Mobile Application Trends to Watch in 2016

2015 was a watershed year for mobile devices. In retail terms, this was the first year that a majority of Black Friday purchases were made using mobile devices, accounting for a one-day total of $583 million, according to Adobe.

Businesses are beginning to acknowledge the mobile dependency trends and are beginning to apply them to internal processes too. In 2015, Gartner reported that the demand for enterprise mobile apps will grow five times faster than IT departments can accommodate over the next two years, despite the fact that, as recently as last year, a majority of corporate respondents in Gartner’s report had no mobile app presence whatsoever.

Whether designed with businesses or consumers in mind, mobile applications will continue to proliferate throughout 2016. Already three weeks into the new year, now is a great time for consumers, enterprise leaders, and application designers to consider how new advances in mobile app technology will be able to better serve their interests in the year ahead.

However, do you know exactly what it is you’re looking for?

Here are some of the biggest trends in mobile application advances you can look forward to in 2016, and what they will mean for you:

Wearables for Consumers

Though this technology has been around for a couple years, this is the year you can expect wearables to truly break into the mainstream.

According to Statista, 115 million wearable devices are expected to be sold in 2016, a 59 percent increase over the past year. There will be huge impacts for consumers in the medical sector, as fitness and healthcare tracking applications will both leverage the technology to monitor vital signs, like blood pressure and heart rate, in real time.

In keeping with the theme of mobility, transportation apps for wearables will also be a big hit. Consumers will be able to hail cabs, and even monitor arrivals and departures of city buses.

Wearables for Business

Not only will the rise of wearbles improve the lives of consumers, but businesses too will begin to utilize the trend.

One industry that could benefit greatly by wearable mobile applications will be facilities with large warehouses. This will enable organizations to optimize their workforce, as well as incorporate better real-time inventory auditing processes.

UX/Designing for Wearables

For designers, it will be important for the efficacy of their wearable applications to ensure a streamlined interface to accommodate a smaller screen, and users’ expectations that they can complete a given process even more quickly than with other mobile devices.

As a result, expect mobile applications to continue getting simpler (in terms of user experience e.g., navigation) to ensure the ability to efficiently complete functions.

Employee-facing Mobile Applications

Businesses in 2016 are going to increasingly turn to mobile applications to ensure their financial health.

According to Syntonic, the push to develop enterprise mobile applications is growing in large part to address bring your own device (BYOD)—a trend which is expected to grow 20 percent worldwide in 2016. This trend is helping enterprises increase revenue by optimizing their workforces while drastically reducing tech costs.

Syntonic’s report also states that mobile workers will account for 72 percent of U.S. workers by 2020, and that this coming year will mark a huge leap toward that number.

Businesses integrating mobile applications into their workforce will enable employees to operate beyond the restrictions of a typical workday, letting them access pertinent internal information while working from anywhere.

2016 will be rocky for organizations that do not have a strategy in place to deploy mobile applications for their BYOD policies.

Bandwidth for Enterprise Mobile Application Support

The proliferation of mobile devices and applications in the workplace will require a corresponding increase in connectivity and bandwidth. Likewise, businesses will have to ensure they have adequate resources to manage their new applications.

Therefore, 2016 will reward the organizations that have a solid model for properly growing their mobile application strategies.

Mobile Security

Perhaps the most significant mobile application trend for 2016 will be the ongoing pursuit of security. The need to remain a step ahead of cybercriminals will be challenged by the growing use of mobile applications.

According to Arxan’s 2015 study, there is a vast disparity between spending on application development and spending on security for those apps. In fact, Arxan’s study revealed that 50 percent of organizations have no budget allocated to protecting their mobile applications at all. So while many organizations have begun to adapt to the increasingly mobile world, there has been a relatively slow response to deal with the security challenges this new model presents. What this may mean in 2016, unfortunately, is that we could witness serious security breaches among the organizations that have not set aside resources to address these concerns.


There is no question that 2015 ushered in the mobile-first world. The trend is expected to continue and evolve in 2016. Be sure to follow the evolution in mobile applications to see what they can do for you or your business this year.