We never really know what’s going to happen next in the mobile app market. In fact, some of the biggest developments we see in this market seem practically to come out of nowhere. At other times though, we can begin to see potential trends developing. And right now, in the early days of a new decade, the following are some of the categories we expect to see the expanding and gaining influence.
1.) Augmented Reality Shopping
Augmented reality apps haven’t been as exciting as most hoped for, in large part because people were mostly expecting games and other forms of entertainment from this technology. Perhaps that was only natural given that Pokémon GO was a lot of people’s first introduction to mobile AR. If augmented reality has been somewhat disappointing from an entertainment standpoint, however, it has begun to look promising for serving more practical purposes — such as shopping.
As one article put it, AR shopping apps can help you avoid buyer’s remorse, essentially by allowing you to virtually “test” products. This has become a popular idea where furniture and décor are concerned, in that people can look through phones or AR glasses and see projections of various items in their homes before deciding to buy them. But the idea can also be applied to clothing, accessories, art, and a variety of other products. Given all of this, we’d expect to see a busy AR shopping category developing in app stores in the coming years.
2.) Sports Betting
Right now if you were to ask a U.S. mobile user what the best sports betting apps are, he or she would probably either identify daily fantasy options (like FanDuel or DraftKings) or come up empty. This is because, quite simply, there aren’t popular sports betting apps that are widely available in the U.S. The suggestion we’re making here, though, is that there may be a whole selection of such apps soon.
Right now, the state of online gambling in the U.S. is one of expansion. Having been legalized in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and then Indiana, internet-based betting practices are now being considered in a handful of other states as well, with the clear potential to spread around most or all of the nation. Early indications particularly from New Jersey, where online gambling is busiest, indicate that mobile apps and sites are handling a significant portion of the activity so far, which should make this an area to watch for growth in the coming years. Before long, there may well be a diverse and lucrative category of apps providing a variety of convenient, real-money betting options, both on sports and other matters (such as political races, video game tournaments, and maybe even reality TV competitions).
3.) Smart Home Control
Smart home products have already gotten fairly trendy. Whether we’re talking about smart TVs, curtains that respond to smartphone commands, Nest thermostats, or anything similar, people are getting used to the idea of enabling technology to control various aspects of the home environment. And industry indicators suggest that smart homes will be even bigger in the 2020s.
That means more devices and more “smart” functions, to be sure. But it’s also likely going to mean more apps that are designed to help control everything. We should note that voice commands are also expected to be more heavily integrated into smart homes, and this may, in fact, mean that certain devices and functions actually don’t require phone or app use. For instance, you might simply be able to tell your curtains to draw shut. More likely though is that a collection of leading apps will emerge to control the bulk of smart home functions, both by touch and by voice.
4.) Nintendo & Mario Games
Nintendo and Mario games may not represent quite the same kind of category as those listed above. But we do expect to see more of them, given that Nintendo has started to dabble, with considerable success, in the mobile arena.
Rest assured, people are not tired of Nintendo classics just yet. Indeed, we’ve pointed to some of the best Nintendo DS emulators for Android before, and these emulators’ mere existence points to people’s desire to enjoy Nintendo content on their mobile devices. That, combined with games like Super Mario Run, Mario Kart Tour, and even Kingdom Hearts (which has been a huge success on mobile), would seem to indicate a category on the rise. What games said category will include specifically remains to be seen. But expect more content from the beloved Japanese game developer.
Time will tell, and as stated we never really know what the app market will bring us next. If we had to bet though, these would be some of the areas of growth in the coming years.