Mobile apps have taken the world by storm in recent years. In 2023, the number of annual app downloads worldwide increased to nearly 300 billion. Additionally, studies show that the average person uses around 46 apps on their mobile device.
This rise in app usage has led countless companies to invest in their own mobile applications, for stores, online websites, and even community experiences. In fact, you can now convert a website into a mobile app with relative ease, using online software that doesn’t require coding knowledge.
However, before you dive into a mobile app strategy, it’s worth noting that this landscape is constantly changing. Being aware of the latest trends to watch for in 2024 will ensure you create an application that stands the test of time.
1. The Rise of 5G
In 2023, the globe’s march to 5G continued to build momentum. The fifth generation of mobile connectivity is quickly becoming the standard, paving the way for latency and lag-free experiences.
As 5G adoption grows, companies leveraging mobile apps will be able to take advantage of more advanced capabilities and features. The speed and performance of 5G will ensure devices can handle more data-intensive tasks, like real-time streaming of high-definition video, and even virtual and augmented reality.
2. Simpler App Development
In the past, developing a mobile app was often a time-consuming and expensive process. Companies had to work hand-in-hand with development teams and experts to create custom mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices. However, as demand for mobile experiences has grown, new solutions have emerged to increase accessibility for smaller companies.
Today, SaaS-based cloud applications and platforms make it easier for companies to create mobile apps with minimal resources, and even no coding knowledge. Drag-and-drop tools for low-code and no-code app development will continue to democratize app design in 2024.
3. Increasing Security Scrutiny
As mobile adoption has grown, along with digital transformation, the number of threats facing online consumers is also increasing. Moving into 2024, criminals will continue to target gaps and security issues in apps to gain access to personal information, payment details, and even business data.
This means companies developing mobile apps will need to take additional steps to protect their users from harm. This could mean implementing multi-factor authentication methods, advanced data encryption, or leveraging stronger API security strategies.
4. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence is influencing virtually every aspect of the mobile app landscape today. It’s contributing to the development of more advanced mobile apps at speed, thanks to generative tools that can create code in seconds. It’s also leading to the inclusion of new features in mobile apps, such as conversational chatbots capable of offering 24/7 service.
In 2024, we’re likely to see increasing demand for mobile applications that feature AI capabilities, from AI image filters, to generative AI assistants. The ability to leverage these features will be enhanced by the growing accessibility of 5G connectivity, and AI APIs.
5. Extended Reality
While the concept of extended reality – including augmented, virtual, and mixed reality – has been around for some time, it’s only recently started to explode in the mobile app landscape. Increasingly, we’re seeing countless mobile apps take advantage of augmented reality capabilities in particular, to deliver amazing customer experiences.
Augmented reality in entertainment apps can provide consumers with a more immersive gaming experience. Alternatively, in the ecommerce space, augmented reality can allow consumers to virtually try on clothes, picture what products will look like in their home, and more, allowing for a more extensive “try before you buy” experience.
6. A Wider Range of App Experiences
Although adoption of mobile apps has been soaring for many years, many people see mobile apps specifically as tools for entertainment. Games still make up a significant portion of the app marketplace. However, this is beginning to change.
Increasingly, companies are creating dedicated apps for different purposes such as:
- Delivering personalized customer support, with membership features on apps, customer portals, chatbots, self-help guides, and troubleshooting tips.
- Empowering employees with access to connected tools that combine everything from field service back office services and technical support, with team collaboration-focused messaging features.
- Transaction-focused apps for specific industries, such as banking apps in the financial sector, or on-demand apps for ordering food and goods in real-time.
7. Intuitive, Custom Experiences
In general, mobile apps are designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly than standard mobile-optimized websites. They’re specifically created to take advantage of the natural features included on mobile devices, such as GPS, gyroscopes and complex gestures.
Moreover, innovative mobile app developers are finding new ways to make the experience even more streamlined. For instance, adding integrations with smart assistants like Google’s Assistant or Apple Siri can allow people to navigate apps with just their voice, through natural language processing. Plus, many mobile apps now include customization options, which allow users to change the size of font, switch between light mode and dark mode, and even preserve battery life.
8. Beacon Technology
Finally, beacon technology isn’t exactly new in the mobile app development space, but it’s something many companies will likely take advantage of as 5G connectivity improves. Beacon technology leverages the internet of things to detect the location of a customer, and send information back to an internal system, which allows companies to send specific content to users, based on where they are.
For retail companies and restaurants, this means they have the opportunity to connect with customers using location-specific push notifications in real-time. Beacon technology can also help companies collect information about their customers and what they do when they visit a store.
Looking Ahead to the Future of Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are becoming an ever-more valuable part of the digital landscape. Not only are they some of the most-used features on today’s smartphones, but they’re also some of the most valuable tools for companies looking to engage and convert their customers.
If you’re planning on developing a mobile app for your business in the next year, make sure you take these trends into account, so you can create the best experience for your customers.