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Top mobile app development trends for 2021 and beyond

2021 is a year that brings mobile applications to the forefront of business strategies and increases the need for mobile application development across the world. This shift has resulted in new app trends that will have a lasting impact for years to come. Here are the top mobile development trends to consider when formatting your mobile app strategy for 2021 and beyond.

2020 lessons and results

Last year, due to the pandemic, many businesses had to shift operations to online platforms that enabled collaboration with team members through enterprise mobility and accelerated the process of digital transformation in the business sector.

Prioritizing safety, efficiency, and productivity meant finding and relying on digital solutions that would allow employees to take care of their responsibilities on any device wherever they were. Most importantly, these solutions had to be deployed quickly and widely through a streamlined onboarding process. Mobile app development teams worked tirelessly to design these solutions, but the demand for them has not wavered.

The bottom line?

Global data reveals that mobile applications have deeply ingrained into consumers’ daily lives. According to the latest US statistics, an average person spends 2f hours, 55 minutes on a smartphone; about 90 percent of this time is in apps. The going mobile tendency will rise, as the number of mobile app downloads worldwide is steadily increasing. Additionally, mobile advertising spending worldwide amounted to $189 billion in 2019 and is expected to rise upwards of $240 billion by 2022. Respectively, business owners will surely continue to invest in building mobile applications as part of their omnichannel strategies.

Mobile apps

So, how can brands leverage mobile to create personalized, engaging experiences that consumers expect as well as grow their revenues? We’ve compiled the list of the most promising latest trends in mobile app development as well as trending technologies and mobile features affecting some of the most impactful purchasing decisions.

What's inside

Multiplatform support

We have come to a point where one WiFi-enabled device is not enough for most individuals. Pew Research data suggests that almost 75% of American adults own a desktop or laptop computer, and 81% own smartphones. Additionally, nearly 50% are owners of an e-reader or tablet. In short, there are multiple platforms on which your users might access your application.

It's essential to make your application convenient by enabling its use on mobile, web, and desktop platforms. Not only will this promote ease of use, but it will also help you avoid losing business to a more convenient competitor.

Great news for the developers working on multiplatform support: Apple's shift to a new M1 chip will make it easier to design mobile apps to be used on both iPhones, iPads, and even on macOS. What’s more, M1 has already allowed users to run iOS apps on their Apple Macs. Though it’s not news for giants like Samsung, it's a huge change for developers that will eliminate writing code for the two different apps for the same company.

M-commerce

What started with e-Commerce – to replace bricks-and-mortar store operations – is determinedly moving to mobile. Embracing the m-Commerce mobile trend, the retail industry will particularly leverage the power of mobility to the fullest in order to cross-and-up-sell.

There is so much to implement in a mobile way: an eye-catching gallery of goods along with discount programs and teaser auctions, a shopping cart with additional items suggestions, delivery, and return options, and integration with preferable payment systems.

The streamlined shopping experience increased sales, and customer retention – businesses are craving this. Obviously, some back-office operations will continue to run on desktop devices or in the cloud because of omnichannel customer engagement and related marketing efforts.

The hospitality industry is one more candidate to capitalize on mobile commerce. The disruptive potential for reshaping the way restaurants, cinemas, hotels, and event organizers traditionally operate is to introduce a trendy geo-fencing technology. When a consumer approaches a geo-fenced area, the app shows relevant information about the nearest events, available tickets, and spaces, and socializing options, just to name a few.

Wearables and smart devices

To date, wearables are available on the market in the form of smartwatches, smart jewelry including rings and pins, smart glasses, and many more, so in 2021, we observe more demand in wearable app technology. By the end of the year, the wearable software market value is expected to reach $929 million, which is twice as much as in 2017.

Mobile apps

Backed by powerful IoT, wearables make us feel so comfortable in the smart home.

With just a few taps on the smartphone, we can remotely control heating and AC in the building; manage security roller shutters; submit gas, water, and electricity readings; pay utility bills, and maintain video surveillance in physical facilities.

Mobile wallet

Whether a mobile wallet will completely replace a leather wallet, the future will show. Still, the demand for a unified wallet is already tangible with so many plastic cards being toted around. Having a mobile wallet on the phone gets as cardinal as having a contacts list at hand.

All kinds of incentives have always been the holy grail to attract more consumers. Given this, hospitality, traveling and retail will start to link rewards and loyalty points to mobile wallets to spur widespread adoption of their offerings.

What the user will need is to download a mobile wallet app, follow the instructions to pass many-factor authentication, link cards to one account, and then it’s off to shopping, booking tickets, transferring money to others, and so on. Again, security remains vital to protect the user’s financial data.

Predictive analytics

Admittedly, predictive analytics is at the core of many data-driven applications to forecast future growth based on historical and current data. When it comes to data visualization, mobile apps considerably succeeded in not lagging behind web-based and desktop platforms thanks to modern mobile UI/UX trends and advanced native and open-source algorithms.

The same data is now available on the mobile devices across visual dashboards, scenarios with business drivers, comparison and visualization of the biggest opportunities and risks, simulation of created forecasts under diverse market conditions, comprehensive reports, and many other interactive elements.

With increased data cycling around, predictive analytics will be in the center of attention for data scientists, business analysts, and mobile developers not only in 2021 but for years ahead. In an attempt to support better decision-making and effective strategy planning, developers will strive to combine predictive analytics with ever-actual AI and IoT.

Security

Forewarned is forearmed. Mobile security and data privacy is the most adverse app trend for many years. Smartphones and apps are the pet target for hackers to steal credentials, spy, and spread scam ads. There is a hacker attack every 39 seconds worldwide. We may be unaware of it unless we spot personal data leakage or suspicious app behavior.

The top contributors to app vulnerabilities remain more or less the same from year to year: human factors (user’s heedlessness), flawed app code, poor username and password, insufficient authentication, weak data encryption, improper SSL/TLS validation, lack of binary protections, and many others.

Mobile apps

In the coming years, we expect more sophisticated mobile threats broadening in the distribution and delegitimization of common security measures. To avoid putting personal and business data at stake, mobile developers and users will have to unite in an alliance to keep an eye on the security of devices, mobile apps, and data against any kind of threat.

Cloud-based apps

Cloud computing or developing an app in the cloud is a beloved option for many mobile developers. To create a highly functional app, the mobile phone needs to be optimized for such aspects as battery usage, storage space, etc. It is easier to develop resource-intensive and scalable apps in the cloud, especially when it comes to speech recognition, video streaming, and massive amounts of data.

Whether it is a native or hybrid app, cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM Cloud offer enough options to develop, test and deploy the apps in the cloud. Depending on the local infrastructure capabilities and app nature, the developer decides what is best to opt for PaaS, IaaS, or SaaS.

Cloud computing will continue to reign supreme for its data backup and recovery capabilities, flexibility, and faster time-to-market. A win-win play for mobile developers and businesses.

Trending mobile technologies and features

The industry competition is getting fiercer, so today it’s not enough to just stay in the know of mobile app development trends; it’s vital to be able to accommodate your development strategy on the go and build your mobile app in line with the emerging tools, technologies, and consumer-favorite features. Here are the main technologies and features that are here to stay in 2021 and the years to follow.

5G technology

Currently, 5G technology shows a lot of promise, but not as much wide-scale application. Mobile network carriers across the world have touted their new and expansive 5G networks, but it's not enough to sway the vast majority of mobile phone users into adopting the service.

This presents a great opportunity for mobile application developers. Not only is there more time to leverage 5G technology within your application, but there's also time to study early adopters and learn from their experiences as the first to roll out changes. It's a win-win situation, in which you're in a great position to develop a solid mobile application while avoiding the pitfalls of being an "early-adopter."

AI and ML

Mobile app developers have a lot to gain from what artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can offer. This is because of the technology’s ability to optimize mobile app development and improve user experience. Machine learning algorithms help to analyze user behavior patterns to enhance audience engagement, as well as optimize search on the app to deliver contextual results and personalized ads.

Mobile apps

AI-driven Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and Amazon Alexa have already become our mobile companions. Though virtual assistants, motion detection, facial recognition, and sound speech recognition already found their place under the sun, 2021 hopes they will bring a more personalized experience for mobile users.

More players will enter into the nascent industry of smart clothing and sensors. Powered by machine learning, apparel and footwear will experience an explosion in healthcare and pharmaceutics, sports, and fitness. Clothes infused with sensors send biometric data to the mobile app and provide more in-depth information as compared with smartwatches and fitness bands.

Mobile app security remains a sensitive trend carrying over the years ahead. We believe AI will be under special focus to find the around-the-clock means to outwit cybercriminals.

IoT

Letting the Internet of Things (IoT) make our lives smarter is a chic mobile trend. Today, with just a few taps on the smartphone, we remotely control heating and AC in the building; manage security roller shutters; submit gas, water, and electricity readings; pay utility bills, and maintain video surveillance in physical facilities. It makes us feel so comfortable in the smart home.

Beyond smart houses, a variety of IoT apps have already delivered superior benefits in retail for a better shopping experience, in logistics – for streamlined supply chain management, in healthcare – for remote patient monitoring. The motto of any IoT-driven app will be the same – to make everything around us function smarter via a smartphone or any other connected device over the Internet.

Mobile apps

Today, there are about 26.66 billion connected devices around the world. By the year 2025, this number will triple. This will surge developers to explore untapped application areas and create even more robust IoT apps, especially if to couple IoT with such application development trends as Blockchain and predictive analytics.

AR

Augmented Reality (AR) is more than a mobile game and entertainment today. Though in its infancy stage, the immersive technologies have already penetrated into medicine, transportation and logistics, fashion and retail, and many other sectors. What one sees in real life can be creditably augmented with digital content via a mobile app.

The examples of such incredible AR apps as Snapchat (multimedia messaging), IKEA Place (virtual furniture), and GUCCI (sneakers try-on) show two sides of AR – how creatively and potentially practical AR can be leveraged. Mobile developers can’t wait for what comes next to create killer apps for app stores and potential customers, who are also in high anticipation.

Blockchain

Despite the many controversial opinions surrounding Blockchain, it has already become a game-changer for insurance, logistic, financial, healthcare, charity, and real estate organizations. Due to its transparent architecture, non-copyable data distribution, and decentralized data storage, Blockchain allows achieving unprecedented transparency in business performance and faster data processing and sharing.

Granted, Blockchain evolves beyond digital currency and crypto-wallets. It is equally beneficial for many uses. In 2021, mobile app development is likely to be around decentralized apps (DApps). Being a P2P free-of-middleman authority solution, DApps offers a more convenient, faster, and secure way to connect people and share any kind of data.

Moreover, Samsung, HTC, and Sirin Labs already released smartphones based on Blockchain. They include such features as DApp store, crypto mobile wallet, cold-storage wallet, and many more. Being still skeptical about the whole crypto-boom, Apple approached Blockchain the other way around. It filed a patent to enhance the security of its iPhone. The Blockchain smartphone trend will evolve for sure, and more Blockchain-centered apps will make a splash soon.

Conclusion

As long as the mobile industry flourishes, more trends will surface to rule the mobile market and consumer demand and preferences. To develop an outstanding app, it is not enough to keep up-to-date with the latest mobile app trends; the app finds its way to the audience only if developed by proficient developers who know all the how-to tricks. So keep your finger on the pulse of the market and check back here for updated mobile app development trends and updates!

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