In 1997, Nokia developed a basic version of the arcade game “Snake” and gave it a free offering and its mobile apps. This is popularly regarded as the first mobile app ever built.
Then, in 2008, Steve Jobs introduced the App Store to the world. It would become the seminal idea upon which the modern world of mobile apps are built, distributed, and rated.
Ever since then, mobile apps have become part and parcel of our everyday lives. Along with the times, mobile app development has also undergone a seachange. Especially in terms of the cost involved in building and launching a mobile app. Also, mobile apps generate Billions in revenue that traditional businesses have only dreamt of earning.
“In 2018, global mobile app revenues amounted to over 365 billion U.S. dollars. In 2023, mobile apps are projected to generate more than 935 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via paid downloads and in-app advertising”
Niche mobile apps earn significantly
There are about 1.96 Billion mobile apps available for download in app stores and play stores. However, not all mobile apps that are launched in app stores and play stores become runaway successes. Only 5% of apps accounted for 92% of downloads in 2013.
Thanks to cross-platform app development, DIY models, and zero code app development frameworks, it has become easier for anyone to build their own mobile app. However, building a mobile app that has a unique character, targets a specific niche, and wins users is still hard.
To make things challenging, users usually uninstall their mobile apps within 90 days of installation. There is also the trend of installing and installing apps as soon as the purpose is taken care of.
This makes mobile apps that deliver niche services a unicorn of sorts in the app world. They are the ones that keep growing theory Daily Active Users even in the face of stiff competition.
Word of mouth marketing is huge for mobile apps
Mobile apps usually get popular in three ways. First, they go viral on social media platforms. Second, users find them through App search. App Store Optimization (ASO) plays a crucial role in maximizing app visibility amidst countless other apps.
Furthermore, most apps get their downloads due to word-of-mouth marketing. Users who find value in a mobile app suggest them to their near and dear ones. Seeing the surge in downloads through Word of Mouth Marketing, most mobile app[ developers are now integrating a referral scheme that maximizes downloads and usage. This is a trend that we could not have envisioned a few years ago when referral schemes were restricted to offline business models.
Mobile apps are looked upon as independent brands
Uber. Headspace. Amazon. These are three of the countless mobile apps that have become a brand of their own. The mobile apps of these brands are more popular and frequented than their offline stores or other channels. What has caused this shift in customer perspective?
Mobile apps are now looked upon as brands themselves by customers. Incidentally, mobile apps offer more visibility, ease-of-use, loyalty points, and many other conveniences. From the business perspective, it is the easiest way to collect user data that can help in further optimizing the services. It is no surprise that most brands are first focusing on building their mobile apps before delving into sales and marketing models.
Security and data privacy have become top priorities
In their beginning days, mobile apps lacked the security and privacy features that they boast of today. Both App Store and Play Store struggled to keep malicious apps away from disrupting user lives. Several security mishaps even made users skeptical of using mobile apps extensively in their daily lives.
However, the situation has reversed during the past couple of years. Today, app development puts greater emphasis on securing the app from all kinds of cyberattacks. Additional measures are also taken to help users protect their private data from being stolen or accessed by unauthorized personnel. Specific laws and regulations, especially in the European Union, have been passed to ensure user data’s safe handling and processing. These developments have made mobile apps a safe haven compared to the melting pot of cybercrimes that they used to a little while ago.
Mobile app development costs have come down
Abundant availability of app developers. Cross-platform app development. A massive reduction in commodity hardware. All these factors have caused a steep decline in the cost of mobile app development.
Simultaneously, the costs have become more segmented too. For instance, the prices of app development can be easily segmented into three types:
- Basic apps – Apps that use basic features like cameras, maps, calculators, etc.
- Complex apps – Apps that perform additional functions like loyalty schemes, taking measurements based on sensors, etc.
- Custom apps – Apps that use AI, ML, and similar advanced technologies for performing complex functions and predictions.
The cost of app development will also vary based on the type of app being built.
The way ahead for mobile app development
From the first ‘Snake’ game on keypad phones to building mobile apps for IoT devices and foldable phones, mobile app development has come a long way. With every passing year, it is growing with leaps and strides by introducing new technologies considered sci-fi in the past.
The suite of mixed reality technologies consisting of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality also paves new paths for immersive user experiences. The future of mobile app development does not conclude here. There are still more developments in store for mobile app development.