In today’s business landscape, app development plays a crucial role in driving growth and efficiency. It offers businesses new ways to both increase revenue and reduce costs.

By introducing apps businesses can drive revenue through new routes to market, or by creating new products or services. On the other hand they can reduce costs by streamlining processes and enhancing agility.  

However, app development costs can vary significantly depending on various factors. In this article, we will explore the key factors that can affect the cost of app development and provide insights on how to optimize and reduce these costs. We will also discuss the stages of app development and the variations in costs for different types of apps.  

We’ll also discuss the important of building the right product to deliver the best results and ensuring budgets aren’t wasted. 

App Development Costs Breakdown

The average cost of developing an app can range greatly depending on what you are looking to achieve. The complexity of an app is the principal factor that affects its development cost. Put simply the more complicated your ambitions, the longer it takes to build and the higher the associated costs. 

Simple Apps

With basic features and functionalities tend to be more affordable, while complex apps that require advanced functionalities and integration with various systems can be more costly. 

Added Features and Functionalities

As you add more complex features and functionalities such as user accounts, social media or market place features the costs can significantly increase.

Other custom features, advanced user interfaces, and integration with external systems can effect development costs. 


The platforms for which your app is targeted at, such as iOS, Android, or web will also impact the cost.

If your app is aimed at the general public you may well want to cover all three, however if it is for an internal audience in your business and you are supplying the hardware then you may be able to just build for one platform.

Developing for multiple platforms requires additional effort and resources, leading to higher costs.  

Ongoing Costs

In addition to the initial development costs for the app there are some ongoing costs that businesses need to be aware of.

These costs include ongoing maintenance, updates, and security enhancements. It is essential to plan for these expenses to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of the app.

Your app may also require hosting services which typically scale with your apps usage. 

App development projects covering iOS and Android start from around £80,000 and can cost hundreds of thousands for more complex apps

How Do You Optimize and Reduce Your App Development Cost?

Building an app is not a small investment and it is important to make sure that you are spending your budget in the right way. The easiest way to keep control of your budget is to ensure that you are building The Right Product.

Ensure you focus on your:

  • Business objectives
  • User needs

Both are key to making sure that you are building features that have a meaningful impact and will not just sit unused. For this reason we always recommend starting with a Product Discovery Workshop which focussed around proving the need for features and prioritising them accordingly.


The concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) also helps in cost optimization. By focusing on developing the core features and functionalities first, businesses can launch the app quickly and gather feedback from users. However it is important not to cut corners with an MVP or you may find that you never prove whether your concept was right due to a poor implementation 

Agile Development

Working using Agile Development Methodologies also offers advantages in terms of cost efficiency. By breaking down the development process into smaller iterations, businesses can regularly review and adjust the project scope, leading to better cost control and flexibility. 


To reduce costs, businesses can choose the right platform for their app based on their target audience and market share. By focusing on the platform that aligns with their business objectives, businesses can save on development costs. 

Discover the right product for your business

Third-Party APIs

Utilizing third-party APIs can also help in reducing development time and costs. By leveraging existing solutions and integrations, businesses can save on development efforts and resources.

When considering if you should be building a feature yourself or using a third party providers it is worth considering if owning it adds value to your platform, or if it is just a method of allowing users to access something more valuable. For instance in video calling apps often the value is in the connecting of individuals, rather than the video call itself. 


To optimize apps for scalability and reduce future costs, businesses should plan for future updates and maintenance. By designing apps with flexibility and scalability in mind, businesses can minimize the need for significant modifications in the future.

It is also important to consider the expected lifetime of your app as this may guide your choices in terms of approaches with technologies such as hybrid frameworks which have shorter lifetimes than native app development. 

Experienced Team

Working with an experienced app development team is crucial for cost control. Experienced teams can provide valuable insights and recommendations to optimise costs throughout the development process and help you navigate potential pitfalls as well.

Working collaboratively with an experienced partner should also help them guide you around decisions that might cause increased costs in the future.

App Development Stages’ Potential Average Cost

The five main stages of app development include discovery, design, development, testing and deployment. The length of each stage can vary depending on the complexity. 


During the discovery stage we work to ensure alignment around objectives, user personas, context of use and processes. We will also look to carry out user research to validate ideas and concepts before moving onto produce a roadmap/plan for the development. This stage is typically quite low cost and should save you money in the long term by discounting ideas that may not have been used or generated the interest you originally expected. 


The design stage involves both UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) design. These processes include creating information architectures, wireframes, prototypes, and visual designs as well as carrying out user testing to ensure that the apps will be easy and intuitive to use. The complexity of the design and the number of iterations required can impact costs


Development is the stage where the app’s features and functionalities are built. The length of this stage depends on the complexity of the app and the development team’s efficiency. Costs can vary significantly based on the development team’s rates and location.


Testing is a crucial stage that ensures the app functions as intended and delivers a seamless user experience. This process takes place throughout the development cycle and then concludes with a full system test at the end.  


Once approved deployment involves releasing the app to the app stores and making it available to users. This is an important yet relatively small stage. 

Throughout every stage we communicate with you regularly through calls and meetings, ensuring that you are always up to date with the latest developments and able to feedback and changes to your business which might effect the future path. 

What are Development Cost Variations for Different Types of Apps? 

  • Simple apps

Typically have a limited number of features and functionalities, basic user interfaces, and minimal integration requirements. They might include simple content based apps that display and capture data from/to the user. Typically these start from around £80,000. 

  • Medium complexity apps

Such as e-commerce apps, on demand apps and those with integrations with external systems tend to take more development. The cost range for developing medium complexity apps can be between £125,000 and £200,000. 

  • Complex apps

Often require advanced features and functionalities, multiple integration, user interactions and large back end management systems. The cost range for developing complex apps typically starts from £175,000 – 200,000. 

“To reduce costs, businesses can choose the right platform for their app based on their target audience and market share.”

Are App Development Cost Calculators Accurate? 

App development cost calculators provide estimates based on assumptions and predefined parameters such as features, functionalities, platform, and complexity. These calculators can provide a very approximate idea of the potential costs involved but the reality is that app projects are complex and what one person means when checking a box might not match another’s. Therefore other than giving a sense of scale they do not account for all the specific requirements of each project and will not be accurate. 

To get an initial idea of costs the best route is to reach out and speak with our experienced app development team. We can run you through initial considerations and outline the expected costs and timelines. 

Before starting work we always recommend that clients undertake a Product Discovery Workshop, to help validate their ideas, understand the opportunity, prioritise features and create a detailed product roadmap which outlines effort required, timelines and costs 

What’s the Average Cost of Hiring App Developers? 

The reality is that to create an app you don’t need just one developer. There are many different skill sets involved in producing an app, which is why we provide our customers with complete product teams. 

Our Product Teams feature all the roles you need to build a successful app, from:

  • Product Strategists;
  • Project Managers;
  • UX & UI Designers;
  • iOS, Android and Web Developers;
  • Quality Assurance teams

When looking to grow your own team to build your app it is important to consider all of the aspects of these project teams and which you will be able to cover yourself.  

The global range of average hourly rates for app developers varies a lot based on the developer’s location, experience level, and the complexity of the project. Developing countries often offer more affordable rates but require more management, while developed countries tend to have higher rates. 

To get an initial idea of costs the best route is to reach out and speak with our experienced app development team. We can run you through initial considerations and outline the expected costs and timelines. 

We Can Help You

At Sonin, we are a leading UK mobile app development company, collaborating with ambitious organisations to design and build exceptional apps and digital products on iOS, Android, and web.  

Whether you want to work more efficiently, increase revenue or introduce a new service, we specialise in making sure your mobile app or digital product succeeds. We’re here to work with you to build the right product – the one aligns with your business objectives and your users’ needs. 

Contact us today to discuss your app development needs and receive a tailored solution that meets your requirements.