With more than two million apps on the App Store and Google Play Store, finding new ways to differentiate from the competition and offer consumers a unique experience is vital.

Middle of the road apps won’t suffice in 2021: unless you’re actively listening to user feedback and innovating in your field, your app doesn’t stand a chance of success in today’s crowded and cut-throat market.

One of the best ways to grow your market share and outmanoeuvre the competition is to follow the latest developments and trends, and below, we’ve put together three key growth areas for app development in 2021.


Augmented reality

As an outsider, it’s easy to feel as though augmented reality and virtual reality are banded around aimlessly, earmarked as the Next Big Things despite relatively little progress or adoption in their fields. Whilst virtual reality is continuing development at pace, with firms such as Apple working on their own gaming headset device, augmented reality offers a very real and immediate opportunity for app developers looking to stand out from the competition.

In the world of eCommerce, for example, augmented reality is being used to allow users to try on clothing and accessories, and even place furniture in their homes. It’s a powerful engagement tool that physically brings your products and services to life – once consumers have seen how it could look in the flesh using their smartphone camera and some basic AR technology, they’re more likely to buy from you and become a loyal brand advocate. In our COVID-19 era, where retail’s taken a major hit, augmented reality is all the more important.

Right now, around 1% of retailers are using augmented reality (Mobile Marketer report) and interestingly, 52% say they are not prepared to integrate AR into their retail, worried that the cost of implementing augmented reality would take them over the edge. However, 71% of consumers say they would shop more often if they used AR and 61% of consumers say they prefer retailers with AR experiences. What’s more, 40% of consumers say they would pay more for a product that they could customise in AR, and 17% of consumers will use AR monthly by 2022, so don’t underestimate the potential impact it could have on your business.


Artificial intelligence

Another growing trend in app development is artificial intelligence, allowing brands to create smarter, more engaging software that takes away common pain points. Whether you’re building a corporate B2B app or a consumer-focused app, you’ll find a number of AI tools and functionalities that can be easily integrated into your software without breaking the bank.

Artificial intelligence allows you to learn your users’ behavioural patterns to improve your user interface, offer automated reasoning, and conversational user interfaces. It also allows your users to complete monotonous tasks and increases accuracy and precision in product recommendations. Whether it’s something as simple as chatbots, where you can deliver support to users without having to hire a dedicated customer service department, to speech recognition technology to tap into the growing trend of voice controls, AI is everywhere.

In the corporate world, for example, building an app with machine learning can improve your forecasts, save staffers time, and lead to a more productive and engaged workforce. In the healthcare sector, biometrics can identify, analyse, and measure human behaviour, whilst in the consumer landscape, artificial intelligence can help recognise emotion as well as text and images, increasing average order values and customer retention on eCommerce apps.


The 5G rollout

Finally, a quick word on the rollout of 5G technology in the UK. Better connectivity means that there are fewer areas with poor signal, allowing you to reach new geographical areas and introduce your brand to new customers. UK 5G adoption is expected to reach over 26% by 2024, and as major smartphone manufacturers like Apple introduce 5G modems to their devices, consumers are ready and willing to switch over to supercharged cellular plans.

Greater speed means that app developers can move more data to consumers’ devices, which could unlock significant new opportunities for your applications. Implementations that traditionally had to be held in the cloud can now be done on-device, opening up new possibilities, whilst lower latency means increased responsiveness, allowing you to offer real-time augmented reality experiences in sectors such as education, sport, and health.

The ability to connect more devices at once also opens up new opportunities in IoT, with consumers increasingly introducing more smart speakers and devices into their homes. Fintech News has put together some fascinating insights into the future of the Internet of Things, and implementing some of their findings into your own product research and app development projects could help your brand stay at the cutting edge in the years to come.


If you’re looking to build an app for your business, reach out to the experts at Zudu today for a free consultation. Call us on 01382 690080 and return to our website soon for more.

Do you have a project in mind?
Let’s get to work.