How does the COVID pandemic shape the business of mobile apps? Learn more about the latest top trends in mobile app development — and be ready for future changes!
In 2020, people spent on average 3.5 hours a day on mobile apps. Pandemic has brought us all home and grasping at any chance to stay connected. We took a deep dive into online life. Seeing this, entrepreneurs rushed to build new apps that would solve these unique emerging needs of a customer in a new reality. As a result, there are currently almost 3.5M apps available in Google App Store and 2.2M in Apple App Store. This article will explain what these apps are there for and what trends in mobile app development we should expect in 2022.
COVID caused a large-scale adoption of technology towards remote operations, leading to a surge in demand for apps, which has had a positive impact on the development of apps. Everything from grocery shopping, banking, entertainment, communication, and marketing is carried out with the help of downloads, the number of which has skyrocketed.Venkatesh C. R., CEO of Dot Com Infoway
COVID pandemic has laid bare the importance of digital. When it became clear that we should live in this new standard, digital apps helped get food, medicine, and study resources, connected with culture, and tied the beloved together. People started using apps 40% more than before — and gradually got into them on a broader scale. Perhaps, the period from March 2020 to September 2021 (when the governments lifted the restrictions due to mass vaccination) will mark the new era of mobile app development. If you don’t have any other options than to solve all your life issues online, applications start reacting to the demand and become genuinely all-encompassing.
According to Statista, these are the four major fields affected by the pandemic: education, remote work, grocery delivery, and rideshare.
According to Statista, 6,64 billion smartphone users will be worldwide in 2022. The mobile app revenue is estimated to reach $808,7 billion in 2022 and $935 billion by 2023, growing more than 100 billion dollars a year.
The numbers for app downloads and installation are also skyrocketing: by 2022, there will be 258 billion app downloads per year. It means that all mobile users will download almost 707 million mobile applications daily.
App development has its history and business logic, but since COVID was, inevitably, the prime economic factor of the last 18 months, it, too, influenced the industry — and our future. Below, I will point out seven primary mobile app development trends of 2022.
Hottest mobile app development trends of 2022 — what are they?
Video conferencing tools
COVID pandemic boosted the freelancers’ market. During more than a year of self-isolation, people realized they don’t always have to be physically present to cope with shared tasks. Working from home is becoming a very healthy habit. It does not put you in contact with potentially infected people and spares a few commuting hours. A recent Gartner poll showed that 48% of employees would rather work at least part of the time after COVID-19 remotely. Before the pandemic, the number was 30%.
Remote work and online business trends forced the popularity of videoconferencing and collaboration tools. In March 2020 alone, Microsoft Teams enjoyed a 1,000% increase in user adoption. Wide choice makes employees search for the real gems. The tech specialists respond by constantly developing new apps and beating their rivals. Employers don’t lag. According to Gartner’s analysis, 16% of them often utilize virtual clocking in and out, apps controlling work computer usage, and monitoring emails or corporate chat.
One more possible consequence of the pandemic is population migration. After realizing that they can do most of the work off the office, big city dwellers will often move to the smaller towns and villages. There is no option for connectivity to tail off. Programmers will do their best to suit mobile app development to new usage conditions.
Mobile app development in online education
Because of the COVID, educational facilities began to close. Some of them did not open up until September 2021: it means that at least half of the year (more likely, a year and a half) of the studying process was taking place online.
According to the UNESCO statistics, more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries were affected by pandemic school closures. Indeed, such a significant shift in the educational paradigm demanded the boost of online technologies. They ease the studying process and aid students in their needs through the crucial life period — almost devoid of human contact.
The global market for online education will reach $350 billion by 2025. People worldwide have been using various educational applications and technologies. Since March 2020, the field of online courses, virtual tutoring, and video conferencing apps has been expanding nonstop.
Many online platforms and courses started to offer free access to their services. Museums and galleries developed appropriate technical means for virtual excursions (Louvre, Disney World, or Guggenheim). Multiple libraries opened their virtual doors to students needing to collect sources for final theses.
We all remember how Harvard University has been called the most expensive online course globally. The trend shows us that even more opportunities for online education are being explored and implemented in collaboration with various online platforms (like the Bangalore-based BYJU’S, educational technology, and tutorial firm, which is now the world’s most valued company in the sector of edtech).
The core aim of such wearables is to monitor your health without intruding into the usual pace of life. They do their job while you are working, strolling, jogging, and sleeping. Then voila — you have all the necessary info on the smartphone, including monthly and yearly statistics. Moreover, applications can instantly share the data and warn about possible alarm situations with your nearest. The years 2020-2021 have been exceptionally fruitful for wearables developers. Firstly, people got more involved in their health control (perhaps, since the world has been put on pause, they began listening to their bodies). Secondly, pandemic surroundings urge us to be vigilant and get all the necessary medical info as fast as possible.
The total sum spent on wearable devices in 2021 is expected to reach $81.5 billion, while 2022 will override the number by ten billion — making it as high as $93.86. The pandemic revealed another bonus hidden behind wearables – early detection of diseases. COVID-19 made the world think over fast and convenient health apps. Now they help detect infection early, show the vaccination status (shots number, vaccine type), or the validity of PCR/antigen tests that give you social benefits (Ukrainian DIYA, Czech Čtečka, etc.). Nascent mobile apps can monitor your heart rhythm, asthma outbreaks, movement, coagulation, and even depression levels.
In 2022, just as in 2021 and a few previous years, commerce has been going mobile at an astounding pace. As the number and functionality of smartphones rise, all the businesses become interested in nonstop buying/selling. Even if you are not home, you should still be part of the process — and your cellphone is your best aid in that. In case you are always home (due to pandemics), you should be provided with the possibility to buy contactless, germless, and fast — virtually from any corner of your sofa.
The role of UX experts has been rising incessantly — at least partly due to the pandemic. A slower, secluded life gives plenty of time to re-evaluate all the interfaces, buttons, and functions in your apps, get rid of the inconvenient ones, and find the most suitable. Mobile wallets and e-commerce integration into wearables are also on the rise. The pandemic world simplified the buying process even for people without prior tech experience. The rest is the task of the app engineers. What is more, in the coming year, we can see the blossoming of still relatively backward but overtly germ-free voice shopping apps: if you can avoid touching, do it.
Here are a few numbers illustrating m-commerce development.
- Statista – in 2021, m-commerce take up to 72.9% of global e-commerce sales.
- mCommerce sales are set to grow by 22.3% in 2021, which is $640 million more than last year.
A bit of history
The earliest chatterbot (later on, the name was cut to chatbot) was developed in MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in 1966. Its name was Eliza, and it was a test case for the Turing test completion. Eliza answered short questions basing her responses on pattern matching and substitution.
Up until the middle of the 2010s, chatbots were underdeveloped. Apple’s Siri (natural language processor and learning navigator) became widely available in 2010. Then came the time for Google Assistant (2012), Microsoft’s Cortana (2014), and Amazon’s Alexa (2014). The chatbots are predominantly AI-based, so they are self-teaching and can process complicated input. The best options on the present chatbot market include FlowXO, Bold360, Watson Assistant, Botsify, and many more. The most popular in 2021 are Watson Assistant, Rulai, and Live person.
How they can help us?
Chatbots are popular because they can substitute humans for simple repetitive tasks and spare business owners a lot of money. Their quality is assessed according to the accuracy of the reactions and information proceeding. The simple bot will give you search results, book tickets, or redirect to the necessary web, the excelling one can teach languages, provide Q&A, manage your schedule, or even become your virtual therapist.
COVID pandemic that mostly erased face-to-face communication made chatbots genuinely irreplaceable. People addressed them to buy medicines, find tests, and make an appointment with the doctor. For those having trouble using the internet, chatbots can be the best available source of information. They communicate with multiple people at a time, change languages, and do research for you. A small talk with the machine that gives you accurate answers after monitoring the keywords is probably better than lengthy wandering about the infodemic-stricken internet searching for the “third opinion.” One more way to use chatbots in pandemic circumstances is for symptom screening. Frequently people can be more sincere and open with chatbots because of the disease’s social stigma.
According to the report, the compound annual growth rate of the chatbot market in 2021–2027 will be a substantial 25,4 %.
Counter-fake struggle and the mobile app development
During the COVID pandemic, the onslaught of hoax data about the virus treatment, vaccines, death rates, and all the other crucial topics where fakes are not only harmful but also potentially dangerous. Most people devour information without verifying it, then effectively spread it through likes, shares, retweets — and voila! — a new global lie is born. Media platforms are increasingly aware of the need for efficient tools to separate the wheat from the chaff — especially when the unchecked claims are tangential to people’s health. The “new normal” world where medical topics become the “general small talk” is in desperate need of some filtration mechanisms — hopefully, the year 2022 shows us the development of this trend.
One-for-all communication platforms
The idea of one-for-all multitasking mobile apps seemingly goes against the prevalent “each task needs an app” trend. Still, the new tendency of merges and acquisitions can partly explain its relative popularity. Surrounded by the multifold programs and apps (not all cross-platform), people start thinking over the platform that enables constant interaction with one stable interface for numerous functions. It could be safer (one security system), quicker (no need to jump between dozens of programs), and more user-friendly (no need to get acquainted with the new functionality every time you need to perform new tasks). Perhaps the best example of such a multifunction platform is Chinese WeChat. Most Chinese users do not need anything besides it (see the pic below). Arpit Jain, Managing Director & CEO of Promatics Technologies Private Limited, also agrees that 2022 will bring us the continuous development of cross-platform apps:
I can also see an increase in demand for cross-platform mobile app development. With significant improvement in cross-platform development tools and coming-of-age frameworks like Flutter, the difference between native and hybrid apps is receding day by day. Add to it the benefits of maintaining and supporting a single code base with fewer incubation costs — and this seems to be a no-brainer for some industry experts.
VR for education and more
AR & VR Technology greatly influence video and gaming app trends. Tech giants have already found numerous new cases for them. For example, Google & Apple both have realized their AR demos named ARKit & Google ARcore. The benefits of VR are multifold:
- Motion tracking;
- People occlusion;
- Environmental understanding;
- Light estimation.
According to Statista, the worldwide market of AR, VR, and MR technology will rise to about $59 billion in 2022 and $296 billion in 2024.
Positive impact and future trends
Many industries feel the positive impact of augmented reality-based apps. First of all, they are handy for tourism (within closed borders, it can be the only chance to travel abroad). Secondly, they develop healthcare (virtual tours inside the patients’ bodies, going by the operation plan step by step, awareness that significantly reduces anxiety). Furthermore, education also feels the influence of digital (virtual tours, usage of VR at schools for modeling the reality, etc.). Last but not least, we feel its effects in marketing and retail. Shopping tours in VR, video mapping of the shopping centers, possibility to assess designs and furniture pieces in the pre-assigned surroundings) help the customers greatly.
Future mobile app development trends of AR/VR:
- Virtual training;
- Music events and live performances;
- Visual learning.
As the year 2020 showed, you can never be 100 % sure where you will be tomorrow. The post-pandemic world is not entirely another place, but many new factors influence daily existence and pyramids of needs. Mobile app development trends are instruments to detect those needs — and react to them. Feeling the acute shortage of people around, we started looking for fulfillment in digital devices. We better understood both what we want and how we want it. Efficient vaccines give a chance that we return to the previous normal. May the apps we have by then help us feel comfortable.