Our obsession with our smartphones shows no sign of abating. In fact, it is getting stronger, if anything. The point is this. Yes, the “smartphone generation” of millennials and Gen-Zers has more buying power than ever this year and is even more influential. But mobile tech is reaching out into new markets too.
Market penetration is up above 90 percent when it comes to adults in first-world nations. It would be suicidal to neglect this demographic, but at the same time, both mobile phone suppliers and app developers are exploring other areas where there is more potential for growth. The developing world is developing in every aspect of the term, for example, with the 5G roll out. This, in combination with better availability of affordable handsets, means areas like West Africa and the Indian Subcontinent offer significant opportunities.
Then there are the silver mobile surfers. These are internet-savvy retirees who could be in their 70s and 80s. They use the internet from desktop and are among the latecomers to the mobile party – but more are joining now, perhaps due to hardware reaching the end of its life.
Let’s keep these points about target markets and demographics in mind as we look at the mobile app trends that have been dominating over the first four months of 2023.
Making a game of anything
Games remain the top app category as we will see in a moment. But even apps that are not games are being gamified. That is to say that introducing game-like or competitive aspects to apps increases engagement and gets more people using them.
The concept can be applied to practically anything, from cooking to fitness – there’s even a smoking cessation app by Allen Carr that features games. Conceptually, there is nothing new about using gamification to reinforce learning in this way, but is it something that is catching on a little too rapidly? Anyone with a cynical view of the latest AI might consider that a distinct possibility.
AI integration is appearing everywhere
Speaking of AI, it is featuring across an ever-larger cross-section of mobile apps. The mobile AI market was worth a little over $5 billion in 2018. The figure for 2023 is projected to be almost $18 billion.
What is really interesting here is that mobile AI development is mostly concerned with on-device processors. This signals a move away from the cloud-based focus of recent years that has accompanied most tech innovation. It means negligible latency, but also demands that app developers and hardware developers work more interconnectedly than they have been accustomed to doing.
iGaming is the hook for older gamers
We mentioned developers paying increased attention to the more mature demographic earlier. Nowhere is this more evident than in iGaming – the online casino and betting segment. Key markets like Australia love their betting and are shifting slowly but surely across to cyberspace. With more than 70 percent of wagers placed by people aged 55 and over, the importance of making games and platforms appealing to older players is evident.
Those Australian providers we mentioned are clearly making significant efforts with their mobile casino platforms. If you click here, you will see a selection of independently reviewed platforms. Instead of the huge focus on bonuses and giveaways that we used to see in the sector, these platforms are placing the emphasis on offering familiar Australian pokies, a dashboard that is simple to navigate, high quality table games and so on. These are all features that will have a better impact on a new mature audience than a brash offer of 50 free spins on some obscure title.
IoT integration is another draw for seniors
Automated home networks are not just the fun but slightly frivolous convenience that they were initially marketed as a decade ago. As the technology has developed and become more mainstream, its benefits for those who are more vulnerable or need a little extra help have really come into focus.
From closing the curtains to monitoring home security networks, IoT systems play a vital role helping older members of our communities to stay independent without compromising their wellbeing or safety. That’s a win/win for everyone, not just the individuals themselves but also their loved ones who inevitably worry whether they are really coping on their own. Linking IoT devices and systems to mobile apps provides convenience for the users and also a way for loved ones to check all is well and to step in unobtrusively if necessary.