This is the sixth of Havas PR’s “11 Trends for 2016.”
Less than a decade ago, nobody had heard of apps, let alone owned or used one. That changed with the debut of the App Store in July 2008. Now users of Apple mobile platforms have made more than 100 billion app downloads of the million-plus apps to choose from. Google’s Play Store has a comparable number of apps available and even more downloads, although it generates lower revenues.
Apps have gone from nowhere to everywhere thanks to the rapid spread of mobile devices, fierce market competition and the fact that they are right there all the time, anytime. In just a few intense years, apps have become the go-to solution for a whole lot of problems large and small. In fact, right now plenty of people are facing an issue, thinking “There must be an app for that” and looking for one. Plenty of apps already exist for obvious problems: “What’s that tune?” (Shazam), “I need a taxi” (Uber, Hailo), “How far have I run?” (Runkeeper, MapMyRun), “How many calories are in this?” (MyFitnessPal), “I need a date” (Tinder) and “What do these symptoms mean?” (WebMD).
The millions of apps already created are just the beginning of a self-reinforcing loop of appification. As more people use familiar apps and discover new ones, more smart people and smart investors are stepping up to provide new ones, some of them fired up with how-tos from resources such as George Berkowski’s book How to Build a Billion Dollar App. As increasing amounts of consumer attention are focused on mobile devices rather than on PCs, apps will do all the heavy lifting of online interactions.
Building websites used to be the preserve of specialists, but now anybody can do it with consumer-oriented technologies such as WordPress and Squarespace, which are part of a whole new DIY website economy. Expect something similar with a DIY apps economy. Developers are already using existing technologies such as Appery, TheAppBuilder and AppMachine for their clients. Next up: a whole lot of inventive but non-techie DIYers to invent apps in a massive wave of crowdsourced problem solving.