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It is no secret that smartphones have embedded themselves in multiple aspects of our daily lives — from travel navigation to mindless animal video entertainment, and everything in between. Many of these offerings are accessed via mobile apps, which typically act as housing units for a specific service or function. These apps have become just as prevalent, standing as household names due to their convenience and innovative approaches to outdated or previously absent concepts and demands.

But are smartphone apps destined to be a longstanding part of our society’s technological landscape, or are they simply another trend in a much bigger chain of events? Here is a quick look at apps’ immediate future.

 

Room to expand

Despite its already large size, the mobile app market maintains a fairly high ceiling in terms of its chances to expand. The market’s current dominating financial presence is projected to magnify in the next few years, with gross annual revenue expected to exceed $189 billion by 2020. Since customers are only continuing to evolve based on changing needs and expectations from their mobile devices, this projected growth reflects an optimistic future for the market — especially when paired with the notion that only around “46% of the world’s population owned smartphones at the end of 2016.” In short, apps have a lot of room to grow.

 

The rise of aggregation

A sub-trend encapsulated in the smartphone app movement is the increase in aggregation-based apps. These types of apps typically focus on insights or services rooted in the comprehensive conclusions drawing from a number of users, reviewers, or other commentators contributing to a conclusive notion. Prevalent examples of aggregation apps include Flixster (by Rotten Tomatoes), an app aimed at the scoring of films via aggregated critic ideologies and Yelp, a service that joins hundreds of business reviews to assign each business a definitive score. However, many other app-based services, such as Uber and Amazon, are turning to aggregated scoring concepts to provide a better user experience and to reflect the general whims and demands of their target audiences (bad Uber drivers are labeled as such through a series of negative reviews, etc.). These notions seem to imply a continued increase in aggregation features, with focus likely shifting to the ways in which the accuracy of these features can be perfected.

More m-commerce

Increased emphasis on mobile commerce (m-commerce) stands as a potentially major trend for the next few years. Marutitech points to a “positive trend in mobile purchases” that should “ continue over the next 4 years as more and more consumers adapt to m-commerce,” pointing to apps like Apple Pay and Google wallet as main facilitators and trendsetters for further m-commerce advancements. Additionally, apps such as Venmo continue to gain a progressively bigger following amongst users focused on price splitting and repayment in casual settings (such as food delivery scenarios and online concert ticket purchasing).