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2018's Mobile Trends

2018’s Mobile Trends Still Going Strong

We’re more than halfway through 2018, and the mobile market continues to grow and change. However, some trends have remained consistent and strong throughout the year.

Near the end of 2017, we looked at new and growing trends. Now we’re looking at how they’ve affected today’s app ecosystem and if they’ve lasted. What are they, and how have they changed since the start of the year?

App Store Optimization

To call ASO a trend does little service to the importance of optimizing apps. Good ASO requires keeping up with all user trends and changes in the App Stores. There have been many changes to both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and the best practices for ASO have changed accordingly. Apple Search Ads now include creative sets, Google Play is testing the feature graphic impacts and frequently updates the Play Store while the Apple App Store now allows up to ten screenshots – all these changes and more cause seismic shifts in the ASO ecosystem.

It is because of ASO that apps can maintain high rankings and relevance within the app stores whenever changes and shifts occur. It’s the key to maintaining installs and views on the App Stores throughout every trend, making it essential in an ever-shifting ecosystem.Throughout all the changes, ASO remains not just a trend, but a necessity for app developers and marketers.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) has continued to progress and grow since it first went mainstream with Pokémon GO in 2016. The advancements in AR technology have taken the concept beyond games, and AR has steadily been integrated into shopping apps, navigation, and more. Its presence in mobile games has also been growing, especially with games such as Jurassic World(TM) Alive.

AR has reached the point where both Apple and Google are making a concentrated effort to improve Augmented Reality on their devices. Apple revealed the ARKit 2 at WWDC 2018, while Google announced at their annual conference, Google I/O, that they would be adding further ARCore support to their devices.

The number of apps using AR has been steadily increasing as well, with a growth from 1,950 ARKit-enabled apps in the first quarter of 2018 to 2,200 apps and over 60 million users in Q2. The potential and users for AR continues to grow, and it does not seem to be slowing.

Business and Shopping Apps

It seems that no matter where you shop, there’s an app for that business. This extends beyond online shopping, although there are plenty of those, and encompasses stores of all shapes and sizes.

Successful shopping apps are seeing anywhere from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of users each month, with Amazon as the leader of the pack by far. The variety of shopping apps continues to grow, as it includes sellers such as Amazon, resellers such as Craigslist, individual stores like Best Buy or Target and even individual creatives like Etsy.

Shopping apps are currently seeing increasing profits, following a 54% growth in 2017. Mobile shopping is growing across devices and demographics and is poised for another successful year of growth as well.

Apps for specific businesses are on the rise, not just in terms of purchases online, but for membership perks such as discounts for recurring customers or being able to order food for pickup. Small businesses are also benefitting from having their own apps, joining in on the e-commerce market and the growing value it provides.

Regardless of the size of the business or the kind of commerce, shopping and business apps are a trend that is only going to keep growing.

Instant Apps

The growth of Android’s Instant Apps has been slow until now but has taken off in recent months. While previously limited to a few games, Instant Apps have been expanding to more apps since 2018’s Google I/O conference.

Instant Apps are essentially free demos offered on Android devices, allowing users to try apps before properly buying/installing them. They’re already seeing great success in increasing conversion rates – such as a 27% conversion increase for Jet and a 55% engagement increase for Onefootball – so more apps will begin utilizing instant apps as the trend continues to grow.

However, the growth of Instant Apps is also tied to the first two ongoing trends: AR and shopping.

With Google’s integration of ARCore to instant apps, the company created new possibilities for finding and launching apps during one’s everyday life. Google has enabled people to view items such as clothes or accessories with their camera through augmented reality and launch a shopping app as an Instant App to purchase them. Thus, we get a blend of AR, e-commerce and Instant Apps, accelerating and improving all three trends.

Wearable Technology

Wearable tech has found a nice niche and remains a solid trend in the app world. In addition to apps for devices like the Apple Watch, fitness apps have been embracing wearables for fitness wristwear and activity trackers.

The revenue and users for wearables have been steadily climbing, bringing in billions in profits and over 341 million users in 2018. Projections from Gartner suggest that the market will only continue to grow, expecting over 504 million sales of units by 2021. So not only is wearable tech an ongoing trend, but the future looks bright for it as well.

What Else? What’s Next?

As apps and technology advance, the trends will always shift and change accordingly. However, we can follow the trends to see which ones continue to grow and which are passing fads. It’s clear that these trends are still on the rise, and we’ll continue to see them evolve through the rest of the year and into 2019.

App Store Turns 10

Apple’s App Store Turns 10 – How Has it Changed?

Ten years ago, Apple launched its App Store and reshaped the way we use mobile devices. Suffice to say, the app ecosystem has changed significantly in that time, and the app economy is on track to be worth over 6 billion by 2021. With ten years behind us and an infinite future ahead, it’s time to look back and see how the world of apps has changed.

How it Started

When the Apple App Store first launched, it had a mere 500 apps available. Several apps that do still exist today were just a shadow of what they would one day become, such as Facebook’s minimalist newsfeed. Other apps that are commonplace today, such as Twitter – which didn’t release its app until 2010 – didn’t even exist then. Many of the websites and mobile services that users are so used to having readily available had yet to create apps.

Many of the first apps available were simply experiments of the iPhone’s functionality or an avenue for brief amusement. Take iBeer and Lightsaber Unleashed: these were ranked in the App Store’s Top 10 while only filling the screen with beer or creating lightsaber sound effects. In fact, there was a novelty app called “I Am Rich,” priced at $999.99, which consisted solely of a glowing red button that boasted about how rich the user is.

Lightsabers Unleashed

Suffice to say, the app environment was a very different beast in its early days.

How it Has Grown

Today the App Store hosts over 2 million apps, a significant increase from its original 500. The saying “There’s an app for that” is truer than ever. We use apps to check on our homes during vacation, to order food, to buy movie tickets, connect remotely with friends and colleagues all over the world, and of course, for games.

Previously top-rated apps have shifted dramatically as well. Novelty apps are a thing of the past, and new tools and social networks have risen. Man apps relied on existing services and were simply a convenient mobile extension. Today, entire businesses, games and services are built with the App Store at their core. Few would have predicted that we’d be using apps to ask for rides from strangers, but now we have ride-sharing apps like Uber. Meanwhile, apps like Koi Pond no longer exist as the app economy has moved on.

Notably, Facebook has managed to remain relevant and constantly update throughout all these years, consistently maintaining a spot in the top 10 free apps. That is due in large part to its updating and adapting to the changing app environment. Other apps, including mobile games like Angry Birds, have managed to remain popular and relevant by becoming a brand and releasing new versions and spinoffs while improving.

How Times Have Changed

Technology has advanced since the early days of the App Store, and apps have grown with it. The Internet of Things (IoT) allows us to be more connected to everything, Augmented Reality (AR) has become more accessible and businesses of all sizes are learning the benefits of having an app.

App Store Growth

Furthermore, we’re seeing shifts in the demographics and markets. Mobile games dominate the app market at 17% of all existing apps, followed by business, utilities and entertainment. Free apps, which once consisted of only 25% of the apps on the store, are now widely available, with 89% of existing apps available for free.

Most importantly, apps have become a part of our lives. Users constantly wanting something to make their lives easier drives growth and demand, causing the number of apps readily available to the market to increase. Now, we have popular businesses at our finger tips, which has led to those not utilizing apps to be at a severe disadvantage.

So much has grown and changed in the ten years since the Apple App Store first launched, from the kinds of apps used to the technology behind them. One thing has remained constant throughout all the change, though: an app is only useful if users download it. For that, App Store Optimization is and will always be key to an app’s success. With ASO, you can keep up with the changes and developments in the App Store and app ecosystem to remain relevant no matter how times change.