How much does an augmented reality app cost, anyway?

By February 6, 2021February 9th, 2022Blog, Featured

How much does an augmented reality app cost?

“How much does an augmented reality app cost?” If you’ve never asked the question before, you should try it. Chances are you’ll get an answer something like this:

“Augmented reality is still a relatively new technology, which means that the cost of developing an augmented reality app can be expensive. As time goes on and things become more standardised, the cost will drop. “

We know – because the first time we asked the question, that was the answer we received. And there were plenty more just like it, that offered a polite, apologetic response with little to go on.

Now, in fairness, it’s difficult to give an exact price for an augmented reality app, as it depends on a number of factors.

But, there’s got to be an industry standard, right?
Or a ballpark figure?
No? What about a rough starting point? Or Anything?
Apparently not.

With that, we set ourselves the challenge of digging deep, researching far and wide, and then making a few mysterious phone calls to find the answers.

Here’s the short answer. A lot.

It’s not really a surprise though. A lot of time and money has to go into learning new technologies which the development teams have to try to recover.
The surprising answer is that the most variation in price comes down to who is building the App. That piqued our interest. So, we took a deep dive, to see what we could find.

Five different pricing models, from the five types of developer

Before you read any further, just be aware that this is an in-the-ballpark price guide, arrives at from talking to a handful of people from a handful of places, it may not reflect the local businesses where you live, and if you’re reading this at a much later date things will have changed.

1 The Big End of Town

The big end of here is where corporate lives – where a whole team comes on board to develop your App – marketing director, artistic creatives, developers, the works.

Unless you’re a big brand, this probably isn’t for you. One place told us it would be millions, without even cracking a smile. It’s a different world.

  • App Development: $500K+
  • Annual Cost: $150K-$300K
  • Advantages: Hi-Calibre, Multi-disciplinary team at your disposal
  • Disadvantages: Highest Cost & Longest development time

2 AR Specialist Team

We’re talking about a team of people, who work in augmented reality all day long. You can think of this as an IT team, with a few extra people for marketing and design.

Now, we believe that this is the best solution from a technical standpoint, you just don’t find better coders in the field than people who do it all day long. There’s possibly less focus on marketing, and you might be working through the concept with one or two people, but that’s a good thing if you have to pay the bills.

  • App Development: $150K – $400
  • Annual Cost: $20K – $100K
  • Advantages: Best coders, stability
  • Disadvantages: Less focus on customer outcomes

3 Marketing Teams with bolt on AR

Think of this as a team that works in marketing all day, who see the opportunity with augmented reality and have teamed up with an offshore development team.

Now we think this gives you a very strong focus on customer experience, it’s a marketing team, who know customers well.

But there’s a risk that comes with add-on developers if they go missing in action or move on.

  • App development: $400K – $500K
  • Annual Cost: $75K – $250K
  • Advantages: Similar approach to big end, with less cost
  • Disadvantages: Development team is big unknown

4 The “local guy who does a bit of AR work”

OK this is a lot more pleasing for the back pocket, I’m sure you know the sort of person I’m talking about, it’s probably the same person that built your first website – someone local, who seems to know there stuff.

Now at this stage augmented reality is new, and this special guy is as rare as hen’s teeth. In fact, we only found two, so our pricing guide is less reliable here.

The advantages here are that the cost is much lower and that being local usually means availability for support – that’s a big one with new technology. That said, it’s generally a one-man band, so you’re not getting any marketing direction, and you run the usual risk, with a one-person operation – if they go offline for say, holidays, there might not be anyone to help.

  • App development: $60K – 100
  • Annual Cost: $10K – $30K
  • Advantages: Cost is lo
  • Disadvantages: Hard to find, high risk going forward

5 Swigr

This is the gold standard if you’re in the beverage industry. Its a best-in-class experience, with your content, from your products. And because its on a platform, it’s cheap as chips.

  • Setup: Nil
  • Annual Cost: Less than $2K
  • Advantages: Customer-focused, quick to setup, no special skills, to operate affordable
  • Disadvantages: Platform-based means it won’t suit everyone’s needs

Is there a downside?

Yep, there’s two.

  1. If you’re not in the beverage industry, this isn’t available for you.
  2. If you want a fully customised solution, or hope to adapt what’s there, you’re out of luck.

That’s the trade-off for delivering a great product 90% cheaper than the market.

Take a closer look at Swigr

Yes, Swigr is the gold standard for brands in the beverage industry, delivering a top line augmented reality solution without the big outlay.

It’s a great for the industry; the next step is to see if it’s a great fit for YOUR brand.

Check out the Demo-on-Demand, a jargon-free walkthrough of the concept – just the important stuff – and it’s all covered in six minutes. Its free and available now. And signing up is only required if you move onto the more advanced “Deep Dive” demos

Before making your decision about which approach might work best for your goals, consider what matters most to you so that you can find one that fits all your needs at an appropriate price point.


About Immertia

Immertia is a leader in end-to-end augmented reality packaging – extending the consumer experience and enabling brands to connect from every label.