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6 App Development Trends That Came Out of the Pandemic

6 App Development Trends That Came Out of the Pandemic

The mobile app market has boomed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In Q3 2020 alone, consumers downloaded 33 million apps, spending a record $28 billion on them. Usage also skyrocketed, with people spending more than 180 billion hours on apps each month in mid-2020.

App usage has grown upward and shifted. How people interact with mobile apps and what they expect from them has changed amid the pandemic. These changes, in turn, have reshaped app development.

Here are six app development trends that have emerged or grown amid COVID-19.

1. Data Privacy

Cybercrime saw a troubling rise throughout the pandemic, placing app security in the spotlight. While harmful apps account for only 0.6% of app store content, consumers have become more aware of their data’s vulnerability. Stories of high-profile breaches have populated the news, leading to growing concern among users.

Consequently, consumers are starting to expect more from developers in terms of privacy and security. Users want to know their data is safe from prying eyes, so apps will become more transparent about their privacy measures. Increased security features and increased security controls are more important than ever to app developers now.

Smartphone companies have also taken steps toward this goal. Apple now gives users the option to ask apps not to track their data when they open them for the first time.

2. Remote Collaboration

A less grave trend that has emerged amid COVID-19 is a shift toward working from home. Many businesses adopted remote work policies at the pandemic’s onset, and 67% plan to keep them in place long term. This shift has led to a rising demand for apps that enable remote collaboration.

As businesses transition into distributed environments, traditional work software becomes outdated. Teams need tools to communicate, work, manage projects and track productivity remotely. Apps that can provide these solutions in an affordable, scalable and secure package can see considerable growth.

Since more than two-thirds of remote workforces intend to stay remote for some time, this trend will persist beyond the pandemic. App development will continue to favor tools that let people collaborate in real-time across distances. While this market may become saturated, there’s plenty of room for unique solutions and novel methods now.

3. Chatbots

Many businesses had to reduce their workforce as the pandemic caused widespread economic pressure. Even as these companies recover and look to hire again, they find it difficult to find willing workers. As of August 2021, there were 10.4 million open positions in the U.S.

App developers have risen to the challenge of helping these businesses meet rising demand despite shortages through chatbots. While chatbots can’t solve the labor shortage, they can mitigate it by managing customer service as human employees focus on other tasks. More companies are looking to integrate chatbots into their apps as a result.

This trend won’t go away with the pandemic, either. Chatbots could save the health care, banking and retail sectors $11 billion annually by 2023, aiding post-COVID recovery. As customers grow used to talking to these bots, they may expect to see them more.

4. Fintech Services

Financial technology (fintech) apps existed long before COVID-19, but their popularity surged amid the pandemic. People who felt growing economic uncertainty sought to take more control over their finances. Fintech apps provide an answer, leading downloads to increase by 132% between 2019 and 2021.

Consumers aren’t the only ones who benefit from the control and accessibility of fintech apps. In the light of recent losses, businesses are trying to take more control through practices like choosing what specific benefits to offer through self-funded insurance. Enterprise fintech apps can help them in these initiatives.

App developers have a promising opportunity as fintech grows to replace traditional financial services. Creating apps that give consumers and companies easier, faster and safer access to their money will be increasingly profitable.

5. Beacon Technology

The pandemic also caused a dramatic rise in e-commerce as in-person shopping became risky or even unavailable. By the end of 2020, online shopping accounted for 17% of global trade, up three percentage points from 2019. As brick-and-mortar stores seek to recover, they’ll adapt, and app development plays a crucial role in that transition.

Now that e-commerce is so prevalent, businesses can profit more from omnichannel shopping experiences. Beacon technology, which uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals to locate and communicate with phones, is key to omnichannel. Retail apps that use beacon tech can register how users spend their time in-store and tailor e-commerce suggestions accordingly.

Similarly, beacons can direct shoppers to areas that will interest them based on their e-commerce history. These experiences will help in-person stores thrive in an age of online shopping. Retail app development will see increasing beacon implementation as a result.

6. Decentralized Apps

Another trend that saw remarkable growth amid the pandemic is blockchain technology. Blockchain-based technologies like cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) saw rising popularity throughout the pandemic, and not just among consumers. Some hospitals implemented blockchain tracking systems to manage vaccine shipments.

This rise in blockchain’s popularity has created an opportunity for decentralized apps (dApps). These apps, which run on a blockchain instead of a single computer, can give consumers more control over their data. Given recent cybersecurity and privacy concerns, it’s hard to ignore that advantage.

Now that more people are familiar with blockchain, more will find it easier to trust dApps. App developers using this technology can provide transparency and control, which mobile users are increasingly interested in. DApp development could become a standard part of the industry before long.

The Pandemic Has Shifted App Priorities

COVID-19 will be a historical turning point for many industries, including app development. These six trends are just a sampling of how the pandemic has affected users’ tastes, desires and needs. While the app industry has grown, it won’t be the same after COVID.

Mobile users’ priorities are different now, and app development is shifting to meet them. These changes present a challenge for some developers and enticing opportunities for others. Those that can capitalize on these shifts could see substantial growth in the next few years.

The mobile app market has boomed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In Q3 2020 alone, consumers downloaded 33 million apps, spending a record $28 billion on them. Usage also skyrocketed, with people spending more than 180 billion hours on apps each month in mid-2020.

App usage has grown upward and shifted. How people interact with mobile apps and what they expect from them has changed amid the pandemic. These changes, in turn, have reshaped app development.

Here are six app development trends that have emerged or grown amid COVID-19.

1. Data Privacy

Cybercrime saw a troubling rise throughout the pandemic, placing app security in the spotlight. While harmful apps account for only 0.6% of app store content, consumers have become more aware of their data’s vulnerability. Stories of high-profile breaches have populated the news, leading to growing concern among users.

Consequently, consumers are starting to expect more from developers in terms of privacy and security. Users want to know their data is safe from prying eyes, so apps will become more transparent about their privacy measures. Increased security features and increased security controls are more important than ever to app developers now.

Smartphone companies have also taken steps toward this goal. Apple now gives users the option to ask apps not to track their data when they open them for the first time.

2. Remote Collaboration

A less grave trend that has emerged amid COVID-19 is a shift toward working from home. Many businesses adopted remote work policies at the pandemic’s onset, and 67% plan to keep them in place long term. This shift has led to a rising demand for apps that enable remote collaboration.

As businesses transition into distributed environments, traditional work software becomes outdated. Teams need tools to communicate, work, manage projects and track productivity remotely. Apps that can provide these solutions in an affordable, scalable and secure package can see considerable growth.

Since more than two-thirds of remote workforces intend to stay remote for some time, this trend will persist beyond the pandemic. App development will continue to favor tools that let people collaborate in real-time across distances. While this market may become saturated, there’s plenty of room for unique solutions and novel methods now.

3. Chatbots

Many businesses had to reduce their workforce as the pandemic caused widespread economic pressure. Even as these companies recover and look to hire again, they find it difficult to find willing workers. As of August 2021, there were 10.4 million open positions in the U.S.

App developers have risen to the challenge of helping these businesses meet rising demand despite shortages through chatbots. While chatbots can’t solve the labor shortage, they can mitigate it by managing customer service as human employees focus on other tasks. More companies are looking to integrate chatbots into their apps as a result.

This trend won’t go away with the pandemic, either. Chatbots could save the health care, banking and retail sectors $11 billion annually by 2023, aiding post-COVID recovery. As customers grow used to talking to these bots, they may expect to see them more.

4. Fintech Services

Financial technology (fintech) apps existed long before COVID-19, but their popularity surged amid the pandemic. People who felt growing economic uncertainty sought to take more control over their finances. Fintech apps provide an answer, leading downloads to increase by 132% between 2019 and 2021.

Consumers aren’t the only ones who benefit from the control and accessibility of fintech apps. In the light of recent losses, businesses are trying to take more control through practices like choosing what specific benefits to offer through self-funded insurance. Enterprise fintech apps can help them in these initiatives.

App developers have a promising opportunity as fintech grows to replace traditional financial services. Creating apps that give consumers and companies easier, faster and safer access to their money will be increasingly profitable.

5. Beacon Technology

The pandemic also caused a dramatic rise in e-commerce as in-person shopping became risky or even unavailable. By the end of 2020, online shopping accounted for 17% of global trade, up three percentage points from 2019. As brick-and-mortar stores seek to recover, they’ll adapt, and app development plays a crucial role in that transition.

Now that e-commerce is so prevalent, businesses can profit more from omnichannel shopping experiences. Beacon technology, which uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals to locate and communicate with phones, is key to omnichannel. Retail apps that use beacon tech can register how users spend their time in-store and tailor e-commerce suggestions accordingly.

Similarly, beacons can direct shoppers to areas that will interest them based on their e-commerce history. These experiences will help in-person stores thrive in an age of online shopping. Retail app development will see increasing beacon implementation as a result.

6. Decentralized Apps

Another trend that saw remarkable growth amid the pandemic is blockchain technology. Blockchain-based technologies like cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) saw rising popularity throughout the pandemic, and not just among consumers. Some hospitals implemented blockchain tracking systems to manage vaccine shipments.

This rise in blockchain’s popularity has created an opportunity for decentralized apps (dApps). These apps, which run on a blockchain instead of a single computer, can give consumers more control over their data. Given recent cybersecurity and privacy concerns, it’s hard to ignore that advantage.

Now that more people are familiar with blockchain, more will find it easier to trust dApps. App developers using this technology can provide transparency and control, which mobile users are increasingly interested in. DApp development could become a standard part of the industry before long.

The Pandemic Has Shifted App Priorities

COVID-19 will be a historical turning point for many industries, including app development. These six trends are just a sampling of how the pandemic has affected users’ tastes, desires and needs. While the app industry has grown, it won’t be the same after COVID.

Mobile users’ priorities are different now, and app development is shifting to meet them. These changes present a challenge for some developers and enticing opportunities for others. Those that can capitalize on these shifts could see substantial growth in the next few years.

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