What isn’t there an app for? You name it – it’s probably out there.
Back in the 1980s, Steve Jobs predicted the evolution of a new digital distribution system. He said it would resemble an online record store and he wasn’t far off. Twenty-eight years after Jobs’ vision (in 2008), Apple and Google launched their app stores with 500 apps including AOL’s Instant Messaging application and Myspace mobile. But since then apps have come a long way, thanks to today’s super computer-like processing power in the latest smartphones, coupled with state-of-the-art mobile networks. Today, the average UK consumer has 36 apps on their device and most of these can do things you would never have thought imaginable just a few years ago – from allowing us to make instantaneous payments around the world, giving us directions based on real-time traffic data and enabling us to answer our doorbell without even being home.
Since their introduction into the market, mobile apps have grown to become the lifeline of human existence. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of industries that are being the most disrupted by this new wave of application development.
Retail and E-commerce
Sales figures from the retailer mobile app market are expected to rise to $206.35 billion by the end of 2018. This number is not surprising seeing that almost 90% of e-commerce customers would rather make use of retail apps than use mobile websites for their needs. Organisations such as Amazon have increased their sales by engaging with, and offering deals to, customers through their mobile apps. The reality when it comes to using mobile apps for the e-commerce industry is that it somewhat levels the playing field for small businesses looking to compete with established brands. Mobile apps also increase the probability that users buy more, considering they browse through more products while using mobile apps – about 286% more – than when visiting mobile websites. With these numbers rising as the years progress, it is imperative that companies adopt e-commerce app development as part of their growth strategy.
In 2017, the global mobile medical apps market was worth a staggering $2.4bn and this is set to rise to over $11bn by 2025. In the UK, the NHS Apps Library was launched in 2017 to provide a library of digital health tools which are accessible to patients, trusted and easy to use and help them make better choices about digital health and care. Since the launch of the Apps Library, NHS Digital has worked with more than 350 developers to include new apps.
The NHS have sited the Apps Library as a great success. There have been over a quarter of a million visits in the last year and more than half of those were from mobile phones, which they say, shows how patient access to health care is transforming. But while the NHS may be getting excited about introducing WiFi to doctor’s surgeries, medical providers in America are leading the digital healthcare charge, introducing Apps such as ‘Doctor on Demand’ which allows patients to connect to doctors via video to ask questions and even get prescriptions written.
The UK may be a few years off this level of application development but it certainly paints a promising picture for the future.
Mobile banking use is on the up with a 57% bump in transactions last year and 19.6 million people logging in regularly, according to the British Bankers’ Association. Challenger banks like Starling, Monzo, Revolut, Atom and Tandem have been targeting millennials with accounts that can be managed by smartphones. They are more flexible, quicker to adapt to user needs, more user friendly and more personal than traditional bricks and mortar banks. Their biggest advantage is that they have started fresh with a digital offering and the use of the latest technology available.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen challenger banks embracing the latest technology to engage with their customers. Take opening an account as an example, this is much easier and faster with challenger banks, often it only involves taking a photo of your ID and a video of yourself. Plus, they offer novel features such as making recommendations based on your transaction data for saving money, making payments to nearby friends via Bluetooth or even blocking gambling transactions from customer accounts (with permission of course).
In the hospitality industry, customer experience is everything. Hotels and restaurants want to generate long-term customer loyalty, and with so much competition, it only takes one bad experience for a customer to go elsewhere. So it’s not surprising that the sector is looking for new ways to attract and retain customers through the use of application development.
Some of the world’s largest hotel chains have invested in mobile app technology in an effort to empower their customers. Marriot, for example are offering their customers an app which allows them to book any of their 6,700 hotels at the best price, check in, skip the front desk and head straight to their allocated room, using the app as a room key. During their stay, guests can send a request for services and amenities via the app or send an instant message to the front desk.
So, what is in store over the next decade?
The following 10 years of application development will see artificial intelligence working in collaboration with consumers, paving way for more trust between the user and their device. As Siri and Google Assistant reach their potential, eventually everything will respond to voice commands. This will open up more doors for both publisher apps and marketers to communicate with their consumers in a more personal manner.