Are Apps Still a Smart Investment in 2022? Find out now.

woman using an app on her phone
Author Photo Emily M. 26 Feb 2022

Is app development worth it in 2022? Do we really need apps since web browsers have become a lot more sophisticated and capable? These are questions that many people have been asking recently. Over the past couple of years, there have been murmurings from the tech world about mobile and desktop apps falling from grace. This has created quite a crisis among business owners and entrepreneurs who are wondering if they should build a custom app in 2022. Are iOS and Android users really abandoning apps? Is it even possible for apps to go away at this point? Spoiler alert: Apps are not going away. But, they are changing. So, if you are thinking “Should I build an app?” — keep reading to learn about the evolution of apps.

The State of Apps in 2022

Yes, some apps are going away.

....and that is a good thing! It's true that certain apps are dying, these are apps that no longer serve a purpose. An example would be Chrome Apps, which Google IS killing off in 2022. No one ever used these apps. They didn't serve a really great purpose. So, it's not a surprise that they are going to the app graveyard. But, that doesn't mean that apps are a bad investment.

Mobile apps are actually on the rise.

Rumors about the death of apps, in general, have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, 2022 is positioned to be a record year for app usage. People just can't seem to quit apps. Consider the following statistics.

There are currently more than 6.6 billion smartphone users in the world. That's up from 3.6 billion in 2016. Projections show that more than 7.5 billion people will be smartphone users by 2026. According to Pew Research, more than 85% of Americans use smartphones.

Why are statistics about the number of smartphone users worldwide important? The increase in the number of smartphones worldwide coincides with an increase in the number of apps downloaded worldwide.

Additionally, most smartphone users are spending the majority of their time on apps. People between the ages of 18 and 24 spend 66 percent of their time on digital media interacting through apps. Overall, 87 percent of smartphone users spend their mobile time on apps.

While 2020 is still fresh and new, data from 2021 points to stronger-than-ever performance for apps. People worldwide downloaded a record 230 billion apps in 2021. The figure shows a healthy increase from the 218 billion downloads in 2020, 204 billion downloads in 2019 and 192 billion downloads in 2018. So, year after year, there has been a steady increase of smartphone app downloads.

There is a demand for apps. Every smartphone user worldwide is a potential app customer — if you build a compelling product. However, it goes deeper than that. The growing integration of smartphones into communication, commerce, leisure and work demonstrates the need for apps. Because they serve as a universal delivery system for human-platform interactions, no other delivery system can compete with the app in 2022!

group of friends using their phones

The Handheld Future of Apps.

Apps aren't dying. They're evolving.

Over the last several years, life —as we know it, has changed. The pandemic actually led to a huge increase in app usage. Apps became lifelines for everything from socializing to getting groceries. People were even using apps as their virtual boardrooms.

Many people who have been predicting the great demise of apps have fallen into the anti-app category simply because they anticipate that the great app awakening that happened during the pandemic will end once things return to a pre-pandemic level of normalcy. However, the "reversal" mindset overlooks the fact that habits were irreversibly changed during lockdowns. People are looking for ways that make their life easier. That is why shopping for groceries via an app isn't going away. There is an ever-growing demand for apps that serve a purpose, that makes our lives easier.

Should You Build an App?

Should you build an app? This really isn't the question. The real question is “Can you build an app that is desirable and useful”.

Yes, it can feel like the market is saturated when so many games, planners and fitness apps exist. However, it's important to remember that an expanding market is never an oversaturated market. The smartphone universe is constantly evolving. And, app designers can find space in the gaps to do newer, better things than what established apps are doing.

How to Capitalize on the Growing Demand for Apps

Building a product to meet the growing demand for apps in 2022 starts with identifying an unfilled need in the market. The "classic" app categories to consider are educational apps, lifestyle apps, social media apps, productivity apps, entertainment apps and game apps.

Develop a niche before you develop an app.

As people get locked into their own ways of integrating their handheld devices and wearables into their daily life, they are increasingly searching for niche apps that can help them do so. This creates extraordinary opportunities to develop apps that solve specific problems, enhance certain elements of life and cater to the needs of people with specific end-user goals.

Potential niches: Wearable devices

woman using a smart watch app

The most obvious untapped app market is the wearables market because this genre is beginning to gain steam. The adoption of wearables has doubled in almost all wearable categories since 2019. According to Gartner, worldwide end-user spending on wearable devices jumped 17.6 percent to reach $21.8 billion in 2020.

Gartner analysts see continued steady growth in the wearable sector for the foreseeable future due to increased consumer interest in personal health and wellness following COVID-19. In addition, people are increasingly seeking "seamless" connectivity with new work-from-home lifestyles that don't appear to be going anywhere.

Here's a look at Gartner's predictions for spending growth among wearables by category in 2022:

As you can see from the statistics above, you're arriving at just the right time if you're considering the idea of developing an app that's intended for use with wearables.

The increase in the use of adaptable handhelds and wearable devices is opening up new opportunities for success in developing custom apps that enhance user experience.

While people aren't prepared to abandon apps when jumping to new devices, they are looking for apps that allow them to optimize their wearable experiences. Ultimately, the combined growth of mobile devices and wearables is poised to expand app demand. What's more, apps will become more relevant than ever as they become even more integrated into daily experiences.

What other app niches should you consider?

Many untapped niches within the handheld iOS and Android app markets still remain. App creators seeking to be early adopters in the next-generation space are focusing on niche apps for blockchain, VR and IoT. It's impossible for the app market to remain stagnant because the ways people interact with, depend on, and form expectations for their handheld devices are constantly changing. Every new change "in the ether" creates new opportunities to develop apps that solve recently emerging problems, fulfill newly realized desires and capitalize on "global" user trends.

woman using a crypto app on mobile and desktop

Other Considerations

After you have chosen a niche, make sure there will be demand for your app and that it will be useful. A viable app needs the following:

Here's Where to Start Your App Journey!

Are you ready to build an app? The truth is that trying to throw together an app that will get downloads, interactions, and high user ratings using app-building software isn't exactly the route of entrepreneurs. While a good idea is the starting point, good ideas aren't enough when it comes to execution. Creating an app that people want to use comes down to creating an app that people can trust because of the way it looks, functions and protects.

This is where you can lean on Deep Fork Technology. We help people with great ideas build great apps. We can bring your ideas to life using your unique specifications, whether you're looking to create an app for your business, create a business around an app, and everything in between. Our team specializes in software and app development for startups and small businesses with ideas so big that they can only fit inside a world-class app. If you need help building your app, we're only a phone call away.

Interested in building an app? Learn how we help clients do just that.

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