Taking a Look Back at Our 2016 Mobile Application Trends Forecast

At the beginning of 2016, we highlighted six key trends likely to emerge around mobile applications this year. Now that the summer is over and there is a clearer picture about how the year will unfold, we’ll take another look at those predictions to see whether or not they hit the mark.

Here are the six key predictions from our mobile app forecast from the beginning of the year:

Wearables for Consumers: This will be the year that consumer wearable devices break into the mainstream. 

According to Gartner, the sale of wearable devices will increase by 18.4 percent globally this year. Smart watches and body-mounted cameras are reaching widespread appeal, while augmented and virtual reality sales are primed to heat up this coming holiday season after several of the biggest names in video games launched products earlier this year.

Wearables for Business: Wearables will also break into the business world to empower employees and streamline workflows, with a strong presence in businesses requiring inventory management solutions.

According to recent studies, business wearables have not been adopted as quickly as anticipated—23 percent of businesses have started to test wearables for workplace security access. 20 percent have begun use cases on employee time management and real-time employee communication. However, 54 percent of businesses have embraced a “bring your own wearable” policy, with an additional 40 percent planning to support the model in the future. While inventory management hasn’t been as strong, commerce giants like Amazon are leading the charge, providing order pickers with GPS tags to locate items in their warehouses more efficiently.

UX/Designing for Wearables: Regarding design trends, mobile applications will continue to get easier to use and navigate in order to achieve the greatest user experience.

A recent study of top retail mobile applications indicates there is a clear correlation between sales and user experience. The businesses with the greatest sales were also found to be those that had invested heavily in improving the quality and simplicity of their user experience. These findings should compel other organizations to make simplicity a key design trait moving forward.

Enterprise Mobile Application Support: Riding the wave of BYOD policy implementation, demand will dramatically increase for enterprise mobile applications.

The increase in systems being used in business environments has made sharing data significantly more complex, leading to a rapid push to increase enterprise applications to unify employees and aid in the efficient completion of tasks. Global enterprise application integration is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11 percent from 2016 through 2020, according to a report released in July.

Employee-facing Mobile Applications: These will be a top priority for business leaders seeking to improve worker efficiency.

At the beginning of the year, we predicted internal mobile applications would surge in 2016. Due to the interest in fostering a bring-your-own-device culture, coupled with added support for remote and mobile workers, the deployment of internal mobile applications seemed a natural way to meet the changing role of tech in the workplace.

In a Gartner report released in June, statistics showed that while spending is still low, 42 percent of businesses expect to increase their spend on mobile application development by 31 percent by the end of the year … a number that includes both consumer and employee-facing products.

Mobile Security: Data breaches and other cyber-threats will increase this year, as technology implementation again exceeds security efforts.

According to the 2016 Consumer Loss Barometer report, a large percentage of businesses across sectors have neither budgets set aside for cyber-security, nor a leader responsible for the oversight of information security within their organizations. As a result, cybercrime has jumped from the 4th to 2nd most reported type of economic crime in 2016. Mobile devices are relatively soft targets for criminals looking for a path into business networks. With the rising number of devices in the workplace, in conjunction with a failure to improve security, it should come as no surprise that attacks have increased.

Be sure to check in again towards the end of the year, when we’ll provide a forecast for what you can expect to happen in 2017.