top mobile trends 2016Even though 2016 has just started, many marketing and tech analysts have already shared their expectations from the new year in mobile industry. According to the recently released TUNE report, for example, the overall smartphone penetration is likely to exceed 50%, and the total number of mobile app downloads is expected to grow up to almost 200B just this year. Impressive, ha?

Well, whereas the mobile winning streak will, obviously, continue, in 2016, it’s also possible to foresee the top industry trends for the year.

The “Booming” emerging markets

A few years ago, many mobile businesses still showed little interest in the emerging markets.

However, it’s nothing like that anymore. As the 2015 app download statistics prove, India ( #1: “Lifestyle & entertainment” ), Brazil ( #1: “Utilities”) and China (#1:“Travelling”), for instance, have now become a new power source for the global mobile industry.

Given that the 90% of app installs were organic both on Android and iOS in 2015, the shift of business development focus to the emerging economies will only accelerate this year.

The Must-Have Mobile-First vision

Unlike back in 2000’s when a mobile-first approach looked like a very ambitious, yet a risky idea for most online businesses, things are just the other way round today.

Regardless of a company’s niche, engaging their audience via mobile channels is no longer a goal or a strategy, it’s a reality check.

The trick is, the era of global mobile-first economy has already begun, thus a mobile-first business approach will be a Must in 2016.

The recent launch of mobile-app referral program by 4Sync in December, 2015, for example, reflects this trend perfectly. As the company management admitted , the number of 4Sync mobile users had grown so much, that it just seemed impossible to deny their business value anymore.

Non-Gaming Apps on the Rise

Even though gaming apps still hold the top positions in the global share of downloads/installs (over 50% for most countries), this year is likely to change the balance of power.

As the latest reports unveil, the gradual growth of installs in “Tools & Utilities”, “Travelling” and “Lifestyle & Entertainment” categories, tracked in 2014-2015 (thanks to the emerging economies, among all), will only speed up in 2016.

Moreover, the increasing demand for multi-functional services will probably lead to the rise of new, “mixed-category” apps, both in their “game/non-game” and other variations.  

In this respect, app duality (“entertain & help me”) and interactivity will, perhaps, be the key factors for app success in 2016.