The Costs and Considerations for Making a Fitness App by@itrex

The Costs and Considerations for Making a Fitness App

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An average fitness app would cost you from $10,000 to $150,000 at least. Fitness app development costs depend on the type of the application, its features, design complexity, integration with other components, deployment platform, the composition of the development team and their location. At-home fitness regime is the main fitness trend of 2022, according to GoodFirms. The global fitness market was valued at [approximately $5,500 million in 2021]. Global fitness app market is expected to catapult to over $25,450 million by 2027.

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Article Summary

  • An average fitness app would cost you from $10,000 to $150,000 at least. This estimate doesn’t take into account solutions with complex custom animation and supplementary technologies, such as AI and computer vision.

  • Fitness app development costs depend on the type of the application, its features, design complexity, integration with other components, deployment platform, the composition of the development team and their location, and the technical support you are planning to provide to your customers.

  • To reduce fitness app development costs, don’t skip the discovery phase, follow an incremental approach to development, automate testing as much as possible, and put your solution on the market as fast as you can to start collecting customer feedback and acting on it.

At-home fitness regime is the main fitness trend of 2022, according to GoodFirms. The organization conducted a survey to discover that 56% of the respondents work out at home and 40% of fitness clubs are tapping into hybrid workout models.

The fitness app market size is growing fast as an increasing number of sports industry leaders turn to fitness app development companies to enter the competition with their products. The global fitness market was valued at approximately $5,500 million in 2021 and it’s expected to catapult to over $25,450 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 29.46%.

Statista

Statista

We can attribute this rapid growth to two factors:

  • COVID-19. Since the pandemic, people have started to take their health seriously. They are keener on exercising and building immunity.

  • The increased popularity of wearables. Nowadays, there is a large variety of wearable devices on the market. They are easy to use and provide rather accurate readings on vital signs and other parameters.

Now you are probably convinced that there is a demand. But how profitable are such fitness solutions? If the app has all the necessary functionality arranged in a convenient way, and it looks appealing, it will be very profitable. Look how some of the more popular fitness apps are performing.

Leading fitness apps worldwide in 2022, by revenue (in US dollars)

Leading fitness apps worldwide in 2022, by revenue (in US dollars)

If you are interested in joining the fitness tech leaders above, you will need a mobile application. This article will help you estimate how much it costs to make a fitness app.

How much does it cost to create a fitness app? This depends on the following factors

There are seven main factors that influence fitness app development costs:

  1. Application type
  2. Feature
  3. Integration with external components
  4. Design complexity
  5. Platform and tech stack
  6. Development team composition
  7. Technical support and updates

Application type

Workout apps

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This type of fitness application enables users to select their own exercise routine. Normally, workout regimens presented on the app are not customized but they offer useful information on each exercise, like which muscle group is activated and how many calories are burned. This helps users make informed decisions and select suitable exercises to include in their routines.

Some workout apps act like a fitness coach and present personalized workouts based on user parameters and desired results. One such example is MyCoach app which has a million downloads across 25 countries.

Such fitness apps cost $60,000 – $90,000.

Nutrition and diet apps

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A balanced diet is an essential part of staying fit. Nutrition software enables users to keep track of the food they consume throughout the day, count calories, and log microelements. One example is MyPlate Calorie Counter. Such applications can also propose a meal plan based on the user’s parameters and objectives (e.g., losing weight, building muscle, etc.).

They can adapt to the person’s current preferences—vegan, vegetarian, keto, intermittent fasting, etc.

Another type of diet app focuses on social networking, enabling users to connect with professional dietitians and share their recipes and success stories. One example is the Mealshare app developed by Estonia-based Perpetio.

Fitness diet app costs $20,000 – $80,000

Activity tracking apps

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These fitness solutions track your physical activities, such as the number of steps per day or running and cycling distance and speed. One example is Adidas Running by Runtastic. Activity monitoring applications often connect to wearable devices that can measure heart rate, blood pressure, and other health parameters.

Costs required to develop such fitness app: $40,000 – $125,000.

Meditation and yoga apps

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This set of apps contains yoga workouts, tutorials on how to get into different poses correctly, and offers guided meditation practices, etc. One example is the widely-used Daily Yoga app that contains over 50 workout plans and allows users to connect to a yoga community, share their experiences, and gain inspiration.

For meditation and mindfulness, users can try Headspace, which helps you relax and clear your head before going to sleep. This app has over 70 million downloads.

Costs of developing such fitness app: $10,000 – $70,000

Companion app

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Some apps are developed specifically for one fitness device vendor. They connect with the equipment and enhance its functionality. For instance, Perpetio built a fitness app that connects to treadmills of a specific brand. This solution not only tracks users’ activities on the treadmill but also allows them to communicate, share their performance metrics, and participate in different challenges.

The costs of this app type vary from $40,000 to $150,000.

Set of features

How much your fitness app costs largely depend on its functionality. The more features you want to incorporate, the more time and money you will need to invest, but also the more valuable your app will become. Some basic features will take a few hours to implement, such as sharing on social media, while others can take days, like user registration. If a feature takes specialized skills to implement, it will affect the price even more.

Here is a list of core functionalities that are a must in almost every fitness software solution:

  • Registration and login. You might want to give users the option to signup using Google or any other account. In addition to regular user information, such as name and age, you will need to include fitness-specific fields, like weight and height. Also, ask for an email and a phone number to give several verification options. If users protect their accounts with a password, make the password recovery option readily available. Registration and login features will cost you around $4,000.

  • Notifications and reminders. This can include a notification on when to start exercising or when to switch to another exercise. If your app is connected to a smartwatch, you might redirect the notifications there. Users will find it more convenient to start a new set of reps when they feel a vibration on their wrist instead of looking at the phone screen.  Setting up notifications and reminders will cost you around $1,200.

  • Settings. This feature allows users to customize their app’s appearance and functionality. So, the app needs to have default settings as well as giving an opportunity for users to tweak them to add a personal touch. Building the settings feature for your fitness app will cost you around $350.

  • Workout catalog with exercise videos that can be streamed live or available on demand. For this feature, you will pay around $2,000.

If you study your direct competitors, you will discover other useful features that you can incorporate into your solution. You could also identify some functionality that your rivals’ apps are missing and implement it to gain a competitive advantage.

You can consider the following advanced features for inspiration:

  • Integrating with wearable devices. You might connect your app to a smartwatch or other sensors that can read and stream user data. This feature will cost you from $3,000 to $6,000.
  • Incorporating innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality. This will significantly increase your fitness app development costs. For instance, if you want to add a recommendations system trained on user behavior, this alone will cost you around $20,000 and it will take many hours to label the training dataset and train the model.
  • Gamifying the app. Gamification means your app can assign scores, measure progress levels, assign rewards, etc., anything that makes exercising feel like a game or a competition. Gamifying your solution can cost you up to $12,000.
  • Integrating with social media. If your clients are avid social media users, they will love this feature as it will enable them to share their achievements, personal records, motivational quotes, and other relevant aspects of their workout with their network. You can spend $500 – $6,000 on social media integration, depending on the integration path and the number of channels.
  • Calendars to let users schedule their workouts and maybe even share their workout calendars with friends so that others can join in. This will cost you around $3,000.
  • Online chatting and video streaming functionality to let users exercise together. For this option, you can expect to pay $15,000.
  • Educational material, such as tips from professional trainers, blogs with relevant posts, etc. Content integration will cost you from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on content type.
  • Maps and geolocation, which is an important feature for activity tracking apps. It can present the user’s route on a map and even present weather forecasts and air quality details. This functionality costs around $5,000.
  • Payment options. Maybe integrate an existing secure and reliable payment gateway, such as PayPal. Giving several options will be beneficial so that users don’t abandon your app because they can’t use your payment method. For payment options, expect to pay $2,000 – $3,000.

Integration with external components

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While you are building your product, you might opt for integrating third-party libraries, and interacting with payment gateways and web services. For instance, if you want to collect customer feedback, there is an existing code that will do the trick. This will decrease your fitness app’s development costs and reduce the time to market.

But this practice might open security vulnerabilities and you will incur subscription fees along the way.

You might also need to integrate your product with external devices, such as wearable sensors, or a camera, with existing platforms, like social media. For one of these integrations, you can pay from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on whether the device/protocol are standard or custom.

Design complexity

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Your solution’s user interface’s complexity and uniqueness directly affect how much it costs to build this fitness app. If you simply want to make minor adjustments to an existing template, then your designer can get the work done in approximately 30 hours.

But if you are looking to build something creative, intuitive, and user-friendly that can set your brand apart from the competition, then user interface design will be a large segment of the development process and can consume well over 300 hours.

Your design complexity increases with the following:

  • Complex animation
  • Interactivity
  • Has to work on tablets, smartwatches, etc.
  • Adding voice assistant
  • Incorporating augmented reality

The table below shows how changes in parameters increase design expenses.


Basic design $15,000 or less*

Intermediate complexity $40,000

Complex design Over $60,000

User Roles

1

2

More than 2

Unique screens

10 or less

30-50

Over 70

Android or iOS

Android or iOS

Both Android and iOS

Smartphones, TV, tablets, and other gadgets

*Prices are approximate

Note that you need both attractive design and reasonable speed. Animation that takes too long to load will be more despised than appreciated.

Platform and tech stack

If you are creating a mobile fitness app, there are two popular platforms — Android and iOS. If you choose to use native code to build two separate apps, this will increase your average fitness app costs, since there will be two code bases. But there are some steps that you will do only once. For instance, there will be one unified design and look-and-feel for your application on both platforms.

For instance, there will be one unified design and look-and-feel for your application on both platforms.

Unless your app is specific to one of the platforms, it’s a good idea to opt for cross-platform app development services that use technologies such as Flutter and Xamarin. With such technology, developers will create one source code which will be compiled into a native code of different platforms. This will minimize the time and effort needed to create both apps by around 40%. But this technology might not suit complex projects. Also, some argue that native solutions provide a better user experience.

For cross-platform development with gamification and complex graphics, you can use game engines, such as Unity or Unreal Engine.

Here are average hourly rates from Upwork for cross-platform, Android, and iOS app development services for comparison:

Android developer

iOS developer

Xamarin developer (cross platform)

Average hourly rate

$25 – 85

$45 – 75

$25 – 50

Fitness app development team

To build your fitness app, you either assemble an in-house team of professionals or outsource the development to a dedicated team of professionals.

  • In-house development team allows you to maintain reliable communication with the members, but it’s a more expensive option as you are responsible for hiring, renting offices, acquiring equipment, etc. It can cost you $30,000 and consume 42 days to hire one app developer. And there is always the risk that people you end up hiring lack the essential skills to complete the project.
  • Outsourcing the development process is an alternative where you only pay for the work accomplished. No need to bother with rentals, interviews, last-minute replacements, and other administrative stuff. This model decreases the investment costs needed to build a fitness app.

You can also combine both approaches by using an in-house team and outsourcing particular expertise that you can’t fill internally. For instance, you can use CTO as a service model.

An app development team must include at least one UI/UX designer, QA engineer, project manager, and of course, programmers who can code in a native or a cross-platform language. You can learn more about software development team structures and the role of every member on our blog.


Average hourly rate (Upwork)

The degree of commitment to the project

UI/UX designer

$30 – 70

Full time at early stages, then in a supporting role for a few hours per week

QA engineer

$30-70

Full time

Android/iOS developer

$35 – 120

Full time

Backend developer

$35-120

Full time

Product owner

$60-150

5-10 hours/week

Project manager

$60-120

0.5 FTE

Talent costs vary greatly based on their geographical location. Some countries have higher salary expectations than others. It can cost you almost three times as much to hire a US-based developer compared to a professional located in India. But if you recruit someone from a different country, communication issues might arise. You will need to make sure you are on the same page when it comes to working standards and ethics. Below is an example of how developers’ hourly rates vary from one country to another.


US

Western Europe

Central Europe

India

Developer’s hourly rates

$75 – 150

$70 – 110

$30 – 75

$15 – 50

Technical support and updates

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The expenditure doesn’t stop the moment you launch the fitness app. Think about how you will monitor performance, implement updates, and deliver customer support. As the app’s audience grows, you will need to ensure the performance doesn’t degrade.  You might also want to include new features to keep surprising and engaging your clients.

But these new functionalities can create bugs and open security vulnerabilities, so you have to constantly test your solution.

If you relied on an in-house development team, then technical support will not be an issue. If you hired an external tech partner, then ideally, they should take over support and updates. If this is not possible, ask for detailed technical documentation that will support another party in taking over this duty. It is advisable to dedicate approximately 15-20% of your fitness app’s development costs to maintenance.

How much does a fitness app cost? Numbers from real-life projects

Activity tracking fitness app

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An established fitness mobile app vendor turned to ITRex for Android application development services. The company wanted to build an Android alternative to its iOS activity tracking solution. Our team was only involved in the development phase. We built an app that allows users to track their activity, set goals, monitor progress, and share their achievements with community members.

Below are the most prominent features of the app:

  • GPS tracking to monitor user location

  • Search function to find and join relevant communities

  • An analytical component that can process user location and activity data

  • Strava API for fetching user activities

Project duration: 2.5 – 3 months

Development costs: $20,000 – $25,000

Team composition: one developer

App development phases: development

Android tech stack:

Programming language

Kotlin

Android libraries/frameworks

Android SDK, Retrofit, RxKotlin, Google Play Services, Custom View, Fabric, Firebase, Appflyer, Glide, Koin, Branch, SDK generated by API Gateway

AWS

Amazon S3, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Secure Endpoints

Testing tools

Espresso, Mockito, JUnit

Tools

Android Studio, Zeplin, Jira, Bitbucket

Coach-in-a-pocket fitness application for smart training

A US-based startup hired ITRex to develop a comprehensive fitness app for Android and iOS platforms that would act like a real-life coach. The client expected this solution to compose personalized training plans, recommend healthy diet options, track achievements, give access to educational content, and more.

  • Recommending training programs based on user parameters, such as age and fitness level
  • Allowing users to manage and modify fitness and nutrition programs, change dates, add and delete workout plans
  • Offering training tips and videos based on the selected training program
  • Tracking progress and offering an achievement overview
  • Suggesting meal plans
  • Quizzes
  • Integration with social media to share progress
  • Composing a library of webinars and exercise videos

Project duration: 10 – 12 months

Development costs: $300,000 – $450,000

Team composition: iOS developer, Android developer, front-end developer, back-end developer, QA engineer, DevOps, business analyst, project manager.

App development phases: development

Front-end programming

Typescript, React, redux, redux-toolkit, styled-components, material-ui, CRA, react-admin

Back-end programming

PHP, Laravel

iOS app

Swift 5.0, UIKit + AutoLayout, Lottie, Alamofire, Stripe SDK

Android app

Kotlin 1.4, RxJava, Dagger, Retrofit, Stripe SDK

Databases

MySQL

Cloud storage options

AWS

Payments Gateways

Native In-app purchases from Apple and Google

A companion app for an AI-powered fitness mirror with a personal coach

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This is an example of how a fitness app can be a part of a comprehensive complex project that includes machine learning (ML), voice control, computer vision, sensors, and a physical mirror. Here, a fitness app enables users to control the mirror and to interact with other community members.

A North American startup wanted to build a mirror that people can use to exercise at home under the supervision of a virtual coach that will monitor their form, offer custom workout plans, and encourage them to perform to the best of their abilities. Here are the main components of this project:

  • A full-length physical mirror with a custom operating system, equipped with sensors to monitor the user’s form
  • IoT sensors that users can stick to their equipment and make it a part of the whole training system
  • Camera and computer vision technology for motion tracking and rep counting
  • ML model, which can learn the physical abilities of every user, offer encouragement and training tips, and recommend workouts
  • Voice control system that understands a set of spoken commands
  • A custom fitness Android/iOS app to interact with community members
  • Admin panel to enable fitness trainers to upload their content and give exercise tips

The companion app’s key features include:

  • A full-length physical mirror with a custom operating system, equipped with sensors to monitor the user’s form
  • Interaction with the mirror. Through the app, users can open and close workouts, put on music, retrieve statistics on their training progress
  • The app allows a smartphone to act as a remote keyboard
  • Sharing training results on social media
  • Exchanging messages with a human trainer

Project duration: 4.5 months

Development costs: $130,000 – $160,000

Team composition: three developers

App development phases: development

Technology used: Native iOS development, SWIFT, communication protocols: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Getting started with fitness app development

Here are six steps that you can follow to conceptualize and build a successful fitness solution. Allocating enough time to each phase will help you reduce the overall fitness app development costs.

Market research

This phase will help you understand the needs of your audience and the features that they expect such an app to offer. When thinking about your potential customers, be as specific as possible. Try to determine all relevant parameters, such as their age, goals, lifestyle, what motivates and inspires them, etc. You might discover some unexpected demands. For instance, market research can reveal that people would use your app on their phones during the day but switch to a TV in the evening. You will also see what your competitors supply and where they are lacking.

Market research should help you answer the following questions:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What are their pain points?
  • How can you help?
  • What your competitors are doing in this regard?

One tip is to study user reviews on App Store and Google Play, and compare competitors’ prices and feature sets. Another way is to talk to as many people as possible about your vision. Individuals who show the most interest are your potential early adopters. Listen to them carefully and take notes of their expectations.

Phase duration: 20 – 40 hours

Discovery

During the product discovery stage, discuss your fitness app internally with designers and developers. Describe your general idea for the application and the information you acquired during the previous phase. Now is the time to formalize and structure your project. Together with your team, you can go through the following steps:

  • Write down and elaborate on the requirements and the features that you want to include. Find out more on this topic in our comprehensive requirements specification guide
  • Choose the tech stack that suits the purpose at hand
  • Let QA engineers review your specifications to ensure they are free of logical mistakes
  • Estimate the time and finances needed to build such as app

Even though this phase might seem tedious and time-consuming, it will cut down your fitness app building costs as you progress to the design and development stages.

Phase duration: 40 – 80 hours

Design

You can complete this phase in three steps:

  1. User interface designing. This step results in a carcass of the app, which looks like rough sketches, called wireframes.
  2. Prototyping. It brings wireframes to life by implementing the app’s look and feel and making the frames clickable to resemble the interaction with the actual app. In a prototype, screens are connected together, there are buttons and menus allowing users to test the app’s functionality and logic.
  3. User testing. In this step, a group of actual users, representative of your target audience, interact with the prototype to verify whether it’s intuitive and user-friendly. You can use the feedback to further improve your solution.

Phase duration: 80 – 160 hours

Development

During this phase, developers will build the actual app. They will connect the app to the back end and integrate it with all the other components, like payment gateways and social media platforms. While building the solution, your team can answer the following questions:

  • Which components can we reuse to cut down fitness app development costs?
  • Which components do we need to integrate? Google Fit, Apple Health, etc.
  • How to make this application secure?
  • What are the regulations on data privacy? Are we compliant?

To minimize fitness app development costs and time to market, you can start by creating a minimum viable product (MVP), which is limited to the core functionality. You can launch the MVP and monitor how users interact with it, what they dislike, and what is missing, so you can improve the product gradually. If the MVP performs well on the market, you can use its success to negotiate additional funds with investors.

Phase duration: 200 hours – as long as it takes

Quliry assurance and testing

During this phase, quality assurance engineers test the mobile application for bugs and make sure it’s compliant with requirement specifications and with the country’s regulations. You can also focus on reviewing and refactoring the code to increase speed and stability.

Phase duration: 50 hours – as long as it takes

Roll out

When the fitness solution is ready, you are likely to publish it on the App Store and/or Google Play and let users download it from there. In the meantime, don’t sit idle. Work on spreading the word about your application. Users can’t download it if they don’t know it exists. Here are a few tactics that can help you promote your product:

  • Make a social media announcement
  • Advertise the app on relevant websites. You can author a promotional blog post or a paragraph on a news aggregator website.
  • Benefit from paid advertisement on YouTube, Google, etc.
  • Reach out to fitness influencers and ask them to review or just mention your app on their platform

And your work doesn’t stop here. You can still monitor user feedback and app usage stats and make improvements so that your app remains relevant and exciting.

This phase is a continuous process.

How to speed up the fitness app development process: tips from ITRex

  1. Don’t skip the discovery phase. During this stage, you can uncover some aspects that could hinder development in the future. For example, you can realize that you need additional research or that budget estimates are inadequate. It also helps you prepare for potential risks.
  2. Use an incremental approach to development. Start with MVP and add features gradually.
  3. Dedicate time to building solution architecture. Take non-functional requirements into account. A solid architecture will make your app more reliable and resilient. For example, a well-thought-through architecture will allow your solution to scale as your user base grows.
  4. Decrease your time to market. This way you will start receiving meaningful feedback as soon as possible and could improve your product faster.
  5. Automate. This might not be feasible for small-scale solutions, but for projects with 500+ hours of development and QA, automate testing as much as possible.

Takeaways

So, how much does it cost to make a fitness app? Anywhere from $10,000 for basic functionality and modest design, to $150,000 for a comprehensive feature set. And this is just a price for an average app. If you want to incorporate custom animation and innovative technologies, such as AI, the costs will grow exponentially.

You can get a more precise estimate after reviewing all the factors presented in this article and tailoring them to your case. Don’t forget to include a buffer for costs you will incur along the way. For example, to publish your fitness app on the app store, you will need to pay fees. Google Play charges a one-time $25 fee while Apple Store will collect $99 annually. These platforms also take commissions for each app purchase.

And keep in mind that app development is a continuous expenditure. After releasing your product, you will still have to fix bugs, incorporate updates and new features, and provide customer support.

Do you want to build a fitness app that is popular and profitable? Get in touch! ITRex team will assist you with the discovery, design, and development phases. We can also perform a technical audit to improve your existing app.

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by ITRex @itrex.Emerging Tech Development & Consulting: Artificial Intelligence. Advanced Analytics. Machine Learning. Big Data. Cloud
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