clutch, a B2B analytics company, outlined the percentage cost the companies spend on various app development stages.

Discovery/ research stage-

The research stage is crucial to determine the feasibility of the app. We suggest you be wise and spend a considerable amount and time here to determine how you want your app to be presented to your customers. Most of the companies spend less than $5000 on discovery and only 13% spend above $25k.

Cost Range

Less Than $5000




More Than $25k







UI design stage-

Here again, we see that companies willing to spend more than $5k on design are few. But the majority of them stay within $50k. Only 8% spend more than $50k on mobile app design.

Cost Range

Less Than $5000





Above $50k








App development stage-

App development is crucial for the app’s success. Custom mobile app development costs more and about 15% are willing to spend above $30k on it. But the maximum spend on development is between $5k and $20k.

Cost Range

Less Than $5000




Above $30k







Testing & deployment stage-

For the majority 63%, a budget of $10k was enough for app testing and deployment.

Cost Range

Less Than $5k




Above $25k







When you calculate the mobile app development cost, the location from where you hire mobile app developers also plays a significant role. Even in the US, places on the west coast such as San Jose and San Francisco are the highest paying cities for app developers. Cities where hiring app developers are less costly are Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas.

The other decisive factors that affect the mobile app development costs are:

  •  App maintenance
  •  Hosting
  •  Monitoring     
  •  Engagement & marketing
  •  Licenses
  •  App updates

The average cost of mobile app development, at $40 per hour is:

  1. Simple app development cost- $30k-$60k
  2. Average app development cost- $60k-$150k
  3. Custom mobile app development cost- $300k and upwards

The time for mobile app development can vary from 45 days for a simple app to more than 9 months for a complex app.

Wrapping Up

A mobile app is a one-time investment. It deserves careful thought and strategy to make it successful. Don’t jump on the bandwagon because everyone is building a mobile app today. Focus on creating amazing user experiences through your app.

At Houston IT Developers, we provide custom mobile app development services to create a market-ready app for your business. We aim for the scalability and success of your app. If you want to build a successful mobile app at an affordable cost, we can help.