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14 Top mobile app development trends in 2021

2021 is expected to become the year of mobile apps. This year, advanced technologies became available for most of the Earth population, and the number of Internet-connected gadgets became much bigger than the number of their users. 


However, apps trends of 2021 are controversial. The augmented reality mobile commerce will increase the level of global consumerism. 5G Internet standard will soon make it possible for users to choose insecure cloud services and instead of keeping databases inside their devices. And Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence technologies development is likely to kill lots of well-paid human professions. 

Let’s look upon main applications trends to decide whether we are living in times of opportunities or approaching the economical abyss.



#1 Machine Learning and AI App Development


Global AI industry revenue, 2016—2025


By the end of 2021, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry is expected to rise to $40 billion. Although AI is not the phenomenon of 2021, this year, the technology was finally spread on most global market segments and became widely used by regular mobile device holders. 


Such apps as Google Assistant, Siri, and Replica now become extremely powerful and reliable comparing to their past versions. They learn from you and execute various tasks using the Internet of Things connections improving our life quality.


Similar processes of improving the quality of services with AI occur in healthcare and agricultural sector, as well as banking.


AI-powered Machine Learning (ML) or just Deep Learning approaches are used by marketers to study user behavior and improve products. That helps to save money on inaccurate audience researches in forms of oral polls and direct user feedback writing. 


Recent mobile app trends study says, that most actively AI is used to improve information technologies (security instructions detection and user problems resolving). Other areas fortified by AI technology are marketing, finance, and customer service. 


In 2017, ML-based mobile apps development is focused on such tasks as production management automation (34%), anticipating future customer purchases (19%) and trading automation (17%). These days, sales and manufacturing also remain among the leaders. 

#2 Mobile Commerce App Development


In 2021, conversion rates from e-commerce mobile apps are up to 70% higher than mobile sites and 53% of mobile device users buy using apps of manufacturers or retailers. Why? People get accustomed to mobile apps and find them more convenient than mobile sites to choose and purchase goods. 


According to the Google survey, 66% of mobile commerce apps users buy goods online at least once a week. The fact that 9 of 10 smartphone users keep their mobile gadget nearby all the time sounds also promising if you look on it from the marketing point of view — by sending alerts and notifications you can sale more! And here are some proofs: people spend around 50% more money during online shopping than offline ones. 


M-commerce app trends are diverse. First of all, most brands tend to develop an engaging mobile app for selling goods in one touch. Second, m-commerce speeds up IoT development: fast emotional purchases need to be supported by automated side services like stock managing and delivery. 


Third, to encourage users to make orders m-commerce platforms integrate AI and AR modules into their apps. The first one helps brands to make personalized offers to their customers. The second makes the feel of shopping online closer to the feel of visiting a real store. 


Why customers switch to mobile e-commerce platforms? Convenience, high speed, filters, rewards for using an app, personalized content — that is how the answer sounds. Keep this in mind while developing your app for shoppers. 

#3 Wearable App Integration


Wearable apps are those that can be run on mobile devices worn by a person as an accessory or regular clothes. The technology was first implemented in 2009, and by the end of 2021, the wearable software market value is expected to reach $929 million (twice more than in 2017).  


Wearable gadgets interconnect with the user’s main mobile device and updates using its Internet access or, rarely, they are directly connected to the Internet through mobile network or Wi-Fi. 


Examples of wearable hardware: fitness-tracking bands, smartwatches, smart glasses, and smart jewelry including rings and pins. Regarding their functionality, they differ in design. Most common functions assigned to wearable devices are those:

  • Collecting data on a user's health (heart rate, steps, calories burned, blood pressure, exercising time, etc.)
  • Entertaining — showing media content, creating it, and giving access to virtual reality games
  • Fashion issues such as creating smart dresses and accessories have a better fit and can be interactive    


Survey on modern trends in mobile apps shows that the most profitable wearable apps of 2021 were developed in fitness, healthcare, and industrial categories. Customization and online transaction categories are also among leaders. In 2021, the wearable device segment global revenue is likely to grow to $34 billion

#4 Internet of Things (IoT) App Development

IoT: number of connected devices, 2015—2025   


In 2018, the number of Internet of Things connected devices reached 10 billion and now it continues to grow. At the same time, around 120 new IoT devices are believed to become a part of the network each second of 2021. That turned IoT app development into one of the most profitable application development trends. 


What is IoT? The Internet of Things is a network of physical devices that requires fewer actions from the user’s side to proceed useful household, financial, trading, and other operations. 


IoT is powered by software including IoT apps, gadgets, secure networking links, and sensors. The bright example of its usage is automated manufacture robots execute production and delivery tasks while automatically updating apps run online shops to offer production to end-users


AI algorithms, cloud databases, Internet-connected hardware, and tracking devices are the fundamental elements of IoT. However, there is also a user interface aspect that should be handled by app designers and developers. 


In 2021, IoT approaches are being used in various sectors. Healthcare, finances, global trading, production, agriculture, and retail were the most lively among them. Most demanded IoT-based apps are appearing in an individual household, transport, healthcare, building, and smart city management niches. Read more about IoT business opportunities.   

#5 Chatbots Development for Apps


Mobile app development trends 2021 show that the next user generation wants to save as much time as possible with their devices. Users tend to study, buy, meet, and receive information online instead of investing their resources in offline communications. The challenge of 2021 sounds like this — could we make your smartphones even more smart to assist us better? 


There was 50 years ago when the very first chatbot was launched. Its name was ELIZA and its task was to simulate a Rogerian psychotherapist. Chatbot developed before the 2000s did not differ much.   


By the beginning of 2010, chatbots had been mainly used in the scientific area. Recent AI discoveries make it possible to turn chatbot into our daily assistants. 


The most successful standalone chatbots apps of nowadays are Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and Amazon Echo. However, we meet chatbot wherever we can chat or just need assistance — on Facebook, inside banking apps, or at online shops. 


Chatbots helped business owners to reduce costs spent on the support team and serve more users per hour. No surprises, that in 2017, the Chatbot market was estimated at $946 million and by 2023, it is expected to reach $5,638 million globally. 


Experts believe that chatbots growing revenue means that the After-Apps Decade has come. The key idea of new tech period is following — people do not need more apps, they want to use apps they are already accustomed to (users’ preferred environment) for executing all daily life tasks at once. Chatbots incorporated into popular messengers are a perfect tool for that. 


Digital assistants and digital friends, therapist bots, foreign language tutors, legal and medical Q&A bots, and bot-writers are chatbot types that are most demanded. The most popular free chatbots of 2021 are Watson Assistant, Bold360, Rulai, and LivePerson. 

#6 Augmented Reality Apps Development


AR market potential and areas statistics


3D driving maps, realistic gaming, and interactive learning out-of-the-class… Augmented and virtual reality phenomenon was already called the achievement of the century.


Both standalone and embedded augmented reality (AR) mobile apps are expected to increase their revenue soon. There are several reasons for that. First and foremost, 5G Internet standard is coming. It will make it possible to implement an augmented reality approach everywhere from educational to the production sector. The second reason is the augmented reality hardware development which will also affect the latest app trends.


To estimate the speed of augmented industry development, let’s compare global statistics. In 2016, the revenue from apps working with AR was up to $725.4 million. And in 2021, the industry is expected to generate around $3.4 billion! 


Virtual reality (VR) is also considered to be the trend. However, it has fewer areas for implementation. Games are the main one. On its turn, AR conquered healthcare industry, education, industrial design, social media, and manufacturing. In 2021, experts predict VR and AR to become affordable for a small business which means that soon we’ll benefit from the technology in most B2C areas. 


The most popular AR mobile applications are following: Google Translate (translates text from real-time video), Night Sky and Star Walk for those who like smart stargazing, IKEA Place that allows you to place virtual 3D furniture in your home, and SnapChat which is known for its AR masks.   

#7 Instant App Development


Instant apps development is one of the freshest mobile development trends. Now the technology can be implemented on Android devices only, but they predict the global raising of it within the next years. 


Instant apps are called those that do not require installing from Google Play Market. 


Don’t mix instant apps with mobile web sites! Instant apps spend almost no mobile resources or device internal storage as it is running directly from the Internet. You follow the link to the instant app, check if you’d like to use it and then start using it without or after downloading. 


Instant app technology by Android solves lots of critical problems about app usage:

  • Instant apps increase chances of target action to be executed by user (it could be an online purchase, subscription or contacting the company).
  • Instant apps need minimum resources for being run so they are more accessible for users. 25% of users regularly delete installed apps from their devices to free up the storage. With instant apps, they don’t need to do so!
  • Instant apps are as flexible, convenient, and user-oriented as native apps — they offer an advanced UX with animation and personalized interface. 


However, an instant app needs a stable Internet connection and high internet speed. Usually, it doesn’t have offline features as well. 


Let us name some pioneers of instant apps market: Skyscanner, Buzzfeed, and Onefootball are those you need to check if you’ve got an Android device! 


Are you ready for new challenges of the time?

Then go ahead. And our team will help you get the most out of 2021 innovations


#8 Mobile Wallets App Development


E-commerce including m-commerce is another application trend of 2021. Most services and goods could be now purchased or ordered online which caused an increasing demand on payment services. Convenient all-in wallet apps are now highly requested by digital shoppers and the industry develops at a rapid pace.


Digital wallets in the form of an app are believed to be the core unit of nowadays e-commerce. E-wallet consists of 2 components — a software and user data storage. 


The e-wallet niche covers self-standing mobile wallets that offer users to spend their currency on various goods as well as regular banking tools accessible from smartphones. However, there are a lot of mobile payment alternatives and concepts like peer-to-peer (P2P) payments technology hosted by banks. 


Mobile wallet app could be performed in different forms — mobile wallet platforms with client apps, P2P platforms accessible from particular bank app, and retailer apps that use e-commerce technologies and are linked to a certain number of banks. All of them are highly demanded. In 2021, up to 2.07 billion users are likely to buy with mobile wallets. 


Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are the most significant evidence of mobile wallet global usage. However, there is still some limitation that doesn’t allow those payment methods to become as popular as cash. For example, Google Pay doesn’t work without an Internet connection. 


Nevertheless, electronic payments is a second preferred method of online shoppers (39% in 2017) and global e-commerce generated over $3,633 billion last year. In a few years, virtual money is expected to be the main monetary system globally which makes the e-wallet niche attractive for investors. 

#9 Cloud Integration for Mobile App Development


Most used cloud apps of 2019


In #7 paragraph we’ve touched the topic of cloud integration for mobile app. Cloud technology is a fundamental factor that makes it possible for Android instant app to exist. However, iOS devices also use cloud databases within some apps. Here, we’d like to analyze cloud integration top mobile trend from the development scope.


Let’s make it clear: a cloud app does not use mobile device storage and runs directly from the Internet. It could be started using a web link. It is not the same as a mobile web site, but, in some cases, cloud app can be used offline. 


Cloud integration allows developers to forget about building native apps for iOS or Android and switch to instant apps to keep the same app advantages for users and even make them stronger. What’s special about cloud-based apps?

  • The app can be launched on any platform including iOS and Android and doesn’t need to be installed. Its audience is wider.
  • Cloud app development costs less. First, you need to develop only one product instead of two native apps. Second, you’ll spend fewer costs for maintaining your app.
  • You can launch the startup faster as you don’t need to spend double time on native apps development.
  • Secure and safe user cloud data storage avoid data losses or manipulations. You protect the user’s data and get extra trust from the user side. That will be also useful in case of data recovery request.
  • Easy database integration is real with cloud technologies. Everything you need you can store on the same server.
  • No updates — the app is always fresh! If you’d like to scale your app one day and overall user experience, you can do it fast and less costly.  


Cloud apps are cost-effective and extra secure. They are easy to build and scale, as well as it is easy to integrate any database to them. No wonders that in 2021, the cloud service market is expected to generate $206.2 billion and grow up to 17% comparing to the previous year. Best time for cloud startups is coming! 



#10 Beacons Technology in App Development


Mobile app industry trends are closely related to the e-commerce sector and online trading in general. Beacons technology remains one more example of standalone retail innovations that tend to shape future shopping. 


Numbers prove the Proximity Market high-speed development best. As many as 75% of retailers in the US who used beacons assumed that their profits increased by 9% and more! And at the beginning of 2021, retailers used 3.5 million beacons.


What is beacons technology and does it have any connection to app development area? Retail and HoReCa beacons are tiny Bluetooth-enabled devices that interact with customers’ smartphones. They enrich offline shopping experience by letting customers navigate through the store properly, showing product information, and guiding them through discounts. 


Retail beacons can also receive payments to speed up shopping and collect customer behavior information. Beacons interact with navigation tracking, e-payment, and push messaging services. It is aimed to help retailers sell more, save money on in-store consultants and promotional campaigns, as well as build a strong relationship with customers. 


‌‌Beacons technology needs a mobile app to connect business and its customer. In most cases, beacons works with a native app designed especially for the particular store, brand or retail network. Beacons pioneers — Macy’s, Walmart, Alex and Ani, and Levi’s Stadium Concessions. 


However, there are also an aggregator apps which collect information on offers and maps of several retail points. Examples — Launch Here, At the Ballpark, and Crowdcompass Beacons.


By 2022, the beacons tech market will be $52.46 billion worth having a 29.8% raising index compared to 2016 statistics!        

#11 Security in App Development


These years, our lives begin to depend on smartphones as never before. Last year, people downloaded various apps on their devices more than 205 billion times providing them access to personal information such as name, an email account password, financial data, and personal contacts. Moreover, apps are used by more than 40% of adults worldwide (2 billion people) which means that almost half of the world will stack if all data protection algorithms failed at the moment. 


Mobile trends of 2021 listing will not be full without mentioning security issues. In 2018,

critical vulnerabilities were found both in iOS (38%) and Android (43%) apps. In most cases, the most insecure app component was data storage. It is weak in more than 76% of all mobile apps. 


Weaknesses of security algorithms are the second biggest issue that was founded in 74% iOS apps and 57% of Android ones. Surprisingly, business experts admitted it is to be the development of roadmap drawback. To their mind, such weakness appeared as the result of 

owners' reluctance to make changes to the base program code after the layout of the application has been completed. 


Over time, the number of mobile applications that will be responsible for the vital issues of people will increase. It must not be allowed that future apps have vulnerabilities that could harm somebody’s reputation, financial situation or health. In 2021, over $124 billion is expected to be spent on information protection which is 8.7% more than last year global security budget. 


The online data protection industry has various branches. Some startups are focused on ongoing user data protection (67%), others work with personal details (46%). Other popular areas are security identification (25%) and external protection.  

#12 Blockchain App Development


Blockchain is one more mobile development trend that demonstrates high development intensity. Around $9.7 billion is the predicted estimation of the blockchain market of 2021. Compare this numbers with $945 million of 2017 and you’ll understand the value of the trend. 


Blockchain-based apps are now appearing in e-commerce, currency trading, and data protection sectors offering new data exchange tech standards and security level. 


What are we speaking about? Blockchain is a currency encryption peer-to-peer standard. 


Regardless of what type of app you are going to develop, blockchain incorporation means higher market value for your product. 


However, blockchain technology usage is limited. You can’t implement it within a new app if you don’t have any payment or trading options there. If you are planning to jump into the blockchain app development world, choose one of those operating areas where there are a certain demand for new solutions:

  • Cryptocurrency exchange
  • E-wallets
  • Cryptocurrency market monitoring
  • Blockchain-based retail sector
  • Cryptocurrency trading automation


If you’d like to focus on a particular industry, choose between insurance, finance, healthcare, and real estate sectors. In 2021, most of the cryptocurrency transactions were executed there. And let us name a couple of successful blockchain apps of recent years for you to learn from their experience: Ethereum, Steem, Brave, and Bankor. 

#13 5G Technology for App Developers


5G technology in details


5G standard which is likely to start its global usage history in 2021 was the issue that shaped most of the upcoming trends in mobile development. The 5th generation wireless network technology is expected to connect 1.5 billion devices globally in the next 5 years and become the leader standard of data transmission.


5G is the game-changing technology that will offer 1—50 Gbit/s as usual speed and become the fastest way to wireless transfer information. 


The technology is based on an electromagnetic spectrum instead of radio waves. 


It is expected that 5G will affect the mobile tech industry mostly. The maximum of its speed is up to 1 Tb/s and that is 65,000 times faster than 4G. In other words, next year, we’ll be able to implement VR, AR, and HD resolution video streaming approaches in each mobile tech segment including mobile interfaces. 360° video streaming, VR navigation tools, and augmented reality education is just a couple of examples. 


There are even more business opportunities provided by the 5G era! Productive apps for 3D industrial modeling will be developed soon, and affordable remote education will become more effective, too. 


Blazing fast and proper feedback proceeding, AI-based business management, and IoT implementation into marketing processes will also get a new impetus. 5G technology will allow us to save hardware inner storage, make the device connectivity higher, and use cloud algorithms to save and proceed business data. 

#14 On-demand App Development


Do you remember the Uber service model we’ve analyzed and estimated in our other article? Uber was a pioneer of the on-demand business approach — it was first who offered us service which price depends on the demand and became a reliable link between people who’d like to use taxi service and people who’d like to drive for money without making it a full-time job. 


These years, lots of on-demand delivery startups were launched and developed. By the end of 2025, the industry is expected to generate $335 billion revenue which is 24 times more than in 2014. 


Airbnb for tourist looking for a place to stay, Postmates for various goods delivery, and Rover for dog-caring and pet sitting — are considered to be significant examples of on-demand concept adoption. Behind the development of these platforms are teams of on-demand delivery software developers who have been working on those applications. That is one more trend mobile you may pick planning your next startup.


It is also noteworthy that over 68% of on-demand service app users have $50,000 annual income and 55% of them are aged from 25 to 44 years. In other words, on-demand services attract the most active and wealthy part of the middle class and have great commercial potential.   



Each 2021 apps trend is breathtaking! With the advent of new smart devices, IoT development, 5G breakthrough, and VR/AR capacity study the app industry has a chance to become the first in terms of investment.


Games, healthcare and finance, marketing and education — all these sectors will soon undergo major changes. For example, Beacons will help store owners to keep no staff on the trading floor and save costs. Medical assistance will become remote and more accessible due to chatbots, and production will become less costly and more customer-oriented thanks to 3D-modeling, VR product testing, and AI feedback study.


Mobile applications will soon assist us in all our daily tasks including city navigation, cash flow management, personal care, and housekeeping. As a result, more of our data will be kept on cloud services turning digital security into the main challenge of the 2021s. 



Apps trends of 2021 are controversial. The augmented reality mobile commerce will increase the level of global consumerism. 5G Internet standard will soon make it possible for users to choose insecure cloud services and instead of keeping databases inside their devices. And Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence technologies development is likely to kill lots of well-paid human professions.

Social media apps are some of the most popular types of mobile apps available. We build our social networks, and most of us check in with them every day.

These are apps created for a specific platform using the software development tools and languages supported by those operating systems.

Development of the app is one aspect but promoting it is one of the challenging tasks one needs to go through as the current market is flooded with apps. The answer is “yes” - but you also need to consider what an “app” is. Either way, making apps is definitely still worth it.

If you have an idea for an app but don’t know how to code you will need to hire software developers. They are divided into two popular types — in-house developers and outsourcing teams. Which one is better? Everything depends on your capabilities and requirements.


Are you ready for new challenges of the time?

Then go ahead. And our team will help you get the most out of 2021 innovations

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