The mobile app development industry is observing a rapid surge in recent years, due to the high usage and dependency on smartphones and mobile technology. In Australia, where tech-savvy consumers and businesses always eager to use innovative solutions, mobile apps have become an integral part of daily life and operations.  

From improving user experiences to optimizing company operations, the demand for mobile applications shows no signs of slowing down. That is why most businesses are starting to invest in mobile apps, but they don’t know the overall cost of it. This article will provide detailed information for mobile app development cost, hidden cost and how to reduce them.

Mobile App Development Market Size in Australia

Australia is one of the top mobile app developers in the world. According to reports, there are more than 140,000 developers in Australia alone. With the rapidly growing app market, businesses can easily hire a local mobile app development company. To understand the demand for mobile app development, here are some facts about Australia’s mobile app market share.  

  • According to Statista, the total revenue of the App market is expected to reach US$8,729.00m by the year 2023.  
  • Based on current projections, the total revenue is expected to grow annually at a rate of 7.25% from 2022 to 2027. As a result, the market volume is predicted to reach US$11,550.00m by 2027.  
  • According to 42 Matters, 56% of mobile app publishers in Australia have published their apps on both Google Play and the Apple App Store.  
  • According to projections, the number of downloads from the App market will reach 774.10 million by 2023. 
Mobile App Development Market Size in Australia
Mobile App Revenue by Segment for Australia


What Factors Affect the Cost of Mobile App Development?

App Type and Category

A lot of factors influence mobile app development cost, but application type is one of the significant factors in it. Mobile app categories or types are applications that represent certain industries, such as E-commerce, social media and others.  

Every app category follows a different approach, tech stack and features which is why their cost are different. For example, E-commerce applications can cost around $50,000 to $150,000 and more based on various factors. Similarly, gaming apps also range from $50,000 to $250,000 or more.  

To understand the average app development cost, learn about the type of app you want to build, and you can find a rough estimate of the development cost.

Operating System and Device Compatibility

The development platforms affect the cost of building a mobile app. There are two major operating systems in the market, Android and iOS. Apart from that, we also need to consider device compatibility as we need to optimize the app for mobile, tablet and others.  

While both Android and iOS are the only OS options for now, the development process is a bit different, which can affect the cost. We can break down the app development cost into the hourly rate, complexity, time spent and design.  

While the hourly rate for Android development is a bit affordable, iOS can win the race with design and complexity. Make sure to understand every factor of the operating system and device combability before moving forward with development.  

website app development

Development Complexity

We can divide the complexity into three parts, basic, medium and complex. The basics are low-cost mobile app development that starts from $5,000 that includes standard design and MVP-level functions. While medium-complexity apps have more features, better designs and options. A medium complex app development costs between $40,000 to $100,000.  

Lastly, highly complex apps integrate emerging technologies such as AI, VR or blockchain. They also have a custom design, complex backend infrastructure and other features. These apps require more time and expertise, which affects the cost of app development. Their development cost can start from $100,000 to $250,000 or above.   

Technology Stack and Development Approach

Tech stack refers to various technology and tools used in the mobile app development process. Based on the app type and complexity, developers choose the tech stack, which affects the app development cost. To understand the difference, we can learn about development approaches such as native, hybrid or cross-platform development.  

Native development utilizes native programing language and tools to build high-quality applications, which is a bit costlier. Hybrid app development combines the benefits of native and web app development, using WebView technology to create apps that work seamlessly on both iOS and Android platforms. Cross-platform development is a framework where developers write the code once and deploy it on both platforms.   

Native apps win the race in terms of performance, but cross-platform app development is more affordable.

Features and Functionalities

Every app is defined by its features and functionalities, and that’s why we always aim to provide better options in the app. However, features can also add up to the overall cost of mobile app development, from simple logins and sign-up features to device-based features that use cameras or microphones.  

The cost can be varied based on the complexity of the features and the duration of the development. Every additional feature requires design, development, testing, and maintenance, all of which contribute to the overall expense. It’s important to prioritize and plan features based on user needs and core app objectives to control costs. 

By focusing on essential functionalities first and adding advanced features later, you can help keep costs in check.

Mobile App Development Features and Functionality

Design and User Experience

The design of an app is important for both user experience and development costs. Simple and easy-to-use designs usually require less development time and are more budget friendly. However, designs with custom animations or complex user interfaces that are visually appealing and detailed can be more time-consuming and expensive. 

Finding a balance between aesthetics, functionality, and user experience is essential to optimize development costs. A good design can improve the user experience, encourage engagement, and differentiate the app from competitors in the market. 

To create an effective and visually appealing app that meets business goals, it’s important to prioritize user-centric design and involve designers in collaboration with developers throughout the development process. This approach can lead to a cost-effective yet impressive app that resonates with users.  

Mobile App Development UI and UX

Backend Infrastructure

When it comes to developing mobile apps, the backend infrastructure refers to the components and architecture that support the app’s functionality and data processing on the server side. It’s responsible for managing data storage and retrieval, including tasks such as setting up databases, designing data schemas, and implementing efficient data retrieval mechanisms.  

A well-designed database and optimized queries can lead to faster app performance and reduce server load. It’s important to note that the backend infrastructure directly impacts the development costs for a mobile app.  

Developing a scalable and robust backend can take significant time and effort from experienced backend developers. Also, cloud-based solutions may require ongoing subscription fees based on resource consumption and usage.

Testing and QA

When developing a mobile app, it is crucial to have proper testing and quality assurance (QA) phases in place. These steps ensure that the app functions properly, is easy to use, and is reliable. Testing helps identify and fix bugs, errors, or usability issues before the app is released, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free user experience.   

A comprehensive testing strategy is essential to deliver a high-quality app and minimize post-launch issues and negative user feedback. While testing may result in added development costs, it is a necessary investment towards delivering a reliable and successful mobile app that meets user expectations and drives user satisfaction.  

Development Timeline

Most development projects rely on hourly rates and are based on the development duration; it can significantly affect the development cost. Every aspect of the development process has a timeline and duration if we make changes, the durations change, ultimately affecting the overall cost of the development.  

To avoid additional charges, it is important to keep in mind that extending or shortening the timeline will affect the total cost of mobile app development. The deadline is determined by the combined hours required for every stage, feature, design, and other aspects. That’s why it is advisable to establish a clear and firm timeline and maintain open communication to avoid any potential delays.

Maintenance and Updates

The app development doesn’t end at launch; we need to maintain the app and continuously provide updates. Most companies include these services in the initial consultation, but if we ignore them today, we may have to pay extra in the future. 

How often and how much maintenance and updates are needed for a mobile app depends on factors such as user feedback, app complexity, market trends, and competition. To ensure the app stays up-to-date and effective, it’s essential to regularly communicate with users, analyze app usage data, and keep track of industry developments. 

Maintenance and update include many activities, such as UI/UX updates, content updates, security patches, bug fixes and more. It’s important to consider this at the beginning to avoid extra charges.  

Experience and Expertise in Development Team

The mobile application development cost greatly depends on the team you choose. It’s important to find skilled and qualified developers, but on the other hand, it costs more than usual. However, if we choose to go with cheaper options, we might end up with a less-than-optimal product.  

While we can compare the hourly rate of experts and intermediates, the amount of experience they bring is priceless. A mobile app development team with years of experience in a similar industry will build a better application. 

They understand and predict every challenge and easily navigate out of it. Find a mobile app development team that has a combination of skills and experience and offers a cost-effective budget.

Hidden Costs of Mobile app development

website app development

App Store Submission

To increase the visibility of your app and gain a wider user base, it is essential to submit it to app stores. However, this process may involve hidden charges. Major app stores like Apple’s App Store and Google Play require a fee for each app submission.   

Also, you may have to modify your app to meet their strict standards, which could increase the amount of time and money you spend on development. That’s why it is important to carefully evaluate the costs and benefits of submitting your app to the app stores before going forward with this process.

Third-Party Integrations

Every app requires third-party integration, which may cost extra based on their policy. Most third-party APIs are free with limited usage, but after that, they may charge differently. For example, The Google Maps API provides a free tier that has limitations on the number of requests per day. If you exceed this limit, you will have to pay based on the number of requests or usage.  

It’s important to note which third-party services operate on a usage-based pricing system or are free. This means that as the number of users and requests for these services increase, so do the associated costs. Also, some services may require ongoing subscription fees to access premium features.

App Performance Optimization

We need to make sure that the app runs smoothly, as it is key to providing a positive user experience. However, it could come with hidden charges. Performance could be impacted as the app progresses and more features are added.   

To maintain fast and responsive performance, developers may need to spend more time and resources on code refinement and performance evaluation. This can result in unexpected development costs. App optimization can cost extra, but eventually, it will bring more users as it performs in an optimal state.

App Marketing

Marketing is part of the app development cost; you can find a mobile app development company that offers these services or hire others. Marketing is important as it allows users to find the app, and we can increase the download and expand the reach. Attracting users and gaining visibility in the competitive app market can come with hidden costs.   

Marketing the app through strategies like social media advertising, influencer marketing, and app store optimization may require additional financial investments beyond the initial development budget. Additionally, ongoing marketing efforts are necessary to maintain user acquisition and retention, which can add to the app’s long-term operational expenses.  

How to Reduce the Cost of Mobile app development?

SaaS Software

Define Goals and Follow a Clear Strategy

We cannot go for the cheapest options when it comes to mobile app development. It can delay the project or produce inadequate products, so we need to focus on what we can control. Before the development process, make sure to consult with the development team and clearly define your goal. 

If you go ahead with the half-baked idea, it can cause changes later, which can cause delay and raise the overall cost. The same goes with the development strategy; make sure to start with an app development roadmap and stick with it. Sometimes, in order to achieve more goals, we drop the existing strategy and adopt a new one. 

This will create confusion among developers, which ultimately delays the project. Make sure to clear the goals, create an effective strategy and stick with it to reduce the cost of app development.  

Use Open-Source Technology

If you want to reduce the cost of developing an app, consider using open-source technology. This type of software has its source code available to the public, so developers can use, modify, and distribute it without any licensing fees. By relying on open-source libraries, frameworks, and tools, you can cut down on time and money spent during development.   

Open-source options usually have active communities that provide continuous support, updates, and improvements. This means that you can benefit from the expertise of developers worldwide without incurring extra costs. Also, open-source technologies are generally well-documented, making it easier for your development team to understand and implement them effectively.  

Adopt Agile Approach

One other way to reduce the development cost, we can use agile methodology. This development methodology focuses on making progress in small steps and working closely with developers and stakeholders. By dividing the app development process into smaller parts, developers can create functional pieces of the app that can be tested and adjusted quickly.   

This method helps catch problems early, reducing the risk of costly mistakes later. With Agile, requirements can be changed without interrupting the entire development process, making it more adaptable and cost-effective. By embracing Agile principles, you can create apps more efficiently while staying within your budget.  

Go for Cross-platform Development

Developers can use frameworks and tools for cross-platform development, which means they can write code once and deploy it on different platforms like iOS and Android. Adopting this approach saves businesses time and resources, as they don’t need separate development teams for each platform. Code reuse is enabled by cross-platform development, allowing developers to write a single set of code that works across various platforms.   

This eliminates the need for duplicating efforts, resulting in faster development cycles and cost savings. Cross-platform frameworks also have active communities that offer support and a wealth of ready-made components, further streamlining the development process.

Start with MVP

A useful way to cut down on app development expenses is, to begin with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This approach involves creating a basic version of the app that only has the necessary features and functions. Concentrating on the core aspects can shorten the development process and costs, enabling you to launch the app fast and collect user feedback.   

Starting with an MVP also lets you get the app out into the market sooner, providing you with a competitive edge and the chance to make early revenue or attract investors. As the app gains popularity and profits, you can reinvest in its development and gradually add more features. 

Popular Monetization Strategy in Australian Mobile App Market

Popular Monetization Strategy in Australian Mobile App Market 

In-App Advertising

Displaying advertisements within an app’s interface is known as in-app advertising. These ads come in various forms, including banner ads, interstitial ads, native ads, or video ads. Ad networks generally provide ads, and app developers earn revenue based on ad impressions or clicks.   

In-app advertising has the significant advantage of allowing the app to remain free, which could help attract more users. However, app developers must ensure that they balance the frequency of ads and user experience. Excessive ads may discourage users from interacting with the app, which could be detrimental to its success.  

In-app Purchase

Many apps nowadays offer the convenient option of in-app purchases, which allows users to easily purchase digital content or virtual goods within the app. This feature typically involves unlocking premium features, buying in-game currency, or accessing exclusive content that is not available for free. The freemium model, commonly used by apps, offers free access to the app’s basic features but requires payment for additional features or content.  

In-app purchases are a highly effective monetization strategy, especially for gaming apps or those with content-rich offerings. By providing users with the convenience of in-app purchases, app developers can significantly increase their revenue while also offering users the option to enhance their overall experience.  

Freemium Model

The freemium model has become a popular way for app developers to offer their services to potential customers. This approach allows users to access the core features of the app for free while also providing the option to upgrade to a paid version for additional functionalities. The free version is often seen introducing the app to users, giving them a chance to try it out before committing to a purchase.   

By offering value upfront, the freemium model encourages users to explore the app further and consider upgrading to the premium version. However, it’s essential to find the right balance between providing enough value in the free version and ensuring users aren’t overwhelmed by paywalls and restrictions. By striking this balance, the freemium model can be a successful approach for app developers and users.

Subscription Model

In today’s competitive market, businesses are always on the lookout for new ways to generate revenue. The subscription model has emerged as a popular and effective approach, where users pay a recurring fee at predetermined intervals to access premium content, services, or features.   

This method is particularly useful for apps that offer ongoing value to their users, such as media streaming services, educational platforms, or productivity tools. By adopting this model, businesses can benefit from a steady stream of revenue and foster customer loyalty as long as they consistently provide valuable content or services to justify the recurring cost. It is crucial for businesses to keep subscribers engaged and satisfied with their offerings to maintain a successful subscription model. 

Mobile app development Cost Breakdown

  Cost Factor  Duration  Cost (Approximate) 
1  Planning and Research  1-2 weeks  $1,000 – $3,000 
2  Design  2-4 weeks  $3,000 – $10,000 
3  Development  8-20 weeks  $10,000 – $100,000 
4  Testing and QA  2-6 weeks  $3,000 – $15,000 
5  Deployment  1-2 weeks  $1,000 – $5,000 
6  Post-Launch Maintenance  Ongoing  $1,000 – $5,000/month 
7  Backend Infrastructure  4-12 weeks  $5,000 – $30,000 
8  App Store Submission  1-2 weeks  $500 – $2,000 
9  App Store Developer Account  One-time  $99 – $299 
10  Hosting and Server Costs  Ongoing  $50 – $500+/month 


The mobile app market is growing rapidly, and the competition is getting fierce. Businesses are adopting a mobile app approach to stand out from the crowd and attract more customers. The Australian market is perfect for launching a mobile app with over 20 million smartphone users with over 85% penetration rate. In this article, we explored various factors that affect the cost of mobile app development. We have also mentioned hidden charges and ways to reduce the project’s overall cost. In the end, we provided an app development cost breakdown by stages for better understanding.

Why Choose Vrinsoft Pty Ltd for Mobile App Development?

Vrinsoft is one of the leading mobile app development companies in Melbourne. We have decades of experience in the market and are backed by skilled developers. We understand the Australian market and can help you turn your app idea into reality. Consult with us today to learn in detail the cost of your mobile app development. 

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