Since the first mobile applications started to appear in 2010, consumers have embraced their flexibility to a major extent. These days, we’re all using mobile apps on a daily basis, carrying out many different functions for work and for leisure. So what makes these apps so popular, and which are leading the way in the current market? We take a look at mobile trends in 2015 and beyond, and how our lives have been changed through this fingertip technology.
HOW MOBILE APPS HAVE CHANGED AND DEVELOPED
When the first mobile applications appeared on the scene, productivity was their main aim. Bringing functions such as email and calendar tracking to mobile devices for the first time, this was a revolution in technology. Since then, other industries have caught on to the useful technology and brought in games, e-commerce, social media and more.
Over 95% of the British public carries a mobile device with them, and studies from Ofcom show that two thirds of these phones are internet enabled smartphones. That’s a wide market for app developers. The average person, in the US, downloads and uses about 30 apps every month, and between 5-7 apps on a daily basis. Britain is no different to its international counterparts in this respect, and the majority of the public access their favourite applications on a daily basis.
They make it so much easier to access services on the go, and have started integrating other technology such as GPS tracking, contactless payments and camera functions. Not only do these innovative applications make life easier for their users, but they are helping companies become more connected with employees and customers.
THE MOBILE-FRIENDLY WEB IS CHANGING MARKETING
A study by Barclays estimates that by 2024, 42% of all UK sales made will take place on a smartphone or tablet. Currently, the majority of people’s mobile searches involve consumer products, with 65% of people making searches for fashion and 42% hunting for electronics.
A key factor in the growth of mobile apps is their free status. Consumers are used to having to pay extra for convenience, but app downloads tend to provide a free way to interact with companies and engage with services. Among the top free downloads are leading email providers Gmail, navigation site Google Maps and video upload hub YouTube: Google is leading the way in mobile apps, just as they are in web search. However, other developers are also making serious headway in the mobile market: popular game Angry Birds, video calling network Skype and photo-sharing centre Instagram all have over one million downloads each and continue to grow.
WHO IS USING MOBILE APPLICATIONS?
Studies suggest that women spend slightly more time using mobile apps than their male counterparts but the difference is slight. Traditionally, younger people were quicker to embrace mobile apps and therefore social media and gaming grew quickly. However, other industries are not far behind. Travel and tourism, shopping and even corporate management can all be achieved through simple, easy-to-use mobile functions. Now, mobile applications are used by all ages, with child-friendly and senior-focused apps. Although people download large numbers of mobile apps, most users return to the same four or five applications on a daily basis. This wide market is also a highly competitive one.
15% of surveyed consumers said that they use mobile apps more than any other method of web access. A further 27% use mobile and web equally. As mobile phones are so close to hand and Wi-Fi connections become more available, it’s easier than ever to connect with businesses and services through tablets, smartphones and other devices.
THE BENEFITS OF EMBRACING MOBILE APPS
If you run a business, mobile applications can cut your costs and save you time. Productivity innovation is everywhere, with employee organizers, GPS tracking systems and more at the touch of a button. Sellers can reach out to a wider market and have local visitors check-in, and mobile apps are also proven to lead to a greater take-up of discounts and offers.
This technology is also being used to protect us. Whether you want to monitor your phone’s location in case of theft, make sure you get home safely from a night out or keep your passwords and financial details secure in a digital wallet, smart technology is making it possible. You can also manage your health through your apps with condition-specific trackers, exercise and diet planners, motivation for habit cessation and anti-anxiety programs.
It’s great to see just how far this technology has come so far – but where will it take us in the future? Several mobile apps have begun experimenting with virtual and augmented reality, and others have integrated USB and Bluetooth devices to allow our phones to control our environment. Communication with others across the world is free and simple, and businesses are no longer limited to their own geographical reach. From booking holidays to finding recipes, mobile apps answer those problems for which we want instant solutions, and offer new ways to work with the world we live in.