Are you looking for the top mobile app trends for 2021? As we’re nearly a quarter of the way through the year, we can already see some trends emerging. In this article we’re unpacking the trends that have already emerged and the ones we expect to see.
Take a look at the top mobile app trends to keep an eye on in 2021.
IoT is everywhere now. From watches that tell you everything from your heart rate to your VO2 max, and thermostats that tell you the temperature remotely, IoT makes life so much easier.
Smart home technology, fitness wearables and even smart contact lenses are becoming part of the growing internet of things, and apps are evolving to participate in the conversation. A key mobile app trend for 2021 and beyond is apps that integrate with IoT.
In 2021 we’re seeing the rise of micro apps. That is, apps that are designed by one specific company for one specific purpose. For example, a gym might want a branded app that allows people to book directly. A micro app is the small, mobile application that more and more businesses are opting for.
The rise of 5G isn’t unique to 2021, however in 2021 we will see roughly 3.5 times more 5G connections than in 2020. 5G will be much more widespread than 4G, and will spread much more quickly. This will increase the productivity and functionality of apps and ensure that developers can add to apps without having to worry about connectivity and performance issues. The result? Apps that can do more, with less down time.
Apps will start to embrace Beacon technology in 2021, meaning that customers can connect to direct locations. For example, when in a retail store, a customer will be able to access a beacon via the app they have on their phone. When a user passes a beacon it will automatically connect and let them know any relevant information. Beacon technology will allow customers to be more connected to their favorite brands, and will give companies the ability to track and monitor their customers’ spending behaviors.
While the majority of online shopping still occurs in browsers, mobile apps are catching up when it comes to delivering a streamlined experience. With the likes of Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal supporting easy mobile app purchasing, ecommerce apps are going from strength to strength.
The main reason for this is that mobile apps can offer a better online experience vs in browser shopping on mobile. Studies show that 40% of users will go to a competitor if they have a bad mobile experience, but also that 84% have experienced difficulty completing a mobile transaction. Apps minimize this risk, and ensure that customers are guided through the transaction process.
With wallet integrations, mobile apps completely trump traditional online shopping. Mobile wallets that feature on your phone are so easy for consumers to use, and only require touch ID, a double click confirmation or face ID to pay for goods online via an app. With $6.1 billion worth of transactions happening via mobile wallets in 2019, and an expected $13.98 billion occurring by 2022, mobile wallet integration will be a key feature of apps in 2021.
Have you seen the latest foldable phones? If not, where have you been? 2021 is supposedly the year of foldable phones, with plenty on the market from vendors like Google, Samsung, OPPO + many more. A big trend for 2021 will be developing apps that work on foldable devices.
AI and machine learning have been buzzwords for a while, but now they are becoming staples in app development. AI is shifting what apps can do, with mobile apps like Replika, Google and Cortana leading the way. Google has also recently delivered their Core ML 3, which offers a machine learning framework to help iOS developers embed AI into their apps.
It’s about to get very futuristic in 2021. We’re predicting that nearer the end of 2021, there will be a rise in Augmented Reality apps that go beyond gaming. Reports suggest that “Google is about to introduce a new AR feature for Google Maps, which would provide people with directions from their camera phones in realtime”. Imagine!
Cloud apps are no new thing, but in 2021 it seems like their adoption will be widespread. The benefits of streamlined operations, better hosting options, and more storage, it’s a no brainer that more businesses will be building apps using the cloud.
If you’ve used WhatsApp web you’ll know how amazing a progressive web app can be. A PWA works in the exact same way as a mobile app, without using storage space on your phone. The customer gets a mobile app experience in their browser, making it super easy for them to access the businesses offering. The best part of PWA’s is that they can operate on low-bandwidth networks, making them ideal for developing countries and rural markets.
This trend isn’t up and running yet, but there is talk that blockchain might make an appearance in mobile app technology in 2021. The idea of a decentralised mobile app where an app doesn’t have an owner, is something that blockchain technology could feasibly make happen. By utilising blockchain, developers may be able to build more secure and immutable mobile apps that don’t require downtime.
In 2020, there was a rise in education app funding and therefore in 2021 we’re likely to see many more learning apps appearing in 2021. COVID-19 meant that many students were learning remotely, and this is where elearning apps really came into their own. Kahoot, Duolingo, and Udemy – three of the top learning apps – received $28 million, $35 million, and $100 million in 2020 alone.
In 2020, social apps dominated. In Q3 TikTok, Facebook and Zoom were the most downloaded apps overall, which tells you where the market share is at the moment. TikTok and Zoom in particular saw huge growth in 2020 as people looked for ways to connect with others. In 2021, it’s likely that these entertainment/communication apps will thrive as many countries remain in lockdowns
Despite all of these exciting mobile app opportunities showing up in 2021, there is evidence that many businesses are still behind when it comes to innovating. Despite this fact, the strongest area of innovation is mobile technology (63%) proving that staying on top of mobile app trends is a high priority for businesses.
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