We’re facing many unforeseen changes in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. Many businesses now have to struggle to adapt to these new customer behaviors. To stay competitive, industries must move fast, explore new opportunities, and leverage the newest trends in technology. And this applies to the relatively young and adaptable mobile apps market as well.
Smartphones and tablets are undoubtedly our to-go devices, capturing 3 hrs 50 minutes of our attention per day in 2020. The average time spent daily on a mobile device has been growing steadily for years and this trend is expected to continue in the future. Obviously, most of this time is spent using mobile apps. No wonder mobile apps were considered essential to succeed with customers far before 2020 ever began.
While the coronavirus has led mobile apps from some categories to stagnation, other apps, on the contrary, are experiencing phenomenal growth. For example, in the first half of March 2020, Instacart saw its app downloads grow by over 200% from February to mid-March due to consumers’ apprehension about visiting grocery stores during the coronavirus outbreak. Other popular grocery delivery apps seem to be doing fine as well.
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At the same time, innovations and new mobile app trends are emerging, allowing the latter to push the envelope while the former try to beat the odds in the annual fight for a place among the top mobile app trends.
What, then, are the most noticeable current trends in mobile app development that publishers should bear in mind while adjusting to the ‘new reality’?
Top mobile app development trends most likely to dominate 2021
The introduction of 5G technology will certainly have a great impact on the trends in mobile app development in general. The number of 5G connections worldwide is projected to grow to 1.1 billion by 2025. It is said that 5G is going to change the way apps are used and created.
The speed of the new networking standard is a giant leap forward. According to an analysis conducted by Open Signal between July 1 and September 28 of this year, 5G users often experience download speeds that are several times faster than 4G.
5G is the natural evolution of previous generations – 3G and 4G. It will not only improve internet connection speed on mobile phones but will also increase the functionality of mobile apps.
The incredible ability of 5G to allow up to 1 million devices to connect per square kilometer may result in the realization of the idea of everything being connected, such as cell phones, cars, refrigerators, washing machines, and security cameras, among other electronics.
App clips is Apple’s 2020 feature that became a star among the latest mobile app development trends. Its aim is to level-up the convenience of mobile apps by harnessing the power of the full Apple software and hardware ecosystem. The key idea of app clips is to allow the users to preview and use an app without the need to download or install it on the device.
All clips are integrated within the whole Apple ecosystem, including Apple Pay. You can read more about app clip use cases in our article about this feature.
For sure, many developers and brands around the world will forge a multitude of ways to leverage this new feature for their own benefit. The strong advantage of App Clips over instant apps and progressive Web apps may well become a factor.
The number of users turning to apps instead of websites designed for e-commerce or restaurant and grocery store delivery is increasing. This fact combined with post-pandemic habits of contactless purchases, mobile payments, and mobile wallets being strongly in use, will definitely influence the development of the App clips feature. With no risk, we can nominate this feature as one of the biggest mobile app trends of 2021.
In 2022 the IoT market in the US is predicted to exceed 500 billion dollars in value and the lion’s share of this will be the consumer electronics segment, with a size of 180 billion dollars. The Internet of things is taking the world by storm. This very advanced technology is at the same time one of the closest to the people, impacting how they interact or even how they live in their homes.
Providing a very convenient and relatively simple environment for users to engage with appliances and gadgets in real-time, IoT will expand as a tech-driven network of smart devices and objects. The most prominent field of IoT’s impact will definitely be smart home automation. More and more smartphone users are controlling their home electronic devices with apps. Forecasts suggest that by 2030 around 50 billion of these IoT devices will be in use around the world, creating a massive web of interconnected devices spanning everything from smartphones to kitchen appliances.
In addition, IoT also has the potential of data sharing within the network. All this will (and definitely should) draw the attention of the app industry and make IoT one of the most preferred developers’ choice of mobile apps trends.
Voice recognition and communication is already disrupting industries beyond technology and changing the face of retail, customer service and telemarketing. Gartner predicts that 30% of web browsing will be done through voice by 2030. VUI (Voice User Interface) uses the technology of voice recognition to facilitate a connection between the user and device or a particular technology, not only understanding his current needs but also enabling it to predict the future.
The undoubted market potential of Voice search is not going to be overlooked by mobile app providers, as the popularity of VUI is growing even as we speak. TechCrunch reports that 66,4 million Americans own a smart speaker. Businesses should pay attention to this mobile app development trend while considering their development in 2021.
Android Instant apps were introduced in 2016 by Google as a new configuration of software that is outright convenient from the perspective of the user and the most demanding from the developer’s perspective. So they are not new or uncommon in Android app development but are still becoming popular. They permit users to play a mobile game or try the app without the necessity of installing it on the device. Instant apps are compatible across all Android gadgets, require significantly less storage space, and usually have a friendly user experience and UI design.
Those advantages combined with the fact that instant apps are particularly useful for the mobile gaming and e-commerce industry will for sure secure this technology a safe place among mobile app trends of 2021.
The necessity of the lockdown in 2020 shifted the way people shop and engage in leisure activities. The gaming industry is benefitting from this situation, and the mobile games segment in particular. In total, mobile games will generate revenues of $77.2 billion in 2020, growing by +13.3% year on year.
Retreating to in-home entertainment as forced by the lockdown is resulting in a growth in time spent on mobile devices and the increasing popularity of mobile games and apps that might help make this time productive or even beneficial. TV streaming apps like Netflix, apps for home workouts and relaxation, mobile games with augmented reality like Pokemon Go or Witcher Monster Slayer – these types of mobile products will be chosen by users as an alternative to engaging in activities beyond our reach during the times of social distancing. The relatively low entry barrier of owning a mobile device will cause a great boost to the mobile entertainment segment.
Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning
Last but not least. AI was listed among the top mobile app trends in 2020 as well. And we’ll probably read about it for a few more consecutive years. Research on AI has not stopped even in the face of the global epidemic. In fact, this technology has changed the world in a way unseen before and 2021 will bring even more disruptive and amazing changes.
It is no wonder that we can expect the great influence of artificial intelligence on mobile app development. Thanks to cloud computing, which has brought a great amount of the strength needed for creating AI models, smart devices can benefit from this technology without draining their processors.
Modern search engines, virtual assistant solutions, marketplace, business automation, and identifying user preferences – all these advancements are now vastly incorporated into the smartphone economy. In fact, the incorporation of AI and ML solutions into mobile is a factor that helped and will help the mobile segment perform as well as it has.
Every year comes with innovations and trends that indicate changes. The state of knowledge is constantly changing and there’s no other way forward than to adapt with it. An attempt to build a successful mobile app with a technology considered innovative 5 years ago wouldn’t be likely to guarantee even getting it to the market. It’s crucial, but also simply reasonable, to consider the emerging or at least the latest trends that dominate the mobile apps industry.
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