Since AR or augmented technology is taking the world by storm, businesses are keen on exploring the technology. Hence, more and more companies are searching for the cost to develop AR apps.
Don’t believe us? No worries! Look at the stats.
According to Statista, the number of mobile AR active user devices was 0.44 billion back in 2019, which is expected to jump to 1.73 billion in the year 2024.
That’s a huge jump! And rightly so.
AR allows businesses to blend the real and virtual worlds, offering users more realistic as well as immersive environments. But how much does it cost to offer the users this experience?
Let’s find out in this blog.
Table of Contents
What is an AR app?
An AR or augmented reality app is software that displays digital information on top of a real-world view. It can be a web, mobile, or desktop application. These apps are, in particular, useful for training and education purposes. AR apps overlay instructions on top of the physical objects or create digital layers for these objects to make them more comprehensive.
The cost of building any app depends on a lot of factors. While these factors will be discussed in detail later in this blog, the total rough costs range from $10,000 to $200,000.
The basic costs depend on the project requirements, timeline, and complexity. If the app is feature-rich with a custom algorithm as well as API, then the app will cost more.
Let’s look at the various factors that impact the cost to develop AR app.
Factors affecting the cost of developing an AR cost
Any piece of software is a combination of multiple features, functionalities, and elements. Thus, while developing any app, a lot of factors influence the cost of it.
Similarly, the cost to develop an AR app also depends on a lot of functional and non-functional factors.
Here, we will look at all these factors one by one.
1. Types of AR apps
The following are the different types of AR apps:
Location-based Development Time: 400–510 hours Cost: $10,000-$11,500
This is a type of AR app that obtains data from a particular device’s accelerometer, compass, and GPS data to detect the user’s location and check whether it is a Point of Interest. Once the location is identified and found right, the AR app starts the experience. It generally does not rely on flat surfaces. The most popular example of a location-based AR app is Pokemon GO. This app engaged users to catch Pokemons appearing in different locations around the city. The cost of location-based AR apps is a bit higher as these apps require the support and integration of GPS, compass, and other sensors.
Marker-based Development Time: 80–200 hours Costs: $2000-$3000
A marker-based AR app, as the name suggests, requires the user to scan a marker to trigger pre-programmed AR content or offer the solution. These apps work by scanning the marker-usually a 2D printed image. The system recognizes it and starts the experience. Marker-based AR apps are also called recognition- or image-based AR apps and are more suitable for a basic customer experience that would work efficiently upon scanning a marker. Marker-based apps are easy to build and take around 1-3 months for development. The cost of basic marker-based AR apps involving 2D images as markers ranges between US$1,000 to US$2,000. However, if the app includes advanced features such as object tracking or extended tracking, then the prices go higher.
Marker-Based AR with Animation Development Time: 110–250 hours Costs: $2600-$3500
This type of AR app is the same as the marker-based app with only the cost difference that comes with the added animation. These apps also augment virtual objects onto the physical environment through a camera and decoded marker ID. These apps could also have intuitive audio with images. Thus, the cost of these apps is a bit higher than the simple marker-based AR apps without the animation.
Marker-less AR Development Time: 400–510 hours Costs: $10,000-$11,500
A marker-less AR app does not require any physical trigger to start or offer user experience. It can work from anywhere and at any time by using the data from the camera and built-in sensors in the smartphone or mobile device. Hence, marker-less AR apps do not require scanning or obtaining information about the user’s physical environment beforehand to overlay the virtual content into the actual world. An AR face filter, or app such as IKEA that places furniture in your home are some examples of marker-less AR apps.
Projection-Based AR Development Time: 240–360 hours Costs: $6000-$8000
These apps extend and enhance the visual data by displaying the 3D objects and images on the chosen surfaces. Projection-based AR apps use projectors to display the 3D content to the users. Leveraging advanced projection technology, these apps simplify complex manual tasks, especially in the manufacturing sector.
Superimposition-Based AR Development Time: 280–400 hours Costs: $7000-$8500
This type of AR app replaces the entire object or a part of it with an augmented view or 3D images/visuals. Superimposition-based AR apps have multiple use cases and are majorly leveraged in the hospitality sector.
Outlining-Based AR Development Time: 168–250 hours Costs: $2600-$3500
Outlining-based AR apps are primarily helpful in the automobile and real estate sectors. These apps recognize the boundaries of the road and create outlines for distance clarity and understanding. Additionally, they help with showcasing buildings or supporting pillars using AR technology. Read our case study to know how we have used AR/VR in PropTech.
SLAM AR Development Time: 400–450 hours Costs: $10000-$12000
Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) is used to describe the physical environment through feature points. It lies at the core of AR apps. It enables users to recognize 3D objects, instantly track, scene recognition, and overlay virtual interactive augmentations. SLAM allows users to locate the device and create a map of the physical environment considering the user’s location.
Note: The development time and costs are rough or approximate numbers.
2. AR content
The cost to develop an AR app also depends on the type of content businesses are offering their users to experience.
Some types of AR content are:
This type allows you to display 2D videos for the users with the relevant information.
This is the most common use of AR. It involves placing 3D models into the real world. This is often used while planning product launches, during important announcements, etc. A 3D artist takes around 1-3 weeks to create a 3D model, costing between $1,000- $3,000.
Through 3D animation, placing animated objects becomes possible. Businesses could even display the entire story using animation through AR apps. It is an advanced and complex solution that has been driving the costs of AR technology.
This type of content allows businesses to offer the 360-video experience to their users.
App complexity is also an important determinant of the cost to develop an AR app. Following are the costs of different AR apps based on their complexity levels:
A lot of factors impact the app’s complexity and hence, the cost to develop AR app.
If the app has a bulky 3D models library, then the app will require a custom content management system that will demand additional money, raising the development costs.
Additional features such as payment gateways, sound effects, or chats add both to the project timeline and development costs.
The number of integrations also impacts the cost to develop AR app. A business, for example, might need some third-party integrations if it wants to add interactive experiences such as voice or gesture recognition.
Furthermore, if the AR content needs to be personalized in the AR app, and thus, features such as individual greetings with names or playing user’s favorite tracks as background music, etc., have to be added, the cost to develop AR app will automatically go up.
Therefore, the more layers that go into creating the right visuals/image, or the more features or integrations that would be added to the AR app, the greater the development costs and time.
Further, the relevancy period or the longevity of the project also determines the cost to develop AR app. For example, it takes more time, effort, and cost to build and maintain an AR gaming app than to build an app that needs to display visuals or animations once or twice.
Thus, based on the complexity of features and integrations, AR apps are divided into the following categories:
Simple AR Application
$10,000 to $50,000
Medium-sized AR Applications
$50,000 to $200,000
Complex AR Applications
$250,000 to $800,000
4. Development region
The cost to develop AR app varies with different regions. Some regions are costlier than others for augmented reality app development cost.
Let’s have a look at the various cost brackets/hourly rates to develop AR apps in different regions:
5. Software licences
The choice of AR tech stack also influences the cost to develop AR app. AR software development kits or SDKs provide packages of software tools and libraries. The most suitable SDK is chosen as per the platform and project features, including its requirements to recognize and track.
Some of the SDKs are free of cost while others come with a fee.
Here are some of the most widely used AR app SDKs:
Android, iOS, UWP, Unity Editor
Android, iOS, Smart Glasses
> 2490 €/year
Android, iOS, Windows for tablets, smart glasses
Android 7.0+ and, iOS 11+
Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS
Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, Mac OS and Smart Glasses
The cost to develop AR app is not a very straightforward figure but is a collective cost that depends on multiple factors.
It majorly depends on the project requirements, timeline, and budget. A business thus needs to decide the vital pointers of its projects in advance to come to the rough costs of the development process.
Since AR technology is still in its nascent stage, it is better if a business outsources the development of an AR app for resource optimization and best results.