2022 was a rollercoaster year for the smartphone industry, as soaring consumer usage and a wave of new technological advances saw smartphone penetration hit an all-time high.
There are now approximately 6.92 billion smartphone users in the world, and even with daily life returning to pre-pandemic levels of socialization and interaction, consumers are spending increasingly more time on their devices. Advances like mobile eCommerce, mobile gaming and contactless payments have vastly altered the mobile ecosystem.
But it's not just consumers who are impacted by shifting trends in the mobile space. Since mobile is now a primary aspect of effective business development – creating new business models, transforming market opportunities etc. – it's vital that business owners stay up to date with the latest mobile industry developments.
5G Adoption and Growth
Despite its associated controversy and a rollout that's been far from seamless so far in the developed world, 5G remains one of the most disruptive trends in the mobile industry for 2023.
Deployments are picking up pace across the globe; according to the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association), 112 operators across 52 countries have invested in public 5G trials and deployments. Furthermore, 32 operators in 21 countries have already launched networks, with a further 21 either deploying or piloting.
5G promises to deliver fast, low-latency connections that would enhance existing mobile use cases, from smart homes to factories and agriculture, communication, video and game streaming and even remote healthcare. Like all tech developments, however, it's not going to stand still, and we can expect to see 5G Advanced begin to roll out over the next 18 to 24 months.
The Next Stage for Mobile Gaming
The mobile sector has dominated the gaming industry for several years now, generating more revenue than both PC and console gaming combined. Mobile gaming is a vast sector that contains several different genres and is continually expanding as more genres enter the arena. Presently the remote gaming landscape encompasses everything from AAA titles to online pokies.
Advanced technologies like blockchain will undoubtedly propel mobile gaming into the next stage of its development. While most blockchain games are currently only available on desktop, recent projects like Calvaria's Duals of Eternity are compatible with mobile platforms - its rising popularity indicates how disruptive blockchain tech will be to the mobile gaming market.
Blockchain games introduce the concepts of ownership and earning while playing, with play-to-earn (P2E) business models rewarding players for their participation. In some cases, players can even own in-game items and land in the form of NFTs, which they can then trade for crypto or fiat currencies.
Blockchain tech is also bringing the potential for decentralized decision-making in gaming app development, which would enable players to contribute to the evolution and development of a game.
Progressive Web Apps Offer a Sustainable Approach
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), also known as Hybrid apps, are a web technology that is rapidly becoming a leading trend for mobile applications. PWAs offer users an experience similar to that of native apps while being cost-effective and able to operate offline. Additionally, they are linkable and easily discoverable through search engines without requiring dedicated app marketing.
PWAs offer a range of benefits, including increased customer engagement, higher page views, and lower bounce rates. They require less storage space than traditional native apps, as demonstrated by Twitter Lite PWA, which utilizes less storage than the Android or iOS Twitter app.
Businesses, especially SMEs, can take advantage of PWAs to enhance mobile traffic, reduce device storage usage, and improve loading and installation speeds, which can contribute to higher conversion rates and engagement. With these benefits, PWAs will continue to be a significant trend in 2023 and beyond.
New Consumer Devices
Wearable devices have been increasing in popularity with global consumers, but wearable tech is more than just a passing fad generating fun accessories. Many people now use fitness trackers to monitor their health, and wearable devices are even being used for medical purposes, such as monitoring the early signs and symptoms of viruses or diseases. According to predictions by Statista, the number of wearables in use at the end of 2022 exceeded 1 billion, while Globaldata forecasts that the wearables market will surpass $54 billion in 2023.
Foldable devices will also enjoy an increased uptake this year and beyond. According to Technavio, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 15% to reach $73 billion by 2027.
For business owners on the lookout for app development opportunities, foldable devices can deliver enhanced levels of audience engagement. Their advanced design and multiple screens make them particularly compatible with apps and programmes that enhance productivity.
mCommerce will go from Strength to Strength
Mobile commerce has emerged as one of the most significant industry trends of 2022 and will continue to grow in 2023. Mobile commerce sales have skyrocketed at an unexpected rate over the past few years, with the most surprising aspect of its growth being that smartphones have taken over PCs as the preferred platform for consumer transactions.
Rapidly improving mobile web design, the influx of mobile payments, and more usable shopping apps will all contribute to a sector worth as much as $620 billion in 2024 (Insider Intelligence).