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cost to build a mobile app in Dubai

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Mobile App in Dubai in 2023? A Breakdown of the Cost of Developing and Launching a Successful App.

The mobile ecosystem in Dubai is growing at a rapid pace. According to statistics, the average smartphone user spends a few hours every day on their mobile device. It’s no wonder that many companies want their own app in Dubai so they can reach their customers more effectively. Being an entrepreneur’s haven, many individuals are constantly coming up with mobile app development ideas to solve problems digitally or enhance experiences across existing solutions in the market.

If you are planning to launch an application for iPhone or Android phone in Dubai or UAE, then you need to understand the cost to build a mobile app. In this article, we explore the different cost factors to consider while budgeting for your app.

The cost of developing a mobile app can vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the app, the number of platforms it will be built for (e.g. iOS, Android, etc.), the number of integrations with other systems, and the level of customization required.

While it can be difficult to provide an accurate estimate of the cost of building a mobile app in Dubai in 2023 without specific requirements and features of the app, through experience working on several app projects, we will give you a breakdown of the cost elements you should consider to arrive at a reasonable estimate of the cost of building an app.

Cost Considerations for Developing an App in Dubai

The cost of developing an application in Dubai is based on the following factors:

  1. UI/UX Specifications – The number of screens and functions that need to be implemented.  In addition to this, if you have any complex requirements, it will increase the cost of development. Tools for figma are used for prototyping an app before actual coding and development commence. It allows you as a client to get a working prototype which can be tweaked based on your feedback to achieve the desired UI/UX. This is a low-cost way to get an idea of how your app will work before actual development commences.
  2. The complexity and functionalities of the application – If you need to develop a complex application with multiple features, then it will be more expensive than if you only require few features and have fewer users.  If your goal is to create a simple app that helps improve productivity and efficiency in any business or industry, then there will be fewer costs attached to it compared with an app that allows users access to multiple services at once (for example, social media websites). However, if you do want an app which can offer both these things in one place then this may increase costs significantly as more development and customization will be required.
  3. Security and Hosting – In general, the cost of hosting an app can range from a few dollars per month for a basic hosting plan to hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month for a more complex or resource-intensive app. Factors like the type of content served up by the servers, how much data you store, the number of active users, etc. will determine the amount you spend on server hosting for the app.

Most apps are deployed on either iOS and Android store. You will need to consider this in your budget as well.  In addition to the annual membership fee and registration fees charged by iOS and Google play stores, respectively, these two major platforms for hosting apps also charge a commission on app sales and in-app purchases. This commission is known as the “App Store commission”. iOS and Google play store charges are summarised below;

  • iOS Store:
    • Annual membership fee: $99 per year
    • App Store commission: 30% of the sale price for paid apps and in-app purchases.
  • Google Play Store
    • Google Play Developer registration fee: $25.
    • Google Play Store commission: 30% of the sale price for paid apps and in-app purchases.

It’s important to note that the fees for hosting apps on the App Store are separate from the cost of hosting the app itself. The hosting fees charged by Apple or Google are for the distribution and sale of apps on the App Store, while the cost of hosting the app refers to the resources and infrastructure needed to run the app, such as server space, bandwidth, and other hosting services.

  • 4. Maintenance – once your app is live, you will still require technical support to keep the app up and running smoothly. Your app will require application updates after the launch. App developers supply adequate technical assistance for smooth functioning. Other additional technical support might include, improving the user experience, maintaining regular APIs, and fixing bugs. The developers keep a check on the maintenance status of the app from time to time. Unless you have an in-house team to handle these tasks, you will need to keep your app development agency on a retainer to provide this support for your app.
  • 5. Type of App – In addition to the factors we have discussed so far to be considered in estimating the cost of building an app, the type of app is also a key consideration in estimating the cost of the app. Apps can be categorised by the utility of the app and the cost of developing apps in the same utility category would typically fall in the same range. Here are some of the common types of apps in terms of utility;
    • Native apps: These are apps that are designed to run on a specific mobile operating system (such as iOS or Android) and are built using the native programming languages and frameworks of that operating system. Native apps are generally faster and more responsive than other types of mobile apps, but they are also more expensive and time-consuming to develop.
    • Hybrid apps: These are apps that are built using web technologies (such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) and are wrapped in a native container to be distributed on mobile app stores. Hybrid apps are generally less expensive and faster to develop than native apps, but they may not have the same level of performance and may not be able to access all of the features and capabilities of the device.
    • Game apps: These are apps that are designed specifically for entertainment and are usually built using native or hybrid app technologies. Game apps can range from simple puzzle games to complex multiplayer games with advanced graphics and gameplay.
    • Utility apps: These are apps that are designed to perform specific tasks or functions, such as navigation, productivity, or social networking. Utility apps are usually built using native or hybrid app technologies.
    • Lifestyle apps: These are apps that are designed to help users with specific aspects of their personal or professional lives, such as fitness, shopping, or travel. Lifestyle apps are usually built using native or hybrid app technologies.
cost to build a mobile app in Dubai
  • 6. Marketing and Customer Acquisition – once your app is live, you will need to engage in some kind of promotional or marketing activities to create awareness for the app and acquire users for the app. Today data privacy is a topical issue and a lot of users are averse to giving access to apps on their mobile devices. For this reason, getting users to download and use an app takes some convincing. You will have to demonstrate a compelling reason to convince users to download and use your app. To accomplish this, you will need to make considerable investments in marketing. Not just conventional digital marketing like social media marketing. You will need to invest in programmatic ad campaigns which are performance-based and will help drive the download and use of the app. 
programmatic ad campaigns

Based on the points discussed so far the cost of developing an app in Dubai is summarised in the table below.

Type of AppDevelopment CostHosting CostMaintenance Cost
Native Apps (iOS)AED 35k – AED 85KFrom AED 380 per month15 – 25% of development cost annually
Native App (Android)AED 25k – AED 70kFrom AED 380 per month15 – 20% of development cost annually
Hybrid Apps (iOS and Android)AED 30k – AED 65KFrom AED 280 per month10 – 20% of development cost annually
Utility AppsAED 55k – AED 260KFrom AED 1,350 per month25 – 30% of development cost annually
Lifestyle AppsAED 75k – 320kFrom AED 1,600 per month25 – 30% of development cost annually
Gaming AppsAED 60k – AED 280kFrom AED 1,900 per month25 – 40% of development cost annually

Cost Breakdown for app development

Now that we have looked at the different cost elements for developing an app and we have estimates for the different types of apps along with other associated costs, let’s break down the development cost of an app.

  • Prototyping and design; This will consume around 20 – 30% of the development budget for your app. The design of your mobile app is essential for usability and user experience. If your mobile application doesn’t look good or feel intuitive, it will be hard for users to use and like your app enough to keep using it.
  • Development of the functionality and API integrations if necessary: In this stage, your app developer will create the functionality of your app and connect it with external services. The cost depends on how much work has to be done in each case. For example, if you need a simple web page with certain functions but without any integration with other applications or databases (API) then the cost might be lower. This phase will consume around 60 – 80% of the budget.
  • Testing and Bug fixing: The final stage is the testing of the application. This phase commences with manual testing by QA engineers who identify errors, defects and bugs in it and correct them.  The testing activities would include:
    • Check for bugs.
    • Test the app on multiple devices.
    • Make sure it is compatible with all versions of iOS and Android.
    • Ensure that it is secure. This can be done by checking the device permissions during development and making sure they are not excessive, as well as adding in encryption methods to prevent data theft or loss by hackers when being sent over the internet, which could lead to identity theft or credit card fraud if they were able to intercept the data stream before it reaches its intended recipient.
    • Ensure ease of use and user-friendliness so that users don’t get frustrated while trying to figure out how things work (or don’t work) within your application’s interface design/user experience flow charts (UX/UI).

System testing for performance, compatibility and usability should also be carried out using tools like JMeter, LoadRunner, AWS Device Farm, Perfecto. Appium, Calabash and UserTesting.

Conclusion

Most people often focus on the upfront cost of developing an app but as we have seen in this article, there are other costs that you should consider in your budget to ensure that you not only develop your app but you have a sufficient budget to ensure the app runs seamlessly and you acquire customers at scale to make the business viable.

We have done our best to provide a clear picture and cost estimate for building an app in Dubai in 2023. However, to get a more accurate estimate of the cost to build a mobile app in Dubai, it would be helpful to consult with a mobile app development company or agency that has experience building apps for clients in the region. They will be able to assess your specific needs and provide a more accurate cost estimate.

At Fitch Technologies, we have a local team of mobile app developers that can assist you in bringing your app idea to live and provide the required support to drive customer acquisition for the app. Get in touch today if you would like to discuss a brief for your app project.

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