Mobile apps are a powerful tool for businesses that want to expand and scale, and mobile app development is an amazing career option for developers who want to become a part of the roaring industry. If you are planning on following suit, it is certainly a promising option to explore. However, you must be aware of the nuances of it before you venture out.
Over the years, the methods and techniques of mobile app development have changed tremendously. With increased network connectivity and processing capabilities, apps have evolved to match pace with the technologies and leverage it, and so has app development.
If you have been looking for a mobile app development guide that takes latest development methods, future oriented technologies, and the holistic industry-picture into account, then your wish has been granted. This blog will give you a microscopic view of the industry and tell you all you need to know about mobile app development. Stay tuned!
In this blog
- Mobile app development statistics worth knowing
- Introduction to mobile app development
- Reasons for pursuing mobile app development
- Types of mobile app development
- Stages and process of mobile app development
- The timeframe and cost of app development
- Current trends and practices of app development
- Best ways to develop a mobile app
- Frequently Asked Questions
Mobile app development statistics worth knowing
Let us start with discovering how the mobile app industry pans out and how significant apps have become in our lives. This will help you to weigh things from a statistical standpoint and understand how and why mobile application development can be beneficial.
Some mobile app statistics worth knowing are as follows:
- There are over 7 million apps available for users around the globe.
- Google Play Store has more than 3.5 million and Apple App Store has more than 1.6 billion apps available for download.
- In 2022, there were around 255 billion first time mobile app downloads.
- As per Statista, mobile apps are expected to generate around 613 billion US dollars in revenue by 2023.
- Users spend 90% of their mobile time on apps and only 10% on mobile browsers.
- 85% of shoppers prefer apps over mobile websites for online shopping
- The average American has around 80 apps downloaded on their smartphone.
- An average smartphone user opens 9-10 apps per day and 30 apps per month.
- App-based startups have 825% higher IPO than non-app-based startups
- The median salary for mobile application developers is 110,000 US dollars per year.
These were some facts and figures picked to help you understand where the future of mobile apps and application development is headed. The industry continues to rise and is expected to maintain pace in the coming years.
Also Read: Mobile app development: Market share, size, and other statistics
Introduction to mobile app development
What is mobile application development?
In layman terms, mobile application development is the process of creating software for portable devices like smartphones, tablets, smart watches, etc. Mobile app developers build software bundles that can be installed on mobile devices. In fact, it may come pre-installed on a device or can be distributed via mobile app marketplaces and mobile web browsers.
While this sounds simple, mobile app development is a complex process and goes beyond just some codes and software compilation. Notably, Android and iOS are the most popular mobile operating systems and around 99% of the apps are developed for these platforms. Therefore, mobile app development can further be classified as Android app development and iOS app development.
Building apps for Apple devices like iPhone and iPad differs from developing apps for Android devices. For instance, iOS app developers mostly use programming languages like Swift and Objective-C and Android developers go for Java. In fact, there has also been an advent of technologies where one may not need to use any programming language at all.
However, at the core, the process of development remains coherent and shares several attributes. It is also noteworthy that while mobile application development dates back to the end of the twentieth century, the industry has changed aggressively over the years. While change is the constant, the growing demand for apps has been absolute and continues to grow more so.
Reasons for pursuing mobile app development
Why is mobile app development important? What are the benefits of pursuing app development? Why create apps at all? This section answers all such questions regarding app development. Scroll and find out why you must pursue mobile app development:
Customers prefer mobile apps
The popularity of apps is a no brainer. Given a choice, most of us would like to consume, purchase, and explore commodities or content via mobile apps. Apps are easier to access, more convenient to use and effortless to navigate. These are some of the many reasons why customers love apps.
Almost every other study and survey indicates the increasing popularity of mobile apps among customers. With the availability of apps that do not require installation, the numbers are only going to rise. Therefore, this is the best time to tap into the market and make the most of it.
Also Read: Why customers purchase through apps & why you should have one
Businesses are investing in apps
Data shows that 48% (almost half) of all small businesses have a mobile app. 27% of small businesses plan on creating an app in near future. All these numbers clearly indicate that businesses are investing in apps. This includes large, mid-level as well as small businesses.
Other than that, organizations, federal bodies, institutions and even individual celebrities and professionals are creating apps to connect with their audiences. App developers can cater to all such businesses and entities and earn good money.
App development has great career prospects
The demand for mobile apps creates a need for developers by default. Statistically, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 26% increase in jobs for software developers. Above all, app development is also a lucrative employment realm and pays well.
On an average, developers earn USD 120,000 in the USA, USD 100,000 in Australia, and around USD 70,000 in the UK annually. Developers can join development companies or offer freelance development services and enjoy the flexibility of working without limitations.
New technologies have made app development easy
The advent of low-code and no-code technologies, automated mobile app development software, and endless supporting tools has made app development a breeze. This is the best time to become an app developer or open an app development company of your own.
You can use these technologies to fast-track app projects, process development and deliver apps in record time with minimal resources. Even if you do not want to take up app development yourself, you can become a reseller or an affiliate partner and sell apps to customers.
Types of mobile app development
There are several ways to develop apps for mobile operating systems and this typically includes custom app development, low-code app development and no-code app development. (We have discussed these in detail later).
However, before you learn about the methods and technologies that are used to develop apps, it may help to learn about the types of apps you can build. Go through the sections below and learn about the different types of apps you can create as a developer.
Based on OS
Android and iOS are not the only mobile operating systems. However, the two together take up the lion’s share of the market. Therefore, most of the app development projects are centred around these two operating systems.
Whether you want to be an Android developer or an iOS developer is a matter of choice. Most development teams start with Android as it has a larger user-base. On the other hand, many prefer iOS apps as they generate more revenue.
While we recommend creating apps for both, you can read more about Android and iOS app development in detail and then make a decision yourself.
Android app development
Android, the most popular mobile operating system, was launched in the year 2003 as an open-source project based on the Linux kernel. It has a flexible and open-to-all kind of infrastructure and that is why there are so many brands that manufacture hardware for Android.
Android has endless APIs and extensive cloud services that make it easy for developers to create high-functioning apps that are not essentially reliant on device memory and processor. Most Android developers use Java to write the apps, which is easier to work with.
The Android developer website is where most developers start to build an app. While developing Android apps is slightly more complicated than creating iOS apps, it is still one of the most sought-after platforms for developers. Android app development can help you target the biggest app market that is constantly evolving.
iOS app development
iOS is the second most popular operating system and is especially popular in premium markets and first-world countries. iOS app development is all about creating apps for Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, etc.
While iOS app development is comparatively easier than Android app development, Apple has stricter guidelines for submissions. However, Apple’s development ecosystem is straightforward and has several development resources and easy to use SDKs (Software Development Kits) including Xcode, an integrated development environment (IDE).
Swift and Objective-C are the programming languages currently used for developing iOS apps. It is mandatory for iOS developers to have a MAC computer and an Apple Developer Account to be able to launch iOS apps.
Based on app type
App development can also be classified based on the approach towards development and the type of app being built. Developers can choose from the following options based on the nature of the project, delivery timeline, availability of resources, and demand of the clients:
Native mobile apps
Native mobile app development refers to the process of creating mobile apps exclusively for a given platform. The apps are written using programming languages and tools specifically meant for the platform (For example, Java and Kotlin for Android; Swift and Objective-C for iOS).
The apps are built for dedicated platforms and devices. Eventually, native Android app development will remain independent of native iOS app development. Notably, native apps ensure better performance and functionalities and are preferred by many.
Cross-platform mobile apps
Native app development is often time-consuming and costly. That is why several developers prefer cross-platform development. Cross-platform apps work on several platforms and are often built using tools like React Native, Xamarin, Flutter, etc.
While cross-platform app development is faster and easier, it may not produce results as efficient as native development. Such apps are written on a single code-base and the functionalities and customizations can be limited when compared to native apps.
Progressive web apps
PWAs or Progressive Web Apps are the best alternate to custom app development. Say a business wants its users to work in an app-like environment without forcing them to download or install an app. This is where PWAs can be used as they do not rely on app marketplaces.
Hybrid mobile apps
Several tools are used to bridge the web environment with native devices. With PWAs in picture, hybrid app development is now less regarded. However, hybrid app development is easier, more pocket-friendly and suitable for those who want an instant solution.
Also Read: Progressive web app or a native app – what to create?
Stages and process of mobile app development
App development is not one process but a collection of several steps and processes that together complete the cycle. While app development approach can be unique for each project depending upon its nature, resources and goals, the basic steps of app development may remain same. Those steps and processes are as follows:
Research & Planning
While having an app concept is amazing, there is so much more to do before you translate the idea into an app. It is a no brainer that the efficiency of your project will depend on how great your research it. It will help you save resources and make the most of them in the long run.
Therefore, start with extensive research and planning before you proceed to the development. Start with finding answers to questions like ‘Is there a potential market and audience for the app?’, ‘How strong are the competitors?’, ‘What will be the unique selling proposition of the app’, and so on.
To sum it up, your research should focus on the following:
- Identification of the potential market & audience
- Creation of user personas
- Competitor research (presence, strengths & weaknesses)
- Budgeting and allocation of resources
- Finalizing a monetization model
- Establishing app goals and objectives
- Picking the app marketplace (Android &/or iOS)
- Finding the best development method/software
- Setting up a promotion & marketing strategy
Depending upon the uniqueness of your project, you may want to add several steps to the research phase like conduction interviews and surveys, studying existing market data, etc.
A wireframe is a sketch, guideline of a blueprint of a software. This skeletal representation of the app helps developers and other team members understand what is expected of the app and what the key tenets of the app will be.
Create a two-dimensional visual guide or skeletal framework of your app. Remember, the main purpose of wireframing is not to show how your product will look, but more importantly, how the product will work. Therefore, you will need to define the navigation, page elements, object categories, conversion areas, Call to Action buttons, and more.
UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) designing is one of the most significant aspects of mobile app design and development. User interface designing is the process of creating components that enable users to interact with your app. This may include navigation controls, buttons, and other elements of the app.
While UI is about designing components, UX is all about ensuring that users interact with the app seamlessly. It is the process of designing the end-to-end experience of users with the app. While the experience may be subjective, your design must ensure usefulness, easy accessibility, frictionless navigation, and desirability.
Also Read: The difference between UI and UX: A guide for beginners
Once you are done with the research, have gathered feedback on your wireframes, and outlined your UI and UX design, you can assemble the technology stack and start the core development process.
The course of this step will depend upon your choice of development method or software. For instance, in the case of custom app development, you will have to start the coding process at this stage. On the other hand, if you choose automated tools and software, you may be required to file your requirements, start low-code programming or work with a no-code drag and drop app builder.
Depending on the nature of the project, the task may get divided into front-end development (design, architecture, features and interface), back-end development (system architecture, databases, servers, security, and other background processes) and API integrations.
Testing & Deployment
Once the development process is complete, the next step is to test the app inside out. This may involve testing the UI/UX, design, features, functionalities, buttons, and the overall look, performance, content and feel of the app.
While this may sound simple, testing is actually a rigorous process and critical for any app development project. It is important to identify any flaws, bugs and shortcomings at this stage to avoid post-launch hazards. You can refer to our complete mobile app testing guide and test your mobile apps like a pro.
Once you are satisfied with the product and all the changes have been implemented, you can go on to deploy and distribute the apps. This is where you submit your app builds (Android &/or iOS) to the marketplace. Typically, this would mean submitting your apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. However, depending upon the app type (Example PWAs), you may also share it directly over the web or as file, URL, QR code etc.
By this stage, your app will have passed the review and will be ready for users to download and install. We recommend optimizing your app for the app stores to ensuring better ranks and visibility. Once the app is up and running, your team should be ready to offer any post-launch support to the customers and stakeholders.
Help your new and existing users in discovering the product and getting familiar with it. Start collecting usage insights, reviews, ratings and feedback and use it to enhance your app’s design, content and offerings. Launch app updates based on the feedback and enhance your product. Go ahead and market your app and increase engagement.
Also Read: Top 70+ Mobile app marketing and advertising statistics – How do companies sell apps?
The timeframe and cost of app development
How much does it cost to build an app? How long does it take to build an app? For those new to app development, these queries are common. In this section we will answer these questions and discuss the time and cost involved in developing mobile apps.
It is important to understand that time and cost go hand in hand for any development project. A longer timeline often contributes to an increase in logistical costs. Moreover, many developers charge more for delivering an app project faster.
On the other hand, if an app project gets delivered faster, all the time that you save will be worth the money. This can leave app owners with more time to spend on post-launch marketing, support, promotions, etc. Sounds confusing? Let us break the two and get into the details:
Time taken to build an app
The timeframe of an app development project is affected by several factors like availability of resources, strength of the team, span of the research, type of the app, complexity of design and features, and more. Clearly, the exact time frame will be different for different projects.
However, if you go for custom app development, the average time taken will be a sum of several processes. This includes:
- Research and Planning: 2 to 3 weeks
- Wireframing and Designing: 2 to 4 weeks
- App Development: 3 to 9 months
- Testing and Launch: 3 to 4 weeks
Clearly, it may take around a year to build an app and scale it to its full potential. However, this is just one way to look at it. The process can be expedited with the use of a bigger and more efficient team.
Additionally, low-code and no code app development technologies can also put your projects in fast-track. Such technologies can automate several aspects of the project and reduce the timeline of development. The time taken by non-traditional methods of app development is as follows:
- Low-code app development software: 1 to 4 weeks
- No-code app development software: Less than a day
Under ideal conditions, low code and no code app builders can help you expedite app development lifecycle and build an app much faster. For instance, if you are building your app with AppMySite, you can create your app in less than fifteen minutes. However, the final timeframe of your project will depend on your goals and the way of execution.
Cost of developing an app
Just like time, the cost of app development is also influenced by diverse factors. This may include the location of app development company, scale of production, method of app development, complexities of design and features, total billable hours, targeted platform (Android &/or iOS), etc.
For instance, the more complex the features, the higher the cost will be. Similarly, a design and artwork-heavy app may cost more. Moreover, some no-code software solutions may cost way less than traditional methods of app development. Creating a food delivery app like UberEATS may cost more than creating a basic grocery delivery app.
These are just a few examples. However, the average cost of app development can be anywhere around USD 15,000 to USD 300,000. To simplify things, on an average, the cost of an app development project can be as follows:
- Low complexity app: USD 15,000+
- Medium complexity app: USD 28,000+
- High complexity app: USD 50,000+
- Very high complexity app: USD 120,000+
Remember, this is just an average layout of the cost of custom app development. The final costs will differ for each project. However, if you want to dodge hidden pricing and want more straightforward packages, you should look for solutions that state their prices and packages upfront. You can also go through our extensive mobile app development cost guide and learn more about the topic in detail.
Current trends and practices of app development
Before taking up development, you must be aware of the latest trend, technologies and best practices that are a part of the mobile app development industry. Here’s some of the current trends and practices popular in the development realm that you should know about:
User-centric design and content
It is the age of the internet, and every customer has access to endless resources and options. Customers have become smart, and they do not waste their time and resources on “average products or services”. Therefore, it has become important for every business to think like a customer and work accordingly.
The same goes for app design and development. From easy to access navigation to one-click access to menu and support, apps are being designed keeping user’s ease and convenience in mind. Therefore, the app must simplify the user’s journey and make them feel rewarded. This in turn will earn you more user engagement, interactions, and loyalty.
Realistic audio-visual experiences
The use of AR/VR and IoT (Internet of Things) is observing a new high with respect to app development. From shopping apps that offer virtual trial of products to real estate apps that offer property tours, technology has redefined what apps can do.
While your app may not necessarily rely on such technologies to fulfil its goal, you can still enhance its appeal with the right kind of UI/UX. Design these components of your app keeping your users in mind and ensure seamless navigation and rich experiences for users. Add high quality media and content and offer a seamless and synchronized experience to customers across platforms.
Fast track development and instant apps
Instant apps and instant app development tools are the need of the hour. Many customers want to bypass the process of downloading apps and still want the app-like experience. This is where PWAs (Progressive Web Apps) come into picture. From accessing a restaurant menu to paying for a parking ticket, instant apps can be used anywhere.
On the other hand, businesses are also looking forward to fast and automated technologies to build and launch their apps. Low-code and no-code development platforms, user-friendly frameworks, etc., are meeting the such demands and allowing developers to work in a fast-paced app development ecosystem.
Robust security and smart integrations
Ever wondered why some brands like Apple are so focused on security and performance? It is because the increasing pool of technology and its accessibility also increases the demand for heightened security and reliable performance. This is one of the most significant practices that developers must pursue.
As you develop your app, make sure that it is fed with smart and up-to-date technologies. From smart data encryption to safe payment transactions, there is much to cover in this realm. With increase in use of mobile wallets and biometric login systems, the demand for app security will also rise in the coming time.
Future-ready design and development
Your app need not have the ability to find water on a nearby planet. However, it should be efficient enough to align with the changing technologies and demands of the customers. A future-ready design and approach towards development is what developers must be willing to have in this age.
From advanced AI to 5G, foldable devices, beacon technology, big data analytics, and many more, the app development industry is being influenced by rapid technological advancements. Why there is no need to incorporate them all, your app must be future-ready and growth-centric at large.
These were some of the trends and practices that dominate the app development sphere. Remember, it is not significant for all developers to follow all these trends and technologies. Stay up to date with them all but pick only the ones that align with your logistics and suit your app development goals and principles. There will always be room for advancement, and you can always scale your app to do more.
Also Read: ChatGPT and App Development: Here’s all you need to know
Best ways to develop a mobile app
We have saved the best for the last. In this section, we will discuss the three best ways to develop an app. The answer to the question “How to become an app developer” depends on your choice of app development method and how you approach it.
If you are ready to invest time and resources and want to create apps the traditional way, you can learn coding and build custom apps. Else, you can become a citizen developer and build your app with automated low-code and no-code resources. Explore your options below and know more:
#1: Instant and easy no-code app development
No-code DIY software and tools are changing the face of app development for the good. The monopoly of custom app development agencies stands challenged as anyone can create an app with a no-code app development software on their own. This not only saves ample time and resources and but also bridges the gap between idea, technology and execution.
For instance, anyone can build an app with AppMySite’s no-code app builder. From MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to enterprise app development, AppMySite can help you build and scale any kind of project without writing a single line of code. Everything from development to deployment can be managed under one roof. This enables customers to create feature-rich apps in minutes and reduce the time from concept to market.
Whether you are individual who wants to create an app for their business or a development company that wants to fast track and simplify app development for its clients, no-code tools like AppMySite are the best answer. It is the new and smarter way of becoming an app developer without going through the hassles that are a part of the traditional methods.
#2: Low-level coding with ready to use code snippets
If you are aware of the basics of programming and app development and you want a middle-ground between traditional app development and no-code, then opt for low-code technologies. However, you must remember that low-code technologies have a deep learning curve and are not suited for beginners.
Low-code solutions like Zoho Creator, Appian or Mendix smoothen and streamline the back-end operations but unlike no-code app builders, do not totally eliminate the need for it. Such tools use code-snippets, templates and pre-built integrations that help you design, develop and deploy your apps in an environment that is faster than custom app development.
While several no-code app builders can help you pull data from an existing website, low-code app builders may require you to deal with a lot of data input and management. However, you will still be able to work in a fast-track environment where you may get ready-to-use resources for your app development project.
#3: Programming with technological frameworks & stacks
Low-code and no-code technologies are evolving and are now being embraced by professional developers as well. However, if you are someone who still wants to take the traditional road, then you can also build your app by using development frameworks along with the necessary technology stack.
Yes, we are talking about programming languages and frameworks. You can pick your technology stack and programming languages based upon your app type, platform, and nature of the project. Some popular app development frameworks include ReactNative, Xamarin, Swiftic, Ionic, and Apache Cordova, among others.
Finalize your goals and then pick your technology stack accordingly. If you are a beginner, you may want to take a full course and learn professional coding before you start. Create prototypes before committing to commercial development and perfect your skills. Keep yourself up to date with the latest technologies and trends of the market and deliver the best to your customers.
That was all about mobile app development and the latest trends and practices of the industry. To sum it up, mobile app development is profitable, there are new are smarter ways to develop apps within optimized budgets and timeframes, and the future of apps is bright.
Whether you are a developer who wants to venture into custom app development or a business owner who knows nothing about development and still wants an app, there is a solution for everyone. Use the right resources and tools and make the most of it.
Look for the best no-code mobile app development software or learn coding. Build your own app or get the best mobile app development company to build it for you. The choice is yours, and so is the comment section below. Take on app development with all your might and let us know in the comments if you have any further questions, doubts, or concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is mobile app development profitable?
Statistics show that mobile apps are leading on all fronts. Almost every business wants to launch an app and the market is constantly growing. There is significant demand for mobile app development solutions and professionals. Additionally, with low-code and no-code development solutions available online, it has become easier for developers to take up development projects in bulk. Thus, it is evident that mobile app development is highly profitable for both developers and businesses.
How can I become a mobile app developer?
The process of becoming an app developer will depend on your educational background, experience and familiarities with the latest app development concepts and technologies. You can learn basic programming and build your app with low-code app builders. Else, you may get a professional degree and attend coding boot-camps if you want to go ahead with custom app development.
What skills are needed in a mobile app developer?
The first and foremost skill needed in an app developer is the thorough knowledge of programming languages and technologies like Java, Kotlin, React.js, React Native, GIT, etc. Other than that, they should also have knowledge of UI/UX design, cloud infrastructure, cross-platform development, backend computing, and awareness about latest trends of the development industry, among other industry specific and soft skills.
How to develop a mobile app?
The process of app development is extensive and complicated. You can either build your app by the methods of custom app development or use low-code app makers to create the app with some amount of coding. Else, you can take a completely different route and develop your app with a no-code app builder. The latter option is simple, many times faster and way more affordable than the other two.
Read: How to create a mobile app from scratch?
What is the cost of app development?
App development may cost you anything between USD 15,000 to USD 300,000 as it depends on a number of factors. This includes the complexity of the app, intricacies of design and features, location of app development, industry, and app type, and more. The maintenance and updates can lead to added costs and increase the budget furthermore. However, if you want affordable and cost-effective solutions, you must do your research and invest in user-friendly no-code technologies.
How many hours does it take to develop an app?
The duration of an app development project depends upon a range of factors like the time spent on research and planning, complexities of design and features, availability of resources, and more. The average time required to develop an app is somewhere between 900 to 1200 hours. This is true for custom app development and the timeline may further expand depending upon the nature of the project. However, no-code app builders like AppMySite expedite app development and let customers create apps within minutes.
What are some best mobile app development technologies?
No-code app builders, Low-code app builders, Python, Flutter, Java, Android Studio, Reach Native, Xamarin, Firebase, Xcode, Ionic, etc., are some of the best mobile app development technologies. While the first one is citizen-friendly and suitable for beginners in app development, others are more suitable for professional developers.
What are the best mobile app development companies and services?
This depends upon what you are looking for. If you are looking for no-code app development services, then go with AppMySite. If you are looking forward to complete app projects with low code solutions then you can go for Zoho Creator, Appian, FlutterFlow, among others. As far as custom app development companies are concerned, Groovy Web, Light IT, Emizen Tech, Intellectsoft, etc., can be good choices.