An Overview of 2021 from a Mobile perspective

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With the Earth's orbit around the sun complete, and a vaccine authorized by the FDA, it's past time to forget about what occurred in 2021 and focus on what went well in the mobile technology industry. The uncertainty of 2020 drove people to stay indoors for most of the year, resulting in widespread adoption of some technologies, particularly mobile technology, and that continues to grow in 2021 as well when restrictions started to ease.

You must always maintain your finger on the pulse to be successful in any industry. In addition to researching your competition, keep up with industry advancements. It's no secret that our world is becoming increasingly mobile. As a result, every company regardless of industry must keep up with emerging mobile trends. This is especially true for businesses that have a mobile presence, such as a smartphone app or a mobile website.

This year, we've used mobile applications more than ever before. Our mobile devices become our digital clinics, pharmacies, restaurants, grocery stores, preferred shopping centers, and more, from grocery shopping to clothing shopping, from ordering medicine or video-conferencing with the doctor to ordering meals. Mobile technology will continue to infiltrate even the most little areas of our lives.

It's critical to stay educated in the mobile environment, whether you're a mobile app developer or a small pizza business owner. This statement also applies to those of you who do not have access to a mobile app. That's because, if you haven't already, you should be considering mobile application development. However, with so many sources of information available, it may be difficult to tell which trends are real and which are merely fad or fake news. As a result, we have prepared for you a guide with all the important trends that happened in 2021 when it comes to mobile technology.

App Store vs. Google Play

Through iOS and Android, Apple and Google control more than 95% of the app store market share. Both mobile OSes launched with a few pre-installed apps at first, but third-party developers rapidly added more to improve the experience.

Within a year of the platforms' introduction, tens of thousands of developers had created apps and games for them. Both Apple and Google had over one million applications and games accessible in less than five years, generating millions of in-app revenue for both businesses.

These two platforms, which have enlarged their services to include apps for consumers and businesses of all sizes, are at the heart of the app economy. According to App Annie, its value is projected to surpass $6.3 trillion.

For the past three years, both Apple and Google have increased the restrictions on entry for developers. They've also removed millions of applications from their separate stores to enhance the ecosystem's overall quality.

Fun facts

  • There are 2.39 million applications and 442,000 games in Google Play's App Store.
  • Games account for 15.6% of the Google Play Store.
  • Education and business applications are the second and third most popular categories in the Google Play Store.
  • Free apps account for 96.2% of the total.

Number of apps on Apple App Store vs. Google Play Store

The number of mobile apps has been increasing steadily year after year, while in 2011 there were 0.28 million apps in the App Store, in 2021 it grew up to 3.6 million, with a growth rate of 5.8% from year to year, and on Google Play it started from 0.06 million and grew up to 2.3. Its highest peak was in 2018 with 2.6 million apps and continued varying every year, with a growth rate of -8% from 2020 to 2021.

Number of games in Apple App Store vs. Google Play Store

The number of games on both the App Store and Google Play is lower than the number of apps, as expected. On App Store, it started from a number of 89.000 games in 2011 that grew up to 984.000 in 2021 with 5.4%, and on Google Play it grew from 53.000 games in 2011 to 442.000 in 2021 with 21%.

Most popular categories in Apple App Store vs. Google Play Store

The most popular apps on App Store and Google Play varies significantly from one store to the other. The number 1 most popular category remains the Games section in both stores while the following categories are mostly different from one another. The second most popular category on App Store is Business, and for Google Play is Education, while the third is exactly the opposite.

Paid vs. Free apps on Apple App Store vs. Google Play Store

Free apps have a broad appeal and attract hundreds upon thousands of users, whom corporations can then efficiently monetize through in-app adverts or transactions. That’s the reason why there’s such a huge difference between paid and free apps. While the paid ones are in a percentage of 6.31 on App Store and 3.72 on Google, the number of free apps is considerably higher, with 93.69% on App Store and 96.28% on Google Play.

Most popular app on App Store vs. Google Play

The most popular apps on App Store seems to not change at all year after year, with the same well-known apps like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, while on Google Play there are other popular apps this year, such as, Cash App and Google Pay.

Most popular games on App Store vs. Google Play

While the most popular games on App Store are the well known Among Us!, Roblox, Call of Duty, Subway Surfers and others, on Google Play the popular ones are Survival 456, Bowmaster, Merge Animals, Text or Die and others


Gross app sales in the Google Play store reached USD 12.1 billion in the third quarter of 2021, up 17.4% from the same period the previous year. In the most recent quarter, the Apple App Store produced 21.5 billion dollars in customer spending on in-app purchases, subscriptions, and premium apps.


In terms of hardware, the smartphone market evolves every 2 to 3 years, because trends change regularly. If your app doesn't appear modern, then it probably isn't modern. That's why it's critical to stay on top of the latest app design trends.

However, the finest solutions remain: the trends can and will be utilised in the future with a few tweaks. The most effective solutions are those that benefit both your company and your users. All of 2021 was particularly effective in eliminating unpopular and deficient ideas. So here are a few trends that were popular in 2021:

1. Clarity and minimalism

Given the limited size of mobile devices, clear, clean, and simply accessible designs are constantly important. Users have increasingly shown a preference for clean, minimalist designs in recent years. A clean design makes it easier to understand the content and helps the app perform better:

  • Neumorphism (lush dimensional makeover for flat icons and buttons)
  • Neutral interfaces and content-focused experiences
  • Dynamic Visual Experience
  • Rounded, organic shapes
  • Transparent elements
  • Futuristic colour
  • Serif fonts

2. Dark contrasting design

One of the best UI techniques has proven to be dark mode. There are a large number of people that like it, and they aren't going anywhere. Eye strain is reduced by the use of a dark contrasting pattern. Highlights stand out against a dark backdrop, allowing every detail to be seen. The dark contrasting pattern is attractive and tasteful. It's established itself as a timeless masterpiece.

3. Functional 3D graphics

The popularity of 3D graphics continues to grow, especially in e-commerce. However, 3D is evolving. The wow element is decreasing in importance. Today's solutions, on the other hand, are progressively emphasizing 3D interactivity. It's no longer just about displaying a product from every angle, it's also about assisting the user in customizing the settings for interacting with a 3D picture. There appears to be no question that 3D graphics will continue to improve in utility.

4. Customization

The user will feel as though the material was developed specifically for them thanks to the customized design. With design becoming ever more person-centred, this tendency will only get stronger. If you’re interested in building user personas for mobile apps, here you have the perfect article.

5. Data visualization

It's still relevant to turn boring statistics and information into easily understandable graphs and diagrams. This tendency applies to all types of organizations and is likely to continue.

6. Unique illustrations

There are an infinite amount of designs available now. It's nearly hard to produce something that hasn't been done before. You must, however, stand out from the crowd and introduce some novel design concepts. You may do this with the aid of an extravagant digital illustration. 2021 wasn’t afraid to play around with the photographs and you should do too, if you don't like the results, you can always go back to the prior forms.

7. Maximum interaction

One of the best UI techniques has proven to be dark mode. There are a large number of people that like it, and they aren't going anywhere. Eye strain is reduced by the use of a dark contrasting pattern. Highlights stand out against a dark backdrop, allowing every detail to be seen. The dark contrasting pattern is attractive and tasteful. It's established itself as a timeless masterpiece.

Modern user interfaces are nearly always designed to create a personal, almost intimate relationship with the user. As a result, the existing tendencies will only get more advanced:

  • Interactive videos -- Videos have grown popular and valuable in a variety of fields, and their use will only grow. It's a reasonable assumption that most applications will use interactive movies in the not-too-distant future.
  • Emotional ​design -- Emotional design has always been in demand and will continue to be so. It personalizes any app, increases user engagement, captures users' emotions, and prevents them from leaving the app.
  • Animation and gamification -- The combination of animation and gamification improves user engagement by making it simpler to interact with the app. It's no wonder that they're getting better and more frequent
  • Storytelling -- Visual storytelling has emerged as the most effective approach to engage consumers and communicate information in recent years. This is a trend that we think will last.
  • Emoji -- Emojis offer a splash of colour to the user experience. They have become essential to our communication, which is why they will continue to be vital as technology advances.
  • UX copywriting -- The latest copywriting trends all lead to making the user interface interactions easier. Simple, short forms supported by visual clues are increasingly replacing walls of text and complicated words.
  • In-app gestures -- We all utilize gestures when using an app. We put our fingers on the screen, swipe, tap, and rotate it. The motions are diverse, but we always anticipate it to take little time to locate the perfect one. We've gotten into the habit of double-tapping each Instagram post we 'like,' and it's become one of our go-to motions. We don't even notice some of the movements and perform them instinctively.

8. Chatbots and conversational design

This is unquestionably one of the mobile UI trends for 2021, and it isn't going away anytime soon. Chatbots aid in the optimization of business processes involving customer interaction. They're also beneficial when it comes to handling several requests at once and dealing with typical problems.

9. Voice interactions

The visuals in mobile UX trends 2021 aren't the only thing to consider. They now support voice interactions as well, similar to Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. However, with VUIs, it's critical to stay to the concept and message of not overloading people with data.

10. Liquid swipe and buttonless design

One other trend that developed rather well this year is the liquid swipe and buttonless design. Users don't need to see a visible button to figure out where they need to click or swipe to achieve their goal. So, what's the point of keeping these graphics in the UI?

11. Advanced Animation

Advanced animation was one of the most important mobile UI design trends to incorporate into your projects. Simple gestures that no longer entice your audience. I think you saw a change if you added new, more intricate transitions. Looking for some proof? Check these 10 innovative apps of 2021 for examples in design, compare them and let us know what you think about the trends of this year.

New technologies

Mobile app development in 2021 was an area of lightning-fast developments, technological advances, and new emerging trends that helped firms acquire clients. Although the COVID-19 outbreak has been a nightmare for many firms, the mobile development industry continues to grow. Here are 15 technologies that were successful in 2021:

1. 5G

Modern app development can make use of 5G technology, which is the newest generation of telecommunication networks that has already demonstrated incredible connection speeds. During experiments, Opensignal claims that 5G download speeds were between 1.6 and 15.7 times quicker than 4G. Support for this new networking standard has become one of the essential 2021-2022 mobile app trends, thanks to the better security and greater number of possible connections per square kilometre that 5G provides. 5G also allows for the development of more advanced and realistic AR/VR apps, the streaming of high-definition 4K-8K and 360-degree media, and the introduction of more networked IoT devices to the market.

2. Voice technology

In the not-too-distant past, speech technology was just portrayed as a fun gimmick to attract clients; currently, it has risen to become one of the most popular app development trends for mobile and IoT platforms.

Here are some cases of speech technology and why people like it:

  • Many consumers who possess a smart speaker system prefer to use voice search. Voice search, in contrast to typing, delivers a rapid and hands-free experience that makes surfing more enjoyable for consumers while also improving shop marketing.
  • A voice user interface, or VUI, is a novel technique to create the user interface. It combines speech recognition and predictive machine learning to allow users to communicate with the app using only their voices. It adds a new degree of personalisation to the game, which is critical for client conversion and retention.
  • Voice shopping consultants do exactly what they say: they guide consumers around online marketplaces, suggesting things, answering inquiries, and informing them of current discounts and specials.

One good example of a voice-enabled app is voicecal - calories counter. You can easily track your daily nutrient intake and adjust your diet by using only your voice, and it’s usable in 63 different languages. All you have to do is tell the app what you ate and voicecal will take care of the rest.

Different forms of push notifications are used by current mobile advertisers to encourage consumers and promote engagement:

  • To boost sales, eCommerce stores deploy tailored push notifications.
  • To keep users up to date, social networking apps offer real-time information.
  • Content is sent by media businesses to deliver time-sensitive information.

3. App clips & instant apps

When it comes to mobile apps, high conversion rates are critical and difficult to achieve. You just have seconds to attract a user's attention and persuade them to install your app and even less time to persuade them to remain. Instant applications (App Clips for iOS devices) are useful in this situation.

Instant applications were a crucial element of the 2021 mobile app trends, allowing users to test out an app without having to download it. They just retain a little amount of data locally and do not require users to install anything to utilize them. The app may be opened by simply clicking on the link that the developer provides on their social network or website.

4. Foldable devices

Foldable devices might be the future of mobile app development, as consumer demand grows despite higher-than-average pricing. The fundamental feature of folding screens is their capacity to transform: they may be used as a phone and then unfolded to become a medium-size tablet when needed.

Some types may be folded in rather than out, making them more compact. Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, and LGglobal are among the companies that provide foldable displays, with their Galaxy Z Fold model.

The trend offers app developers a creative and technological challenge in addition to an opportunity for smartphone makers. Developers should pay attention to this trend as the price tags for foldable devices become more affordable for the majority of customers and adjust their apps to accommodate various types of screens, including folding displays.

5. Beacon technology

Another booming hit in mobile development is beacon technology, which allows consumers to merge their online and offline experiences. Beacons, in their most basic form, are miniature transmitters that communicate with cellphones through Bluetooth.

They are suitable for use in retail malls, airports, hospitals, and almost any other location. Beacons transmit signals to the company's app on a customer's phone when they enter such an area. The user may get real-time in-store navigation, customised promotions, discount notifications, and other information this way.

Beacons are already available at Apple and Macy's shops, and the relevant functionality is included in the companies' apps. Beacon technology is also used by Aruba Networks and Google for indoor navigation and enhanced data collecting. As more areas become linked, mobile app developers should consider beacon technology while creating appropriate and useful apps.

6. Mobile-first leisure

Last years people used to spend about three hours every day on their phones. This amount has already surpassed 4 hours 6 minutes in 2021 devoted to mobile applications rather than web usage. Due to COVID-19 constraints, leisure was the first industry to go digital, and users aren't ready to give it up anytime soon. In essence, the most simple of the new app development trends are mobile-first leisure, because customers prefer mobile platforms, your company should make use of them.

7. On-demand apps

On-demand apps have risen to the top of the list of contemporary top trends in mobile app development, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. In essence, unlike games or planners, these applications remain inactive in users' phones until they need to access a certain function. In 2021, according to Eastern Peak the most popular and extensively used on-demand applications were:

Want to develop an app? Contact us right now if you're thinking about developing an Uber competitor or adopting an on-demand business model into your industry.

8. Mobile wallets

Mobile payments are another app trend to keep an eye on in 2021. The fintech business is growing at a pace of 23.58%, and utilizing digital wallets has already become second nature to customers, especially in an era where online purchasing and little personal interaction are common.

Fintech companies can provide mobile wallets with contactless payment capabilities and in-app purchases of tickets, loyalty cards, coupons, and other items. Market experts project that by 2025, each user of proximity payment technology would spend an average of $4064 via mobile contactless payments.

While PayPal, Venmo, Google Wallet, and Cash App are the most well-known applications and services in this industry, there are other emerging businesses on the market that provide extra capabilities.

9. M-commerce

Since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, mobile app development has shifted its attention to various new industries, with m-commerce leading the way with a 25.5% CAGR (compound annual growth rate). Online buying isn't a new concept.

However, the virus's omnipresence and long-term lockdowns have driven people to try shopping online for the first time, and many of them will continue to use m-commerce applications to shop even after the pandemic has passed.

Mobile commerce is one of the most stable and promising app trends, as seen by the enormous success of Shopify, Instacart, and countless more applications for anything from grocery delivery to all types of retail.

10. Wearables

The market for wearable devices continued to increase, which implies that the demand for mobile apps that work with these devices will rise as well. Wearable technology has a lot of potentials, particularly in the sports and healthcare areas. People are drawn to smart wearable gadgets such as watches, bracelets, and even jewellery because they can measure and analyze vital signals in real-time.

Machine Learning will play a role here as well, from generating predictions and suggestions based on health indicators to even identifying diseases in their early stages.

11. Virtual events streaming

Taking an online Zumba class was a novelty before the epidemic, but now that live streaming is at the forefront of the current developments in mobile app development, it's a new type of normality.

Platforms like ConnexMe, Hopin, Glisser, Eventee, vFairs, SpotMe, and others have seen significant growth in the recent year. Zoom and Jitsi, for example, have grown in popularity, and this trend is expected to continue into 2022. Check out How to build a Live Streaming app - Product, Monetization, Tech, Features & Costs.

12. Internet of things (IoT)

Although mobile applications are only one component of any IoT infrastructure, they are critical in linking people to their smart gadgets, automobiles, and complete homes.

The Internet of Things is essentially a network of items that can communicate with one another and with the Internet. Smartwatches, self-driving Tesla, and Control4 smart home systems are among them.

IoT is a disruptive path in terms of app trends, and it has already begun to dictate new norms for developers. Since more people are becoming aware of the benefits of IoT, mobile developers must create applications that work well on a variety of devices.

Furthermore, IoT allows developers to construct entirely new types of apps, allowing them to be more creative and experimental.

13. AI & Machine Learning

Machine learning allows for autonomous and deep analysis, which has a huge range of applications in the mobile app development sector. Here is a list of popular use cases for machine learning in mobile platforms, which is not exhaustive:

  • Personalization -- Gain a deeper understanding of your consumers so you can provide better services, more relevant recommendations, and improved experiences, resulting in more retention and sales.
  • Analytics -- Apply machine learning to gain a more complete understanding of your business processes, allowing you to make better judgments, projections, and optimization efforts.
  • Security -- Use machine learning as one of the top mobile trends in data security to protect your consumers' sensitive data.
  • Convenience and competitive advantage -- AI enables biometric verification and provides several solutions, including picture recognition, voice help, smart maps with route planning, and others, all of which can play a role in user retention.

What is possible in the realm of AI/ML on mobile applications?

14. AR & VR

Since the release of Civilisations AR, the use of virtual and augmented reality features in mobile software has increased dramatically. Civilisations AR is an augmented reality production from the BBC that serves an educational function in a genuinely amazing way. It lets users interact with ancient artefacts by rotating, moving, and scaling them.

AR and VR are already being used for a variety of applications other than game production, thanks to recent developments in smartphone apps. Virtual reality in education delivers effective hands-on training experiences while being safe and relatively inexpensive, which is especially beneficial to the healthcare, aerospace, military, and industrial areas.

When utilized for online purchasing (enabling users to "try on" an item using their phone), marketing, and home and property tours, augmented and virtual reality can entice clients. Learn more from our article Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR/VR) in mobile apps.

15. Enterprise mobile apps

Enterprise mobile applications are one of the hottest business trends since they allow you to interact remotely with coworkers, employees, or customers via mobile devices. Enterprise apps are excellent tools for controlling and improving corporate operations. The fact that these applications may be used on mobile devices adds to their popularity.

We saw a growth in the number of medium and small firms interested in adopting enterprise mobility into their daily operations to boost productivity, profitability, and stay competitive.

Business model

In 2021, the development of mobile apps was the top priority for organizations and corporations. Are you prepared to plan your needs and create a reliable company mobile app? Here are the details you had to plan in 2021, details that would probably remain factual in 2022 as well.

1. Proposition of value

Customers will not use or purchase an app that does not address their issue. A proposition of value is a list of benefits your product provides to users and why they should pay for it. Let's look at a few mobile app value proposition business model examples:

  • Novelty is defined as meeting needs that have never been met before or that have yet to be met.
  • Productivity is defined as the efficiency with which a client's business or personal demands are met.
  • Price is defined by providing a solution that is less expensive than the current one while maintaining or improving efficiency.

2. Allies

Without forming alliances with other individuals and groups, no firm can exist. As a result, a description of your important partners and cooperation should be included in your business model canvas. This year you had to consider the following forms of partnerships for a mobile startup:

  • Co-founders -- Let's pretend that the individual who came up with the concept was a brilliant businessperson or salesperson but lacked a good technical background. They needed the help of a technologist, who served as the CTO and oversaw the technical aspects of the project.
  • Contractors -- As you work on the mobile app, you need to sign contracts with organizations that will help you with different areas of the project, such as a software development firm, a marketing agency, a law and accounting firm, and so on.
  • Suppliers -- If your digital business was going to be strongly integrated with selling, buying, or making real goods, you needed to form a connection with local suppliers.
Be sure to involve all of the necessary parties to launch a successful business in the future.

3. Resources

To form a mobile app business, you need a specific motor and cognitive property, as well as people and financial resources to build the app. This attribute was referred to as your essential resources in your business model canvas. Consider the following examples:

  • Physical things such as equipment, buildings, and transportation are examples of material resources.
  • Intellectual property, patents, trademarks, patterns, and databases, are examples of intellectual resources.
  • Human resources are the individuals who will help you build your concept. This is especially true for undertakings involving science or creativity.
Money assets, credits, and cash will be employed to finance the development process.

4. Customers

This is when you had to describe your platform's target audience. You should have assessed your potential clients from the standpoint of demographics, interests, and wants when working on this area. The following questions will be of use to you:

  • Who are the people who could be interested in your product?
  • What are their ages?
  • What city do they call home?
  • What are their passions?
  • What are their necessities?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What factors influence their purchase decisions?
  • Why should people download your app?

A buyer persona - a thorough description of your ideal customer - should emerge from this investigation. Knowing who your customer is and what his preferences are can help you create a product that is more tailored to his requirements.

5. Relationship with customers

You have to decide how you engage and assist your consumers here. Let's have a look at how this was done.

  • Personal assistance involves direct contact between a consumer and a corporate representative.
  • Self-service - the corporation does not engage directly with clients but instead provides them with all of the tools they need to do all of their tasks on their own.
  • Automated service is a more developed kind of self-service that combines automated technologies such as chatbots with self-service.
  • Establishing communities where users may share their expertise is what community is all about. This form also aids the organization in better understanding its clients' wants.

A buyer persona - a thorough description of your ideal customer - should emerge from this investigation. Knowing who your customer is and what his preferences are can help you create a product that is more tailored to his requirements.

6. Activities

How will you reach out to your consumers and provide them with your value proposition? This question may be answered using the key activities section of your business model canvas.

If your organization is all digital, the majority of your efforts was focused on internet marketing strategies (email newsletters, social networks, online advertising, etc). Tangible applications also needed to focus on building physical infrastructures, such as warehouses, distribution centres, and shipping terminals.

7. Sales channels

What strategy did you use to sell your value proposition? The major possibilities for mobile app business models are Android and iOS applications. You might also sell your goods using a website, email marketing, social media, and other methods.

8. Costs

The more budget things you manage, the fewer obstacles you have while constructing your software. Let's go over the costs that undoubtedly occurred:

  • Organizational charges –- legal and accounting services to create your firm as a legal organization.
  • Required -- everything you need to get your business up and going, including an office and required equipment.
  • Hardware - the labour of your software development team, and the upkeep of the web platform are all part of the development costs.
  • Employee pay is a part of human resources.
  • Advertising and marketing.
We also advise that you to set aside some money for unplanned costs. It's always a good idea to be cautious.

9. Revenue

What were your plans for monetizing your app? Let's have a look at some of the possibilities:

  • Selling the value proposition generates revenue (selling the physical goods, commission, subscriptions. etc).
  • Advertisement (you could have used your platform to post ads).
  • Use of a brand (when your app became a recognizable brand with a registered trademark, you were able to charge for use of the brand).

After you’ve finished making a business plan, you can start thinking about developing your Android or iOS mobile app, so make sure to prepare yourself for this as well with the help of our articles.

Staying on top of the mobile industry's challenges

Consider a few things before getting started, like planning your mobile app and choosing the right developer. You must strategize before building your app, you must define characteristics such as objectives, budget, specs and scope, and before delivering your app to a mobile app developer, create a clear image of it so that you may be priced properly, sensibly, and realistically.

We may come out as a bit biased here, however, it must be emphasized that we assist companies all over the world in fulfilling their ambitions for their mobile apps. With strong, agile teams and focused QA procedures, we deliver consistent, high-quality, and cost-effective products. Our professional staff can assist you with accurately identifying your requirements, selecting the technology and framework required to construct your app, customizing the app to meet your needs, updating and maintaining it regularly.

We're here to help if you're not sure where to begin with your corporate or your own mobile app, therefore make sure to contact appssemble’s team, because we can assure you we are all professional, hardworking and of course, an excellent company. Until then, we hope you had an amazing year and Happy Holidays! 🎁🎄


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