For all the negative press of the last few years surrounding mobile phone usage and potential addiction theories, nobody can say that our phones haven’t been a godsend through the isolated and locked down periods of 2020. They’ve helped stave away boredom, kept us in contact with one another and mobile technology like the NHS Track & Trace app has done its part in helping keep us safe.
Where the latter is concerned, the Track & Trace app is just one of many mobile apps that millions of us have been reliant on during the period. In the wider picture, the rise of mobile apps has been astronomical, to the point they are now an everyday staple of many peoples’ lives – and their rise doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
But what is it that has made mobile apps a fundamental, almost essential, part of our everyday lives?
The ultimate convenience
If you actually take a moment to think about it, the technology we take for granted is absolutely remarkable. We have never lived in more of a culture of convenience, and the mobile apps that we use are the building blocks of that culture.
It’s really not so long ago that ordering food from your local takeaway meant ringing them up, chatting to your friends online meant hogging the house computer whilst on MSN Messenger, or listening to music meant a long wait while your newest purchase downloaded. All three of those things mentioned are tech-powered tools of convenience in themselves, but the rise of mobile apps has allowed us to gather all those separate entities in one place – our phones – and interact and complete actions with each of them instantly.
Communication, social media, e-commerce, music, food orders, health and fitness, navigation, finances, utilities – all of those resources and just about any other you can think of are now accessible in a flash. Through mobile apps, the world has truly arrived at our fingertips, providing us with the ultimate convenience, regardless of whether you think that’s for better or for worse.
Pushing engagement and sales
Download virtually any app these days and one of the first things you’ll be asked when interacting with it is whether you’d like to enable push notifications. Push notifications enable apps to communicate with you via text notifications. These notifications can be anything along the lines of new chat message alerts, promotions and offers relating to the service or a simple reminder to check in.
Push notifications can be tailored to the user, and this additional personalisation makes them an extremely useful marketing tool for the businesses behind the apps that want us to engage and interact with their product regularly or more often, as well as boosting customer retention and acquisition.
Again, it might not be something all of us like the sound of (in which case you can disable them) but push notifications have worked to enhance the appeal of mobile apps to their users.
The COVID companion
As mentioned in the introduction, where would we be without phones during this extensive and stressful lockdown period? On one side, people may argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has only served to make us even more reliant on our phones, but even the most vehement anti-mobilers would have to admit that mobiles, and mobile apps, have served as a necessary evil during the last 10 or so months.
For the average phone user, mobile apps have not only enabled us to remain in regular contact with our nearest and dearest during lockdown conditions, but also allowed us to maintain some semblance of normal life alongside. Want to order some food? No problem. Need to do a quick bit of banking? Not to worry, it’s right in front of you. Want to send a distant loved one a gift? Just head onto Parcel2Go and sort it out.
The aforementioned convenience factor has made our phones the perfect COVID companion, and the reliance we’ve developed for certain apps and features is likely to have an impactful legacy going forward.
While the COVID period has only further grown the importance of mobile apps in our lives, they were already a technology that was growing exponentially beforehand – and the future of mobile apps was and is extremely bright regardless of the pandemic.
There’s so much to come from mobile apps in the near future. Think 5G enhancement, smarter enhanced learning and AI driven apps, improved beacon technology, more VR based tech and plenty, plenty more. Because of that, mobile apps are not only here to stay, but set to become and even bigger part of our lives in the next few years.
It’s tough to say exactly where the world of mobile apps will take us in the future, although we can say they will become an even bigger part of our lives than they currently are. What’s undeniable is that their rise to their current point today has been nothing short of spectacular – and that remarkable level of growth is set to continue for some time yet.