In the final quarter of 2018, a report by Statistica indicated that both Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store each had over 2 million apps available for download. With a plethora of mobile applications on offer, one could suppose there is an app for just about everything, but it would seem that rapidly advancing technology is creating new opportunities in the mobile app market for individuals and businesses. So, what are some of the key mobile app trends predicted for the year ahead and what is driving these changes?
Personal Health and Wellbeing Apps
The number of Health Apps available is increasing at a tremendous rate, a reflection of the growing trend towards health and wellbeing both at home and in the workplace. From physical fitness to nutrition, sleep to mental state, lifestyle applications that help you to measure, manage and optimise your physical and mental wellbeing are set to continue to develop. Moreover, with technological advances in artificial intelligence discussed later, the experience is likely to become both more immersive and connected with other lifestyle applications that will help a user to paint a wider a picture of their life at any moment in time. After an initial hype a few years ago, wearable tech, in particular, is set once again to increase in popularity as early glitches in the technology have been ironed out to improve accuracy, deeming items such as fitness trackers and smartwatches once again popular accompaniments to health regimes.
Text-based social media apps are highly likely to continue to decline in popularity as under 25’s continue to embrace more visual ways of sharing through pictures and video with apps such as Instagram and Snapchat. The need for regulation across social media was a significant talking point last year with huge revelations that platforms like Facebook and Twitter were being used to spread false and misleading information. Furthermore, little was done to address the issue of cyberbullying that was so prevalent in the news. The negative social impact of these text-based platforms cannot be disputed, and with such controversies, the likelihood of tighter controls over of such platforms is very much possible, especially in the approach to the 2020 US presidential elections.
The trend towards video sharing amongst under 25’s is not just constricted to the realms of social media. The disturbance to the cable TV business model caused by Netflix’s disruptive innovation appears to have paved the way for other channels to launch apps for online streaming and watching TV on the go. The prediction for 2019 is that there will be a surge of new online streaming apps available to download.
Business and Industry
Real Estate is said to be the next big industry that will benefit from mobile app technology, specifically virtual reality (VR) based apps. The end of 2018 saw a surge in investment into technology for the real estate market and this looks set to continue into 2019. From a customer perspective, this will take the traditional process of home viewing, open house events or simple online 2D viewing into a much higher-tech sphere. Potential buyers will soon be able to immerse themselves in the rooms of a house without actually being there, simply by accessing an app. This development is not just limited to the residential home market but also commercial property viewing, and it is widely believed across the industry that businesses that do not embrace similar b2b app development projects will be left behind.
The mobile app development industry itself is expected to be transformed in the year ahead by developments in artificial intelligence (AI) which will result in app advances that meet consumer demand for up-to-date content that can be accessed in real time. Face detection, voice recognition, location identification and AI chatbots are just a few of the developments set to enhance security and self-learning to benefit both consumers and businesses alike. Accessing your online banking, for example, could soon be done through facial recognition and customer service will largely be executed by machines.
Consumers continue to seek enhanced convenience, functionality and user experience in every aspect of their lives, and it seems there are several big developments and changes in the pipeline this year to satisfy these needs. It also seems evident that businesses need to embrace the development of bespoke apps as part of a customer-centric approach to meet this demand that could help them gain real sustainable competitive advantage.