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Mobile applications: trends to watch out for in 2018

Gaurav Gupta
7th Dec 2017
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With over 250 billion free apps having been downloaded in 2017 alone, a steady rise is expected in the coming years. Here are a few predictions for 2018.

For businesses, mobile apps are no more just nice to have; they are a necessity as they increase usability, scale up sales, meet customer demands, and also build brand awareness. With over 250 billion free apps having been downloaded in 2017 alone, a steady rise is expected in the coming years. As a quick recap of 2017, app trends in the realm of social media, Google, gaming, and lifestyle were quite prominent (globally) — be it in large organisations or small businesses.

Companies of all sizes — and especially established businesses — are leveraging innovation in mobile application development for multiple purposes such as branding, direct marketing, access to online sites, and increasing customer engagement and experience, among others. As we enter 2018, some of these trends will spill over and define the ‘new app economy’ emerging with new technologies. That said, here are a few up-and-coming trends that we will see in 2018.
  • VR and AR apps will become more mainstream — especially in industries like real estate, retail, and healthcare, and particularly for businesses that have demand for employing new technologies. Apple, Google, and others will publish tools and libraries to make it easier to develop such apps. As a result, an entire suite of new apps and startups around AR and VR will emerge. Further, 2018 will offer a more visual, real-time experience to customers on behalf of the companies that desire to enhance their products/services using such technologies.
  • With the onset of the shared economy, enterprises will come up with newer, disruptive business models and use more on-demand apps to cater to on-the-go users, be it for food delivery, cleaning, laundry, rideshare, or taxi services.
  • Progressive Web Apps will be more widely employed and Apple's support for them will also increase. As a result, people will start seeing the benefits and possibly adopt them for simple use cases like e-commerce and cab bookings.
  • Since most IoT devices are currently being controlled by smartphones, there will be a deeper integration of mobile apps with wearables — such as VR headsets and smartwatches. Industries such as smart health, automotive, industrial, smart homes, and smart offices will see an integration of IoT and mobile applications.
  • App developers would optimise their apps for people in the emerging markets (often termed as "the next billion" users) for the first time in their life, they would get access to a smartphone in coming years.
  • Mobile app design will showcase improved user interface with more creatively enhanced versions of user interaction design ideas. So, material design will become more mainstream than flat design. Enterprises will notch up their app strategy by adding depth, animation, and transition effects to design layouts.
  • The use of the Bring Your Own Device model, which is known for increasing the speed of the overall app development process, will be embraced by more organisations. This will create a surge in demand for hybrid apps as they run in app form but are essentially mobile websites. These apps reduce the cost and speed up the mobile app development process.
  • App-based payments, have increased tremendously in the last year or so due to demonetization, I see a further increase in this space with government introducing technologies like UPI, to facilitate app development for app-based transactions.
  • Mobile payments: App-based payments will become easier. mWallets, IMPS, UPI, etc. will get more popular and will have a wider reach.

While the above trends are shaping the ‘app economy’ for 2018, application development firms need to constantly stay agile in pacing up with product innovation and new business models. That way, they can mould their app strategy considering the holistic business framework — from ideation to the end product/business solution. In conclusion, app firms that can build and scale up businesses through intelligent technology variables will thrive in 2018.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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