Mobile applications have become one of the key elements of digital transformation. The frequently repeated phrase “the mobile year" has been with us for at least 10 years and it’s still relevant. The market has constantly been evolving since Apple showed their first iPhone in 2007 and HTC presented the first smartphone with Android a year later. While the new hardware is just other camera lenses and greater pixel density on screens, the greatest potential of the mobile industry is currently oriented in software engineering. 

Over the past 8 years alone, the value of the mobile application market has grown by more than 300%. Analysts assume that its value will reach USD 188.9 billion this year. This makes the application market one of the fastest growing industries. What’s more, there are no signs of it slowing down in the future either. It looks like 2020 will be another “mobile year”. Both consumers as well as enterprises will have more opportunities to use new technologies, develop their businesses and simplify everyday life. Here are the top mobile app development trends which will certainly dominate the industry this year.

Augmented reality 

Augmented reality is something that most people associate with the gaming industry. No wonder, considering that Pokemon GO broke its revenue record in 2019. The game earned USD 894 million, which is 10% more than the year in which it debuted on Google Play and the App Store. As of February 2019, the game has been downloaded by over 1 billion people worldwide. Such a phenomenon does not happen often, but game developers will definitely want to reach for AR more willingly. Moreover, the development of iOS and Android applications based on augmented reality is much easier since Apple and Google presented their proprietary solutions for software engineering - ARKit and ARCore. Dedicated tools will surely accelerate the pace of AR technology development in the mobile apps’ world.

As a matter of fact, augmented reality is not just entertainment. Viewing virtual objects and buildings in real world scenery is becoming more and more popular in industries such as marketing & advertising, healthcare, construction and development, travel, and education. Applications that use AR create an amazing experience for smartphone users and help businesses in selling specific services and products.

Instant Apps (App Clips and Google Play Instant)

A few weeks ago, Apple unveiled a preview of iOS 14. One of its innovations is App Clips - mini versions of apps working on the device without having to be installed. In fact, it wasn’t anything new. A similar concept was presented by Google in 2017 as Google Play Instant. Both of these solutions have great potential but since Apple joined the game, we can count on the increase in popularity of this trend on both Android and iOS. Users will no longer have to download applications that they will only be using for a few minutes. Moreover, these applications will work on low-budget smartphones and will be a good solution for those who have limited data transfer. It’s the perfect example of digital transformation that makes mobile applications even more user-friendly, and where software engineering meets the needs of consumers.

Additionally, App Clips presented by Apple may change how we use smartphones in public spaces. This technology can be used in a variety of situations and contexts. People will launch the “mini apps” by scanning an NFC tag or a visual code. It has huge marketing potential in the sectors of vehicle rental, restaurants, cafes, shops, cultural institutions and many more industries.

UX/UI Design

According to Statista, there are 2.56 million apps on Google Play and 1.85 million on the App Store. Users often have to choose between hundreds of titles offering the same features. The best way to stand out is to personalize and optimize the user experience and improve the user interface. In 2020, more and more companies will want to stand out with their unique experience. It should also be remembered that ease of use is one of the most important factors affecting the selection of a mobile app by the user. As you can see UX and UI are the keys to acquiring new customers and gaining user loyalty.

It is also worth adding that new tools are constantly appearing on the market to help design and improve application interfaces. Predictive analytics based on user data is more and more effective. We know the habits of consumers better and we can adapt our services to them. With each subsequent year, creating UX and UI will be easier and improved apps will fulfill their tasks even better.

Chatbots 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning mechanisms are increasingly used in software engineering. Chatbots are one of the most popular commercial uses of these technologies. When it comes to the commercial use of these technologies, chatbots are gaining increasing popularity. They not only allow for personalizing people's experience with applications but also help to better understand customers and quickly solve their problems. What’s more, mobile apps with AI integration can save a lot of a company’s money that had to be spent on consultants and support.

According to Juniper Research, by 2022, chatbots will save businesses an aggregate of over USD 8 billion per year. Considering that as much as 67% of people around the world used chatbot support in the past year, it is worth thinking about this innovation while conducting a digital transformation of a company.

M-commerce and mobile wallets 

The last trend not to be missed is the dynamically growing m-commerce industry. Buying and selling products and services via mobile apps is still gaining popularity, not to mention traffic from websites that are visited from mobile browsers. Business Insider experts estimate that by 2024, m-commerce will reach 44% of the entire e-commerce market. Native applications created for online stores and brands will be another way to improve the shopping process and build bonds with customers who rarely take leave of their smartphones.

Speaking of finance, you can’t forget about mobile wallets. Consumers equally care about convenient payments and transaction security. Mobile wallets and payment getaways integrated with mobile apps combine both. In the world of digital transformation, mobile wallets are also a great tool for retaining loyal customers and boosting loyalty programs. Popular store chains are increasingly giving up on paper and plastic cards, replacing them with dedicated applications that offer not only discounts, but also a virtual wallet. This trend will be even more visible over the next few years.