In 2020, the number of unique mobile internet users reached the figure of 4.28 bln, meaning that more than 90% of the global internet population used mobile devices to access the internet. The trend of using mobile gadgets to go online is rising and can be seen in the active development of mobile networks as well as continuous innovations appearing in mobile app development solutions.
To reach more consumers and provide enhanced customer experiences, more and more businesses opt for building mobile apps empowered by the latest digital innovations. In this article, we’ll look into the top mobile app development trends that will be prominent in 2022 and explain how they can help businesses to thrive.
Internet of Things (IoT) App Integration
The Internet of Things, an interconnected network of sensors and instruments, has a limitless potential to change how households, businesses, and entire industries are managed. It’s expected that by 2025 there will be 30.9 bln IoT devices worldwide with 3.5 bln IoT devices connected via a cellular network by 2030.
Integration of IoT with mobile applications brings this technology to a whole new level. With just one mobile application, users can control entire plants or their smart homes without getting too much into detail about how the system works. IoT solutions empowered by mobile apps with simple and user-friendly interfaces can be used in diverse industries from healthcare to agriculture, to manufacture, to retail, and many other fields.
Here is how mobile applications improve IoT:
- provide one centralized platform for multiple IoT devices;
- offer simple device management, narrowing a significant quantity of settings to 1-2 buttons;
- provide advanced security with biometric app access or two-factor authentication;
- enhances personalization when each mobile app user can adjust IoT network to their preferences;
- allow controlling IoT devices anywhere and anytime.
Apps For Foldable Devices
In 2019 Samsung presented the world its Galaxy Z Fold. It became clear that foldable devices is a new trend in the mobile phone manufacturing industry. Statista predicts that foldable smartphone displays will eventually dominate the market and 75.6 mln foldable smartphone displays will be shipped in 2025.
Foldable devices provide their users with a combination of displays that can be active for various folding positions and perform different functions. Therefore, mobile phones can provide a more immersive user experience with large screens or send important notifications when the device is folded.
This foldable smartphone functionality has resulted in new approaches in mobile app development. For example, software developers have to consider how to make their apps smoothly resizable for closed, flat, and half-opened positions or add a multitasking function into the app, dividing it into several screens.
Development For Wearable Devices
Wearable devices aren’t a new invention in the industry of gadgets, however, their popularity will continue growing in 2022. According to Statista, there were 722 mln wearable devices in 2019 and its number is forecasted to reach over 1 bln by 2022.
More and more companies use wearables for their business development. They adopt the technology to improve their workforce performance and enhance and personalize their interaction with customers. The Putting Wearables to Work report by Salesforce reveals that 76% of businesses have improved their performance and 86% were planning to invest more in the technology. Whereas, a study by Ericsson states that 40% of smartwatch users prefer interacting with their wearable devices rather than using smartphones. Moreover, 43% of respondents in the same study believe that mobile phones will eventually be replaced by wearable technology.
Many software development companies watch the tendencies in the wearable device market and start providing app creation services for smartwatches, smart glasses, hand terminals, and other smart devices. This involves building well-balanced and user-friendly UI/UX with powerful and customer-centric functionalities. For example, Spotify with its wearable app frees its clients from always holding their smartphones to access their musical lists, and the contactless e-payment apple watch allows paying in stores in just one movement.
The beacon technology, small wireless transmitters powered by low-energy Bluetooth, is widely used for proximity marketing. It means that companies can transmit important information about their products to their potential customers’ devices as they approach the transmitter. The technology gained increased exposure in retail outlets, though it’s also widely used in sports arenas, concert venues, airports, conference halls, hospitals, museums, schools, and others.
With more and more consumers willing to buy anywhere and anytime the e-Commerce market is booming today. According to Statista, there were over two billion people purchasing goods and services online in 2020, and the same year e-retail sales surpassed $4.2 tln worldwide. Moreover, the pandemics triggered e-Commerce sales growth for more than 25% globally. In another survey, Statista revealed that 65% of respondents made online purchases via mobile phones.
Mobile shopping is growing in popularity among users and becoming more profitable for retailers. The most popular m-Commerce apps attract a huge number of users, e.g. in December 2020 the Amazon Shopping mobile app for iPhone comprised over 14.4 mln daily active users in the US, the Walmart app gained an audience of 6.7 mln daily active users, and OfferUp, a marketplace for C2C, accumulated more than 4.5 mln iPhone users.
All these statistics make it clear that mCommerce is the future of e-Commerce and that m-Commerce apps will become the primary channel for online shopping. Insider Intelligence predicts that by 2024 the global retail m-Commerce will amount to $4.5 tln, making 69.9% of total retail e-commerce sales.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is an omnipresent solution that makes the basis for many emerging technologies from speech recognition to processing vast amounts of data. Here is how AI can be effectively used in mobile app development:
- studying user behavior patterns – this helps businesses to learn more about their customers’ preferences, study the most common behavioral patterns; as a result, companies can enhance their brand/customer interaction, making it more personal or better plan their marketing campaigns, recommending their customers the goods and services they really need;
- conversational UI – facilitates interaction with apps through voice messages or texting, making it more exciting and human-like;
- automated reasoning – the technology can calculate the shortest route, offer best prices or exchange rates, and give many other useful hints;
- routine task automation – mobile applications upgraded with AI technology can be programmed for performing daily automated actions, for example, automate transactions on an account, compose playlists, or set up IoT devices, and many others;
- precision – AI technology in mobile apps can quickly check data for mistakes or suggest any corrections or perform any automated actions, removing a human factor and minimizing the number of possible mistakes.
Mobile Wallets and Mobile Payments
FinTech solutions continue to disrupt the services provided in brick-and-mortar institutions, shifting everything to convenient mobile applications operating online. The popularity of digital payments is quickly growing. The number of non-cash transactions performed in 2018 in Europe and North America reached $192.2 bln and $170 bln respectively and the figures are expected to triple by 2023, exceeding $490 bln.
There is a huge variety of payment methods offered by the FinTech industry from money transfers and payment services to bank transfers and virtual wallets, to the use of cryptocurrencies based on blockchain technology. Many banking and financial institutions as well as e-Commerce businesses heavily rely on mobile payments and the technology is quickly spreading to businesses from other industry domains.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality
Augmented and Virtual Realities (AR and VR) help businesses to really stand out and provide next-level experience in customer services. Here is how businesses use AR/VR to enhance their customer approaches:
- contactless shopping – some businesses like Gucci and Ikea use AR layers for customers to experiment with their products; they can try them on, e.g. new watch or makeup, or visualize the product they want to buy in any location e.g. placing Ikea furniture at home to check if it suits;
- immersive experience – when companies create VR/AR layers to better engage their customers to interact with their brand or product, e.g. Coca-Cola have come up with interactive features that customers play with using their smartphones;
- enhanced personalization – customers can communicate with the brand in their own way, e.g. L’Oreal has invented a new men’s fragrance called Only The Brave and along with the product they’ve released a VR world where users can experience how they behave in extreme conditions.
Companies are only starting to discover the potential of VR/AR technology for brand and marketing campaigns enhancement. Nevertheless, the Global Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality market is expected to grow by $125.19 bln between 2020-2024 years.
Chatbots are becoming highly popular in the world of marketing. They help businesses to better engage their customers, increasing conversions many times. They provide conversational experience, facilitate product and content search, improve brand personalization, and also decrease expenses related to customer support.
Superior App Security
With the rapid business digitization pace, the necessity for tightened security online has significantly increased. According to the latest CheckPoint report on Mobile Security, there are 40% of all mobile devices vulnerable to cyber attacks. Meanwhile, 97% of businesses worldwide have experienced mobile threats with several attack vectors. For these reasons, software development companies constantly work on the improvement of mobile app safety.
Market and Markets states that the mobile security market size will grow from $0.3 bln in 2019 to $7.2 bln by 2024, at a CAGR of 19.4% during the forecasted period. The most effective app security practices in 2022 will continue to be writing secure code, careful choice of development libraries, using reliable tools for data encryption, implementation of high-level authentication, including blockchain solutions, use of tamper detection, improved QA practices, and others.
Predictive analytics is a fast-developing branch of advanced analytics which uses historical data together with machine learning and artificial intelligence to determine future trends and outcomes. It helps many e-businesses to better track customer activities, improve product recommendations, and enhance brand personalization.
The most prominent example of using predictive analytics for e-Commerce is Amazon. The company managed to increase their sales by 29%, reaching $12.83 bln after embedding the product recommending technology at several points in the browsing and purchasing processes in a distant 2012. Today, Amazon continues its experiments with AI and predictive analytics and is considered to be one of the most successful e-Commerce companies worldwide. The company’s revenue in net sales reached $386 bln in 2020.
There is a wide range of businesses that incorporate predictive analytics solutions in their mobile applications. According to the ZION Market Research report, the global predictive analytics market will reach a value of approximately $10.95 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of around 21% between the forecasted period.
On-demand apps are the service platforms that work as intermediaries which help to connect customers with the needed service providers. The most popular among them are Uber, Netflix, Bloom That, TaskRabbit, and others. They help customers quickly find the needed one-time services from house cleaning to dog walking, to flight booking apps.
The popularity of on-demand services is growing and triggered by shifts in consumer behavior. Today, customers demand more convenient, fast, and simple services. Therefore, the number of on-demand apps will only grow in 2022.
Cloud Computing Integration
Mobile applications based on cloud computing technology have many advantages over traditional mobile app development and many businesses are already building their mobile apps integrated with the cloud. These apps can run on any mobile device independently from their operating systems. It means that they fit perfectly into various screen sizes and smartphone characteristics. Besides that, the mobile apps are delivered remotely over the internet, perform much faster using the capacity of the cloud rather than a smartphone, and have enhanced data storage.
According to the Motor Intelligence market report, the mobile cloud market has generated $30.71 bln in 2020 and is forecasted to gain $118.70 bln by the end of 2026 at a CAGR of 25.28% during the forecasted period.
Instant Apps is one more innovation in the mobile development sphere. It facilitates app content overview avoiding the necessity to install the app. This allows customers to quickly decide if they want to have a particular app on the phone as well as helps businesses to more easily familiarize their potential customers with the content they provide.
Instant apps are provided in the form of URLs and can be simply integrated into search results, social media, messages, other apps, beacons, etc. According to Prafull, Project manager of Google Play Instant, with instant apps technology, mobile applications can experience up to 19% in additional installation.
For now, instant apps have little popularity among businesses, nevertheless, the technology has a great potential to pull it off in 2022.
Today, much of business success depends on the digital solutions developed by a company. When it comes to providing outstanding customer service and developing a consistent brand voice, many companies prefer building mobile applications.
In most cases, just developing a mobile solution isn’t enough. It requires continuous upgrades and should be aligned with customer demands. That’s why companies pay much attention to the trends in mobile app development. This helps them to keep their mobile apps updated with the latest tech innovations and, therefore, stay relevant in the market and useful for consumers.