10 Emerging Trends for the Mobile App Economy in 2020 and Beyond

The mobile app economy is going through a major shift right now. New technologies like IoT, 5G, and AI are on the cusp of full realization. At the center of them all is the mobile app, the instrument through which most daily activities are carried out. From ride sharing to music streaming to shopping, everything now has its own app. With the aforementioned technologies coming into the mainstream, the mobile app economy is bound to explode.

What is the Mobile App Economy?

The mobile app economy refers to the revenue generated from the use of mobile applications on smartphones and tablets. In the recent past, wearable technologies like smartwatches and smartbands have also boosted the use of apps. There are varying estimates of the mobile app economy’s size. Others estimate its worth over $6 trillion by 2021. Their measurements vary, depending on the definition of mobile apps.

However, one thing is clear, that the mobile app economy is going to take over nearly every facet of life. How it will do that is evident from the emerging trends in the 2020 mobile app economy.

Emerging Trends in the Mobile App Economy 

5G will, undoubtedly, affect how apps work in 2020. With more carriers rolling out functionality and more smartphone companies enabling that feature, it’s just a matter of time. 5G promises not only much greater speed, but better connectivity. It will enable better communication between devices, which will help improve app functionality for health services, cloud computing, etc.

1. Beacon Technology
Beacon Technology will help businesses advertise their products and services. When you walk by a store or are shopping inside one, you will get the latest deals curated for you. This ties in to the larger context of the Internet of Things.

2. IoT Integration
IoT integration means that more devices will be able to communicate with each other. This will increasingly mean that you’ll be able to use your mobile device for all sorts of things. You’ll be able to validate parking, access your bank details, make payments, and authenticate identity, all through your smart device. All types of apps will be built to enable this functionality and will likely expand the size of the economy. This is likely to be a huge mobile app trend in business.

3. Better AI Integration
The global market for AI will likely reach $190 billion by 2025. AI will not only mean that applications will become specifically tuned to their users, but improve over time. AI and Machine Learning will allow apps to better function over time and allow for bug fixes to be automated in the near future. This will help to consistently improve app and smartphone functionality.

4. Instant App Access

2016 has already seen the birth of instant apps on the Play Store. This feature allows customers to try out apps without installing them. It helps achieve a better conversion rate among users compared to regular apps. According to the New York Times, a 20-27% increased conversion rate was achieved due to an instant mobile app. This will more likely become more common within the mobile app economy.

5. Apps for Foldable Displays

It’s the era of the foldable smartphone, with both Samsung and Motorola already jumping in the ring. This means that apps will be designed to fit two or three display configurations out of the box. This could mean that apps for newspapers and magazines, video streaming, etc., will be redesigned. With more screen real estate and multiple configurations, how apps function could change fundamentally.

6. Wearable Apps
Better and better wearable technologies are coming into existence. Wrist bands and watches, as well as smart rings and smart headsets, etc., have begun production. What all this ultimately means is that apps will be designed to function with different wearable technologies. This will require a whole new SDK, a whole new user interface, and a new user experience. It will require lots of innovation to optimize for the average user.

7. AR and VR Enabled Apps
The popularity of Pokemon Go was evident to most people. The game was taking over people’s lives and disrupting political briefings. That was just a taste of what VR and AR could do. Other applications are already in development. AR and VR could help retail by showing you how a piece of furniture would look in your home. They could also help you order a fitted piece of clothing from an online store by taking your exact measurements. This could rid consumers of the hesitation they have when purchasing items online.

8. Mobile Wallets and Bitcoin
The prospect of cashless payments is extremely appealing to most people. In China, specifically, cashless payments have become the norm due to the ease of use and proliferation. However, with more cashless payment platforms and crypto-currencies becoming normalized, that’s only going to get better. Some manufacturers are also building phones with huge security features and default encryption to protect personal information. This will not only intrigue business consumers but the average customers that want to switch to cashless payments. The added benefit of facial recognition sensors and fingerprint sensors for authentication will also help generate more interest.

9. Subscription-Based Apps

According to App Annie, streaming apps will battle it out in 2020 for the seat of power. From Disney+ to Netflix to Amazon Prime to Spotify, to Apple Music, everyone will be fighting for a piece of the pie. While this may mean that the prices of these apps will be kept down, less content may be available exclusively. According to an estimate, nearly 674 billion hours of content will be streamed by consumers in 2020.

Other than streaming apps, subscription-based meal kits, audio book services, learning-based services, etc., will all gain popularity. The subscription model has, undoubtedly, become popular, even though very few businesses have been able to profit from it. Thus, it will more than likely dominate a large share of the mobile app economy.

These trends will carry over into the next decade. They will bring an even larger share of the world economy to the mobile app economy.

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