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A Quick Guide on App Development Cost in Dubai

Dubai has an infrastructure that supports app development ventures. It has a target audience that loves experiences and usability. And with government initiatives like Create Apps in Dubai, the opportunities for B2C and B2B businesses are noteworthy. Despite the handsome app development cost in Dubai and the most competitive ecosystem for mobile apps, Middle Eastern entrepreneurs are still investing in mobile app development Company – and for all of these good reasons:

  • In the United Arab Emirates, an average user spends at least 4 hours and 54 minutes on a smartphone daily 
  • In the UAE, almost 100% of the population owns a smartphone
  • UAE has the fastest internet speed after Qatar
  • UAE boasts 9.38 million internet users. 

And if these mind-blowing figures from Statista excite you, then you are off to a great start by finding how much does it cost to develop an app in Dubai in 2024. For aspiring appreneurs and future app founders like you, Trango Tech has compiled a detailed article with insights that solve the cost dilemma for most of our clients. 

This article will help you:

  • Gain quick insights about the mobile app development cost in the UAE 
  • Find out what is the average cost of app development based on types and features 
  • Understand factors that significantly increase and decrease the development budget 
  • Figure out ways you can reduce the app development cost budget 

Mobile App Ecosystem of Dubai

There are four insights into understanding the mobile app ecosystem of Dubai inside and out: Firstly, let us do a quick Dubai vs global tech hubs comparison. 

The tech talent in Dubai is way more diverse and so, is culturally fit to work with entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and journeys of businesses. Dubai has a strong talent pool as well-versed in emerging technologies as in any other popular parts of the world. Therefore, when you hire from Dubai, the competition and talent availability – alongside cultural alignment help you enjoy smooth project communication.

Secondly, the competition also dictates the app development cost breakdown. When you hire locally, you get to work with Middle Eastern developers, Asians, Europeans and even Americans at a competitive rate because their companies pay them lavishly without charging taxes most of the time. 

Thirdly, the UAE government has started an initiative called Create Apps in Dubai, which tends to support app development ventures in the region by all means – be it cost optimization, idea validation, advanced integrations, delivery of development execution or monetization. Because of this inherent promotion, Dubai has an ecosystem of mobile apps that’s going as strong as it can. 

The fourth and last fact is the tech-savvy nature of the Middle Eastern population. They have high acceptance for new technologies, as well as a preference for experience-first applications. They are more willing to spend on applications that deliver usability value and also, have income levels to support their spending intent. 

How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App In Dubai in 2024 – Quick Estimates

Here is an app development cost breakdown based on the scope and features of the mobile applications.  

    • Basic mobile app development cost in Dubai and across UAE starts from AED 10,000 for simple apps with 2 to 3 features. 
    • Native Android app development cost starts from AED 25,000 while the average iOS app development cost is AED 30,000 considering the technology stack and design requirements. 
    • Cross-platform app development cost start from AED 8,000 and typically range between AED 15,000 to AED 35,000. These apps have cross-platform availability on Android and iOS devices, browsers as well as desktops.  
    • Intermediate-level mobile apps with 5 to 8 features cost AED 25,000 to 38,000. These apps have features like online payment integration and real-time location tracking. 
    • Advanced applications with integrations of AI and VR start from AED 45,000 and can go up to AED 80,000 depending on the scope. 
    • Small business app development cost ranges between AED 14,000 to AED 30,000. 

While these are quick estimates, you can get a close ballpark figure by checking Trango Tech’s app development cost calculator

Cost of App Development Based on Types of Apps

If your app falls in one of these app niches, you can compare the features you have planned to add to your app with the ones mentioned here. Then take this cost as the starting point for your negotiations. 

Types of Apps and Their Unique Features  App Development Cost Estimates
On-demand app

  • Real-time location tracking 
  • Instant booking 
  • In-app scheduling and calendar 
  • Ratings and reviews 
  • Multiple profile creation and interface 
AED 25,000 – AED 40,000
eCommerce app 

  • Personalized product recommendations
  •  Online payment integration
  • In-app customer chat support
AED 18,000 – AED 35,000
Social media app 

  • Private messaging with encryption 
  • Activity notifications 
  • Advertisements and sponsored content 
  • Disappearing messages and posts
  • Strong database for visual content 
  • Ecommerce and marketplace integrations 
  • Ad hosting and in-app purchases 
AED 27,000 – AED 68,000
Food delivery app

  • Order Scheduling 
  • Categories and filters based on cuisines and budgets
  • Real-time order tracking
  • Online payment integration 
AED 22,000 – AED 38,000
Educational app 

  • Offline access
  • Annotation and bookmarking 
  • Progress tracking and score analytics 
AED 20,000 – AED 40,000 
Travel and logistics app

  • Flights and hotel tickets booking and reservations 
  • Itinerary planner 
  • Real-time location tracking 
  • Driver and passenger profiles 
AED 22,000 – AED 38,000
Gaming app

  • Single and multiplayer mode
  • Achievements 
  • In-app purchases 
  • Online payment and ad integration 
AED 30,000 – AED 70,000
Super app 

  • Intuitive dashboard for multiple services
  • Loyalty program across services and devices 
  • Multiple profile creation and interfaces 
  • Strong search and category filters
AED 50,000 – AED 90,000
Multi-vendor marketplace app 

  • Offline Viewing Mode
  • Personalized Content Recommendations
  • High-Quality Video Streaming with Adaptive Bitrate
AED 18,000 – AED 44,000
Business communication app

  • Encrypted messaging and file sharing 
  • Team collaboration tools 
  • Integration with internal and external business management tools 
AED 15,000 – AED 28,000
Productivity app

  • Calendar integration
  • Task management features
  • Cloud storage integration for file storage 
  • Integration with third-party tools like Slack and Jira 
AED 22,000 – AED 48,000
Video streaming app 

  • Offline Viewing Mode
  • Personalized Content Recommendations
  • High-Quality Video Streaming with Adaptive Bitrate
AED 30,000 – AED 50,000

 

Factors That Affect the Mobile App Development Costs in Dubai

Practically, these six factors come into play when determining the costs of app development. 

  • Scope of the App 

To start with, apps with basic scope are more economical and require low cost of development. As the scope grows, the app development cost also increases. 

Building onto this, the scope of the app has the most prominent impact on the costs of app development. A scope is basically the purpose of the app – it includes the goals the app wants to achieve, the features and the required designs for the interface and the overall depth of development execution. It is a written documentation of what the app is capable of, its limitations and the technology architecture that will power it. 

So when I say, basic apps, intermediate apps and advanced apps, or even MVPs, I am highlighting the scope of the app. 

The scope translates into two major app factors: 

  • App’s UI/UX Design 

An app’s design is again, a combination of two parts: brand assets that make up the user interface and user experience that is dictated by navigation and accessibility within the app. 

The user interface is the first layer of app design – users interact with your brand assets all the time while in the app. They see the splash screen with your app’s logo, then click on buttons and CTAs – and all of these visual elements are part of the design.

Brand assets include logo, style guide and concept, buttons and CTAs, sidebars and other navigation panels. 

In contrast, user experience design includes the content layout, information hierarchy, sequence of features, and overall interactions of the user within the app.  

Therefore, more complex user interfaces and user experience designs add to the cost; while simple user interfaces and white-labeled user experience designs reduce the cost. 

Also, if you are launching an app for a more sophisticated target audience that loves minimalism and focuses on experience, then you’ll need customizations and they are of course costly. 

  • App’s Features 

Because each app feature requires specific development hours for execution, these are an important part of the scope and the overall mobile app strategy. These features and their coverage decide if your mobile app is just a minimum viable product to test the market, or is a fully functional, commercial-grade product that is ready to hit the market and monetize.

Therefore, the quality and quantity of features of an app impact the app development costs

Let’s divide features that impact the cost in three different categories on the basis of complexity. 

Cost of App Development
Low Medium High
Features of Basic Apps

  • Log in and log out with email and password 
  • Profile creation 
  • In-app notifications
  • Search bar, tags and filters  
Features of Intermediate Apps

All features of basic apps, plus: 

  • Multiple profile setup and interfaces 
  • In-app purchases and online payment integration
  • Push notifications 
  • Social media sharing and in-app messaging 
  • In-app chat support
Features of Advanced Apps

All features of basic and intermediate apps, plus: 

  • 2 Factor Authentication
  • Personalized push notifications 
  • Multiple online payment methods 
  • Offline mode and dark mode 
  • In-app voice calls
  • AI-based product recommendations
  • Image and voice recognition 
  • Platform and tech stack

Your selection of platforms also dictates the technology stack your developer will utilize to build your app. Know that open-source frameworks are more economical than proprietary development tools. 

A technology stack is a set of tools, technologies, programming languages, integrated development environments and frameworks utilized for building a specific app. And so, based on your technical and business requirements, your app development company in Dubai will create a custom technology stack to support the sustainable code you need in present and the scalable architecture you would like to build tomorrow. 

As a rule of thumb,

  • Native Android app development and native iOS app development are more expensive than cross-platform app development using React Native and Flutter. That’s because native development requires developers to write separate platform-specific 
  • Native Android app development is more economical than native iOS app development because the end users in the Apple ecosystem prioritize value delivery above everything else. Privacy and above-average user experience are top priorities – both of which come with a price tag. 

As I mentioned earlier, developers consider the platform choice and then build a custom technology stack. This stack requires hefty budgets in case of cloud integrations, expensive APIs, smart contracts execution and machine learning algorithms. 

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  • Team size 

The hiring arrangements and size of the app development team directly impact the costs of app development. As an entrepreneur, you have three options:

Hire in-house – but that is the most expensive option so I am ruling it out for now.

Your next two options are outsourcing the entire app development project, or augment IT staff from a network of developers, interview them, check your budget, then hire and lead for technical KPI completion.

With outsourcing, you can expect to pay a fix cost between AED 25,000 to AED 70,000 for an advanced application with 10+ features. With IT staff augmentation though, you’ll pay monthly or quarterly subscriptions – meaning that the app development will cost you the same per development hour, you’ll have more control and flexibility over the completion of development KPIs – but you’ll have to keep the development execution on track. 

In three of the options, outsourcing is the most viable because you can still practice flexibility and control over KPI completion by determining timelines during the project scoping, and still get access to specialized services with a team that comprises a dedicated project manager who keeps these key execution members laser-focused on execution:

Factors That Affect the Mobile App Development Costs in Dubai

 

Note that with IT staff augmentation, you pay-as-you-go with the human resources you have hired – so the bigger the team size, the higher the costs. 

  • Location of the app development agency

As I discussed several reasons why app development is booming in Dubai, all of them make the ecosystem super competitive. While there are other advantages of hiring locally in Dubai, cost optimization and reduction are definitely on top. Building onto this, an app that will cost you AED 25,000 in the UAE will cost you almost $10,000 (AED 36,000) in the USA. And even more in England, Canada and Germany. 

  • Full-cycle development

The app development sprints consist of discovery and strategy, UI/UX design, backend and frontend development, API integration, testing and QA, deployment and launch, marketing and post-launch maintenance. 

Working with clients at Trango Tech, I have observed that hiring the development team for full-cycle coverage with all of these services at an upfront fixed outsourcing cost is more economical than hiring standard services separately. 

  • Maintenance and marketing 

While app development execution and testing are paramount to the process, ongoing maintenance, support, and marketing are also important for performance optimization, long-term growth, and scaling of revenue. 

App maintenance service and support typically include:

  • Performance monitoring and identification of bugs 
  • Fixes and security updates
  • Technical support for users
  • App Store responses to ratings and reviews
  • User acquisition and conversion rate optimization

Together, ongoing maintenance and technical support may account for up to 17% of the entire app development costs. If you want to establish realistic budgets, you’ll have to factor in maintenance and marketing costs and add them to the upfront costs you’ll pay for development. 

How to reduce the mobile app development cost?

While mobile app development is lucrative, it is booming because of how flexible it is to make an entry in this sector. That’s because, with smart decision-making and project scoping, you can go for low cost app development, then scale when you are ready. Here are top 6 ways I recommend to Trango Tech’s clients when they seek advice on optimizing and reducing app development costs. 

Low-Cost Mobile App Development

Low-Cost Mobile App Development

 

  • Consider smart hiring arrangements

For low cost app development, hire locally and for full-cycle development coverage. This way, you don’t pay for discovery hours after each service and only have to bear and arrange a fixed app development cost determined during the app scoping sessions.  

  • Build a crossplatform app

Crossplatform apps utilize a singular codebase which can then be used to deploy on Android, iOS, desktop and even embedded devices. That’s why, crossplatform app development is more economical and gives your users a near-native experience. 

  • Invest in an MVP

MVPs are minimum viable products – these are complete mobile apps but only have the essential features that are important to support the core functionality of the app. 

Because they have limited features, MVP mobile apps are way more economical and affordable and primarily designed and developed with the intent to first check market response then go all in with a commercial-grade application. 

As an entrepreneur, you can manage app development budgets by building an MVP first. Decide on a list of features that are essential for your mobile app, launch your app, gather real user feedback and then gradually update the app with more features and keep scaling.

  • Create a prototype 

Building a prototype that is the exact visual representation of your envisioned mobile app will help you receive external funding if need be. This option is ideal for entrepreneurs who have an idea but require third-party funding. This prototype will tell your prospective investors about your app’s goals and future projections and will strengthen your chances of gathering stable funding to complete your app development process.

  • Start pre-launch marketing

As I have mentioned, post-launch marketing campaigns come with a price tag. These marketing channels require time, effort as well as money and you can reduce the need for money by slowly and gradually building brand awareness before the launch. With regular community discussions, soft pitches and press releases, your mobile app, when released in the stores, will sound familiar to your target users and they will anticipate using it – without your heavily investing in ad budgets to get initial users.

  • Choose agile development methodology 

Yes, with Agile and Scrum, developers build features and test them before moving on to new ones. This minimizes development iterations and saves time and money especially if you are charged per development hour. 

Over to you – why invest in apps despite the cost?

So this quick guide on the mobile app development cost in UAE concludes here. But if you’re still reading this, know that you are about to make the smartest business move here by mentally committing to an app development budget. And before that, clients often ask us why they should invest in agency-led app development despite the cost when so many no-code and low-code app builders are available. If this question pops up in your mind too, know that the cost of app development by working with a mobile app development company In Dubai like Trango Tech gives you the power to set the direction of your app in terms of business growth and monetization. An agency gives you the right customization options and UX strategies that you won’t typically get with a no-code builder. Take the long-term perspective and think about the value proposition of your app when making a decision. 

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About The Author

blog author
Nitesh Kumar

Nitesh Kumar is a versatile Content Writer at Trango Tech, a distinguished app development company. With a penchant for storytelling and a deep understanding of technology, he crafts engaging narratives that captivate audiences. Nitesh's knack for articulating complex ideas into accessible content plays a crucial role in showcasing Trango Tech's expertise and innovation in the competitive app development industry.

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