Like most other segments in tech, the mobile app industry evolves continuously. Factors such as consumer demand and technology advancements continue to impact mobile app trends directly. Arguably, the most crucial factor for success in the mobile app industry is staying on top of the latest trends and statistics.
With smartphones becoming quintessential as each day passes, we are yet to see the best of the mobile app industry. In this article, we look at the latest trends and must know statistics in the mobile app industry for 2021.
Top 10 Mobile App Trends of 2021
1. Internet of Things (IoT) Mobile App Integration
While the IoT is not a new concept, the increasing mobile penetration across various industries has brought forth virtually endless opportunities for this technology. The IoT is a network of internet-connected devices that provide automated control and convenience to its users.
An excellent example of IoT integration in mobile app development is smart home technology. Through smart technology, users can adjust their house’s thermostats from remote locations, or even connect household appliances like refrigerators to mobile apps.
2. Apps for Foldable Smartphones
Mobile phones have been changing dramatically over the years, from flip phones to touchscreens with no buttons. The last few years have seen the emergence of foldable Devices. In 2019, for instance, we saw foldable devices like the Motorola Razr, the Huawei Mate X and the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
Ideally, foldable devices can expand or compress their screen size to suit user preferences. For instance, users can fold their devices during phone calls, then unfold them to watch videos on significantly bigger screens.
This creates a need for app development tailored to these devices. The idea is to have apps that seamlessly adjust to the screen, whether folded or unfolded.
3. 5G Technology
The rollout of 5G technology will impact mobile app development and creation. 5G connections should increase up to 15 times more in 2021 compared to 2020. Users of 5G can expect more speed and efficiency, with over ten times less latency and 100 times more speed, depending on their respective mobile network operators.
The implication of this drastic improvement in mobile app development is enhanced mobile app functionality as 5G penetration increases. Users will enjoy faster download and upload speeds on mobile apps, while developers will continue adding new features to capitalize on the potential of 5G technology.
4. Mobile Apps for Wearable Devices
While wearable devices are not exactly a breakthrough at this point, they have been trending for several years now. There are plenty of fitness bands, trackers and smartwatches on the market. However, wearable devices are yet to actualize their full potential.
Mobile app development geared towards wearable devices can help unlock their potential. In 2021, more developers will make mobile apps with wearable devices in mind. Users can download applications by the tens of thousands, all from their wrist.
5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI and machine learning penetrated the mobile app industry years ago. However, we have only scratched the surface in terms of the potential of these advanced technologies.
Upon the mention of AI, the first thought that comes to mind is virtual assistance like Alexa and Siri. The uses of AI, however, can go far beyond this. Developers, for instance, can use Core ML3, Apple’s latest iOS machine-learning framework, to embed AI technology and its benefits into their applications.
6. Augmented Reality (AR)
In 2020, we have just begun realizing how useful and fun AR can be. AR features are starting to become common among more applications. In mobile gaming, for instance, Pokémon Go can be considered the pioneer of AR.
Apps are starting to use AR for reasons that are more practical now, e.g., the virtual makeup app by L’Oreal, which allows users to see how their faces would look with makeup.
7. Mobile Commerce
It is impossible to create a list of app trends in 2021 without including mobile commerce. Seemingly, more people are leveraging the potential of mobile apps to boost their revenues. No one is left behind by this trend, from big retailers to personal brands and individual content creators.
Everyone realizes the moneymaking potential in this space. For instance, mobile app resellers often highlight mobile e-commerce functionality as a significant feature during client peaches. Businesses launch more apps to drive their sales upwards every other day.
8. On-Demand Apps
With the apparent success of apps like Uber and Airbnb, on-demand mobile apps are a huge deal in 2021. Estimates suggest that users will spend $57.6 billion by the end of this year using on-demand services.
Some examples of how the on-demand industry is benefiting from apps include doctors on-demand, food delivery services, virtual tutors and coaches, maintenance services and housecleaning.
9. Mobile Wallets
As mobile devices evolve, the way people use them changes as well. Mobile wallets like Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are a trend in 2021. While the rate of mobile wallet penetration in mobile apps still has room for improvement, more apps have wallet integration as a standard feature for transaction processing in 2021.
10. Beacon Technology
A broad range of industries have embraced beacon technology, from hospitality to healthcare and retail. The functionality that beacon technology adds to virtually any mobile app is too significant to ignore.
Beacons have made significant advancements since their first integration into mobile apps in 2013, with a 59.8% compound annual growth rate. Arguably, the main benefit of integrating beacon technology in mobile apps is proximity marketing. For instance, by using beacons, retailers can track customer behavior in their stores, e.g., the specific aisles where users spend the most time.
Mobile App Stats and Growth Projections in 2021
With the increasing dependability on mobile apps, we cannot help but ask ourselves some questions, like what the most installed app in 2021 is, or how much time does the average user spend on apps. Below are some statistics that will shed light on these questions and more.
1. Apple App Store and Google Play Store Downloads
The total app downloads in 2017 were 178 billion, with a staggering 94.12 billion coming from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. This figure keeps on rising over the years, as highlighted by the 204 billion app downloads by the end of 2019. According to app usage statistics, the Apple App Store and Google Play Store combined contributed 114.9 billion of that figure.
In 2021, with people having more idle time due to the pandemic, both app stores have broken their app download numbers for a single quarter. In Q1 2021, both app stores combined have a whopping 33.6 billion app downloads.
Largely due to the pandemic, 2021 has seen a drastic rise in app usage. Some popular apps benefiting from this rise include Zoom, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and TikTok. TikTok, in particular, has achieved 315 million downloads on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store within the first quarter of 2021. As of March 2021, TikTok had the most downloads in the non-gaming category, with more than 115.2 million installs.
3. Mobile App Market Revenue
For years now, the mobile app industry has been collectively making billions of dollars in revenue annually. In 2018, the total revenue generated by the mobile app industry was $365.2 billion, and in 2019, it was $462 billion.
Gaming apps were and still are the biggest revenue contributors in the mobile app industry. According to statistics for mobile app revenue, other top revenue contributors include social and networking apps, photo and video sharing apps and entertainment apps. Estimates suggest that by the end of 2021, the mobile app industry will generate revenues of approximately $581.9 billion.
4. User Engagement
According to estimates, 53% of site visitors leave our site if it loads for more than three seconds. The same behavior applies to mobile app users. Statistics suggest that 70% of mobile app users abandon mobile applications that take too long to load. Any app that takes more than a few seconds to load drastically increases its chances of losing users from the very onset.
5. Mobile Gaming Market
For several years now, app usage statistics have revealed that the gaming industry is the mobile app industry’s biggest revenue contributor. This impressive record shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
While the value of the global mobile gaming market was an impressive $151.9 billion in 2019, 2021 should see this figure rises to $165.9 billion. The mobile gaming industry remains profitable due to factors such as sponsorships, subscriptions, paid advertising and in-app purchases.
6. Number of Apps Installed
On average, smartphone users have 40 apps installed on their smartphones. Despite this average, most smartphone users spend roughly 89% of their time on 18 apps only. Millennials, on the other hand, have an average of 67 apps installed on their smartphones and spend most of their time on 25 apps.
Unfortunately, this abundance creates an addiction problem. Over one-third of smartphone users check their devices within five minutes of starting their days. Also, 20% of smartphone users check their phones more than 50 times every day.
7. Ecommerce Sales
Mobile apps are significant contributors to the present and future success of eCommerce. By the end of 2021, it is expected that mobile devices will account for over 70% of all eCommerce sales.
8. Foldable Phones
According to statistics, 2019 saw the shipment of more than 3.2 million foldable phones. By 2022, estimates suggest that this number will reach 50 million units. To achieve this growth, 2021 will no doubt be a pivotal year for foldable phones.
9. Global IoT Market
Estimates suggest that by the end of 2021, the global IoT market will reach a total valuation of $194 billion. Out of this, software such as mobile apps will contribute up to $143 billion, representing a 14% rise from 2019.
10. Millennium-Owned Businesses
Arguably, no generation living currently can attest to its dependence on technology like millennials. Millennials grew up in this age of tech, and continue to implement it in adulthood. Therefore, it is not surprising that 55% of Millennial-owned businesses integrate tech by having their own mobile apps.