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9 Emerging Trends For Mobile App Development In 2021 And Beyond


The app trends of 2021 are dictated by the pandemic, which has undoubtedly affected the mobile services market. They have become more relevant than ever around the world. This is logical: during self-isolation, people switched to solving everyday tasks through smartphones. Applications related to education, e-commerce, health and fitness, social networks, and streaming services have significantly increased their audience.

The TOP apps that took off across the board in 2020:

  1. Entertainment – apps to distract. March-April – companies actively invested in promoting dating apps, but now this trend has gone down. There were more paid installations, and there was no organic growth. And yet, the investment paid off: in early May, the weekly increase in revenue reached 26%. The trend of organic traffic absorption with the growth of investments in paid channels can be seen. By early May, the revenue of such apps increased by 55%.
  2. Learning – apps for new knowledge and opportunities. Provide a connection between the teacher and the student.
  3. Communication – apps for communication. Their popularity increased with the growth of COVID-19. There was a weekly and steady increase in the number of sessions. The numbers stabilized as they reached a plateau.
  4. Necessity – service applications and online stores. General uncertainty is the driver of change. It triggered the formation of new habits. All those who previously shopped only in offline stores became active users of mobile shopping during the period of self-isolation and managed to appreciate the convenience of using smartphones for shopping. Since the introduction of restrictions, the revenue of supermarket grocery delivery apps has increased by 56%. Health and fitness apps have also experienced a boom in the past few months. As the self-imposed lockdown was lifted, growth began to slow. But nevertheless, the numbers are still higher than before the crisis.

Emerging App Trends 2021

Mobile development standards are now changing faster than they can be implemented. To remain a leader, it’s important to focus on emerging trends, techniques, and approaches. IOS and Android developers need to understand the direction the mobile industry is taking.

We decided to save your search time to help your business grow faster. We’ve divided the trends into two categories: global (long-term) trends, which concern IT giants and are designed for the mass audience, and short-term (short-term) trends, which should be implemented as early as 2021. Let’s start with the latter.

Short-term trends in mobile development

Mobile commerce

Both individual and large retail brands are using mobile apps to drive revenue. According to the study, in 2021 people will shop more frequently on mobile apps and on omnichannel platforms. One in two people installed at least one online shopping app during the pandemic.

We’re almost at the point where having a mobile app has become a prerequisite for a company to remain competitive in the marketplace.

What to consider?

Mobile traffic is growing and will continue to grow. For your business, the mobile app is an opportunity to develop and increase profits. But this is not true for everyone. First, analyze your business goals and requests. In this case, the starting point can be an audit of the IT architecture, which will help identify areas of growth and create a road map of improvements.

Mobile Wallets

Payment methods from mobile devices are also evolving. Mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are trending upward.

The ongoing pandemic and the proliferation of NFC-enabled devices have spurred the growth of contactless payment in conventional stores. Thus, in October–November of last year, the share of mobile payment services in the total cash turnover of card transactions increased to 23% against 18% a year earlier. That is, now about one in four card payments are made by users from a smartphone.

Wallet integration should become a standard feature for every application that processes transactions. In the next few years, the penetration rate of mobile wallets in applications should grow significantly.

What to consider?

The implementation of a mobile wallet will take several months. It is necessary to provide this in advance within the budget and time costs.

Corporate apps

Companies have begun to develop apps for internal needs for different purposes:

  • business automation (logistics processes, communication, and informatization, document management, HR and workflow management, client communication);
  • improving the quality and speed of employee work (e.g., creating file sharing, connecting messengers, social networks, and trackers for internal communication, as well as project and task management systems).

The use of applications greatly simplifies the control of workflows and reduces the number of errors. In addition, you can quickly increase productivity, which is especially important for actively growing companies.

What to consider?

Such applications are needed by large and fast-growing companies that need to automate processes and increase productivity. If your business is not focused on scaling, the application will not bring you significant benefits.

Motion Design

The introduction of motion design elements into mobile interfaces continues to grow dynamically. Users like the ability to interact interactively with web services. Companies actively use various techniques in application development:

  • 3D elements;
  • complex visual effects;
  • background animations;
  • animation of logos;
  • smooth transitions.

In terms of graphics, designers adhere to minimalism. Among the trends are the use of:

  • kinetic typography;
  • thin lines;
  • fragmented texts;
  • morphing;
  • isometric design;

All these elements display a unique style and entertain the user, improving behavioral factors and increasing the rating of the mobile app.

To increase engagement and improve the UI/UX of your app, improve it with a motion design:

  • guide users through your app with an animation that demonstrates which step to take next;
  • react to user actions with memorable animations;
  • demonstrate the relationship between the various components of the application.

What to consider?

If the visual component is important to the business (fashion, accessories, sports goods), then the use of the above-mentioned trends will be an additional effective way to attract attention.

Augmented reality (AR)

Augmented reality technologies continue to grow in 2021. Nowadays, AR functions are increasingly used in mobile applications for a wide range of tasks and scenarios.

It is used by furniture retailers, home appliances and electronics companies, cosmetics, and fashion brands. AR can also be used in training applications and for web services for creating graphic content (similar to face filters in Instagram and Snapchat).

What to consider?

AR has a huge range of applications in different areas and works perfectly on a smartphone. For development, you need to accurately define your business goals and create good content (animation, realistic 3D, and 2D models). It is very important to find experienced IT professionals who can offer a creative solution.

Long-term trends in mobile development

Voice search

Every smartphone has a digital voice assistant (Siri for iPhone, Google Assistant for Android). Smart speakers with artificial intelligence are also gaining popularity.

Reasons for switching to voice interfaces:

  • ease of use. Children, the elderly, and inexperienced users can interact with voice interfaces without the need for training.
  • Digital voice assistants are a common feature for smartphones.

What to consider?

This is a long-term trend. Suitable for giants and online sites with impressive traffic. They can think about developing their own application for smart speakers – this will create another channel to increase the level of audience loyalty and increase sales.

iBeacon Service

A geolocation beacon device with Bluetooth Low Energy technology. When a client with iOS or Android approaches this device, a notification is displayed on the screen of their smartphone, or a mobile application is launched.

The main advantage is contactless marketing. It also helps to track the behavior of customers in stores. The iBeacon tag constantly emits a Bluetooth radio signal. Smartphones pick it up from a distance and locate it. You can find out how much time a user spends in a particular department. The app can automatically trigger a push notification to attract you to purchase certain products. When a user passes by the beacon, they can be instantly notified of special offers in that store.

What to consider?

The development of iBeacon is rapid – in a short period of time, the technology has advanced and gained a foothold in a large number of industries. The service is suitable for large companies and brands that are recognizable to the consumer. It is not reasonable for a small business to invest several million in its own application and buy expensive beacon equipment.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

They entered mobile app development many years ago. And only now we are realizing how massive and powerful an impact these technologies can have on our lives and how we can use them.

Today, AI is changing the very process of app creation, from the development of the server part to the user interface.

Examples of AI features that can be implemented in a mobile app are:

  • image recognition;
  • face recognition;
  • text and image classification;
  • prediction systems;
  • speech recognition;
  • Internet advertising.

What to consider?

AI technologies make applications smarter and improve their performance. Plus, they attract an additional audience. Most technologies are created individually for the project, so the development of a mobile application using AI is associated with significant financial and time costs.


Mobile apps with an “ecosystem” of multiple services. Combines several functions. For example: ordering cab and delivery of food + hotel search and insurance.

Today, users are increasingly choosing them. With their help, you can easily get services from different areas, without downloading several applications to your smartphone.

What to consider?

So far, Superapps are only available to international companies and leading market players. Average players should consider how they will be able to compete with SuperApp — what a unique advantage they have in comparison with the giants. For example, a unique service or technology.

To summarise

Thus, the mobile app is not a parasitic sales channel. This is a separate self-sufficient channel for interaction with customers. On the one hand, it requires a separate study, on the other hand, – should be integrated into the overall development strategy of the company. To combine and build a single effective strategy, companies can seek the help of experts to reach a new level.