There are over 3.6 billion smartphone users throughout the world. Are you considering developing an app to reach them and grow your business?
If you’ve never created an app for your business before, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do when it comes to including certain features or planning the app layout.
The more you know about the latest app development trends, though, the easier it is to put together a well-designed and highly functional app that your target audience will love.
Are you ready to learn about some of the top app development trends for 2021 and beyond? Read on to get started.
Internet of Things-Enabled Apps
The term “Internet of Things” (also known as IoT) refers to a network of smart gadgets that are all interconnected. Examples include the Amazon Echo devices and Google Home devices.
Over the last few years, IoT has experienced massive growth throughout the world. Many users love their smart devices and the ease they bring to their lives. In response, there’s an increased demand for other apps to be IoT-enabled.
From mobile apps that adjust the temperature in your house to apps that let you know what food you have in your fridge, these tools are incredibly convenient. They can revolutionize the way people go about their daily lives and make everyday tasks much easier.
In 2021 and beyond, we’ll likely see an increase in IoT-enabled apps for smart home devices and smart cars. They’ll surely find their way into the healthcare space, too.
Foldable Device Apps
Everything comes full circle, including cellphone design.
Those who thought foldable flips phones were gone forever were likely shocked by the introduction of new, foldable smartphones. They’re here, though, and it seems like they’re going to be sticking around for a while.
Devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fold pair the innovation and convenience of a typical smartphone with the compactness and versatility of a traditional, foldable phone.
For app developers, the introduction of foldable smartphones presents a new challenge. Developers need to create apps that are functional and look good when the phone is folded and unfolded.
It doesn’t matter what kind of app you’re thinking about developing. It’s still a good idea to get ahead of this trend and design apps with foldable screens in mind.
This will save you and your development team a lot of time and effort in the future, and you won’t have to worry about going back to the drawing board and reconfiguring an existing app later.
Wearable Device Apps
Wearables have grown in popularity over the last several years. From Apple Watches to FitBits, there are tons of options that count people’s steps, monitor their heartbeat, and even track their sleeping patterns.
These devices do a lot, but they have the potential to do even more, especially as app developers start designing apps with them in mind.
Currently, many people who have and use wearables get frustrated when trying to navigate an app on the device’s tiny screen. In the future, this will become easier.
In 2021 and beyond, developers will start thinking of new ways to make apps more user-friendly and improve the overall user experience. This can lead to increased app usage overall and increase customer satisfaction.
Now and in the future, many apps will be developed with Beacon Technology in mind.
Beacon Technology works with the help of Bluetooth Low Energy (or BLE) signals. When you (and your smartphone, which is always glued to your hand, let’s be honest) enter a designated “beacon zone,” your app will receive these signals. This, in turn, allows the app to provide you with relevant and useful notifications and information, from directions to the details of sales or and available discounts.
There are lots of advantages to designing an app and implementing the Beacon Technology trend. Beacon Technology allows businesses to connect directly with potential customers and help them get more out of their experience, from shopping and visiting a museum to looking for help at medical clinics.
Similar to apps that utilize Beacon Technology, geolocation apps are another trend that helps brands to provide customers with a better, more personalized user experience.
When apps can detect users’ locations, they can deliver suggestions for things nearby that they might want to check out, such as restaurants or activities. Geolocation apps also analyze user behavior patterns and can provide insight into customer habits and preferences.
At first, some customers may be wary of having their location tracked while using a particular app. When they experience the benefits that geolocation apps have to offer, though, they’ll likely change their minds. As long as they have a way to opt-out of tracking, most people probably won’t have any major problems with it.
At this point, we’re all familiar with e-commerce. You’ve likely utilized this trend yourself to expand your business’s reach and target online customers.
E-commerce isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but there’s also a new type of commerce on the scene: Mobile commerce or M-commerce.
Mobile commerce allows customers to shop directly through your app. It’s even more convenient than regular online shopping and makes it easier than ever for your customers to buy what they’re selling.
Mobile commerce isn’t exactly new, but it will become more sophisticated in 2021 and beyond. Some specific mobile commerce trends that will become popular this year and in the future include one-click ordering (Amazon already offers this with the “Buy Now” button) and voice shopping.
When it comes to app development, many businesses have already started utilizing artificial intelligence (or AI).
Prime examples include Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa. There are lots of other ways that app developers can utilize artificial intelligence, though, beyond setting alarms, answering simple questions, and adding items to people’s shopping lists.
For example, in 2021, app developers will start to include features like facial and speech recognition, predictive maintenance, and even sentiment recognition (determining whether a message is positive, negative, or neutral) in their products.
Put simply, artificial intelligence makes apps (and the devices on which they’re installed) even smarter than they already were. It creates more opportunities for you to serve your customers, predict what they need ahead of time, and provide them with an unmatched user experience.
We can’t talk about artificial intelligence without also talking about chatbots.
Approximately 80 percent of companies currently use chatbots on their websites and apps. That number will surely increase this year and in years to come, especially as chatbots become more sophisticated and human-like.
Chatbots use artificial intelligence to help app users to do basic troubleshooting themselves. They save users from having to call a customer service line and create a better, more streamlined user experience.
Chatbots don’t just answer frequently asked questions, though. They can also be used to carry out various tasks, including placing orders.
Starbucks’ “My Starbucks Barista” app is a great example of this. It uses chatbots and voice recognition technology to place your coffee order after you tell it what you want to drink.
In addition to artificial intelligence, augmented reality (or AR) will become more popular in 2021.
Augmented reality provides users with an interactive experience. It allows them to experience the real world through their smartphone or tablet screen in a multisensory way (sight, touch, sound, etc.).
A great example of augmented reality in app development is the glasses brand, Warby Parker. Warby Parker’s app allows customers to virtually “try on” different pairs of glasses and see how they look “in real life” before they commit to them.
Lots of other businesses can benefit from including augmented reality in their app design. This includes retailers who want to help customers try on clothing virtually, as well as those in the hospitality business who want to give customers a tour of the hotel or resort before they visit.
Mobile Wallet Integration
Mobile wallets allow for fast, convenient payment. Those who use a mobile wallet don’t have to worry about digging around for their credit card, nor do they have to spend time counting out cash and coins (let’s not forget about the germs that get transmitted through cash transactions, either!).
App developers can integrate common payment gateways (Google Pay, Amazon Pay, etc.) into their app design to make it easier for customers to make purchases directly through the app.
This streamlines the payment process and allows for a smoother and more efficient user experience, which is key for any brand looking to improve customer satisfaction and boost ratings and reviews.
Increased App Security
To a lot of people, the fact that apps are becoming smarter and more sophisticated is a bit of a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, there are plenty of folks who love all the extra features their favorite apps have to offer. They appreciate the convenience and ease these apps bring to their lives.
At the same time, though, lots of other people have security concerns, especially as they start linking their credit card numbers and addresses to their most frequently used apps.
To assuage these fears and keep their customers happy and loyal (after all, nothing turns someone away from a business faster than having their data leaked), many brands are also bulking up their app security. Tools like two-factor authentication make it easier for app developers to keep customer information safe.
Instant apps are native mobile apps that are smaller than regular apps. They’re also more user-friendly and offer a greater level of convenience since they don’t have to be downloaded. Instead, the user can instantly access and start using them.
Instant apps aren’t new. However, they are going to get more popular (and more sophisticated) in 2021 and in the years to come. More businesses are going to start utilizing them as they tend to lead to higher conversion rates and better customer satisfaction scores.
This makes sense when you stop and think about it. After all, if people don’t have to wait to download an app before they start using it, they’ll likely be more inclined to make a purchase through it. They’ll also be more impressed with the app altogether, which increases the business’s chances of receiving a 5-star review.
In addition to instant apps, on-demand apps are also going to trend more heavily in 2021.
At first, instant apps and on-demand apps sound like the same thing. They’re quite different, though.
On-demand apps are, in most cases, regular apps that need to be downloaded onto your device. However, they offer on-demand services. Good examples of this include the Uber and Doordash apps.
These days, people want all kinds of things on-demand, not just rides and food delivery. From instant access to cleaning and maintenance services to virtual appointments with a doctor, there are lots of opportunities for various businesses to get in on the on-demand trend.
By tapping into people’s desire for instant gratification and creating an on-demand app, businesses and their app development teams can improve the customer service experience and grow their overall customer base in a major way.
Cloud Computing Integration
On a global scale, the cloud services market is booming. It’s currently worth over $266 billion, and it’s only going to grow in the coming years.
Because the cloud services market is growing rapidly, it makes sense that app developers will start utilizing cloud technology and designing apps with cloud computing integration features.
Cloud computing integrations help mobile apps to store large amounts of data in the most efficient way possible. These integrations also make apps more secure, reduce costs, improve loading capacity, and help them to handle complex tasks with ease. All of this, in turn, leads to increased user retention and higher rates of customer satisfaction.
There are plenty of apps that already use cloud computing integrations, such as Slack, Dropbox, and Salesforce. This trend will soon spread to other apps, too, and won’t be limited to productivity tools.
Try These App Development Trends Today
As you can see, there are plenty of app development trends to keep up with in 2021 and beyond. Are there any trends on this list that catch your eye?
It’s true that you don’t have to include every trending feature or design style in your business’s app. However, it’s still a good idea to be aware of what’s trending and what people expect when they download a new app onto their smartphone or tablet.
Keep these trends in mind as you start meeting with your development team. They’ll help make the right decisions for your business and your customers, so you can see the best results from your app development project.