Key Mobile Trends for 2016

By Sheetal Jaitly

As we move further into 2016, we can expect to see key mobile trends continuing to change and develop from where they were in 2015. While the scope of technology is growing, it becomes more difficult to pinpoint where new trends will emerge.

With numerous advancements in technology, here’s our list of biggest mobile trends for 2016:

1. Messaging Apps as Full Platforms
China started the conversation that a messaging app could do more than messaging with WeChat, a messaging app that simply began as a way for users to communicate with friends and family. From its simple inception, more and more features were added onto their platform. Today, WeChat users can purchase plane tickets, request taxis, order food, and even pay their bills right in the app.

Although WeChat is only available in China, U.S. companies are working to develop something comparable to introduce to users. We already see apps with multiple capabilities, but have yet to see anything as integrated as WeChat. This will most likely change in 2016.

2. Mobile Payments and Mobile Commerce
2015 saw a huge rise in mobile payment options, although early adopters were few. When it comes to transferring money or making payments, most people are reluctant to pass over their bank account information until the kinks and potential threats are worked out and dismantled.

As these features continue to advance and users become more comfortable making mobile payments, including mobile wallet apps and retail-specific options, more businesses will provide the service. 2016 will see a popularization of mobile payment and mobile commerce options, with more and more businesses, banks, and the infamous Apple Pay and Android Pay batting to see who will be the go-to for mobile payments.

2015 also saw a growth in users making payments to friends, families, landlords, or merchants through payment apps like Venmo. With the introduction of these mobile payment apps, users can easily split bills, bar tabs, or send money to other users. This trend is expected to continue to grow, with an increase in individuals choosing to make payments without cash, card, or check completely.

3. Mandatory Location-Based Technology
In the past, location services have given users the opportunity to share exactly where they are, find others sharing photos in their area, or just check in with their followers. But for many, location services provide more of a threat than a benefit. For many users, checking in on vacation just shows your Facebook friends that your house has been left unattended.

2016 will see a revolution in how location services are used. Instead of using location technology to broadcast where you and your phone are, we may be looking at other devices, like computers, tablets, or even car keys, not working unless they are in the same area as your cell phone. By approaching location as a way to keep our users safer, location services can finally have its shining moment as a technology trend. 
 
4. Ads as a Seamless Native Experience
 Ads are becoming less intrusive in 2016, taking on more of a native experience. In light of this shift, they seem to be even more effective. A good example are the sponsored ads that Instagram includes as part of your news feed. Styling and placement is exactly the same as any other picture you would see on your feed which makes the experience feel more natural. Most of the time, you can barely differentiate it from any other post. Snapchat is doing something similar and seeing success with sponsored ads in the form of their snapchat filters. In 2016, we will see more apps take this approach for ad integration.
 
 With each year, we look ahead at how technology is changing and what it means for the world as we know it. These advancements in technology will influence the way industries all over the globe do business. In 2016, we are predicting the most influential trends to be in full-service platforms, developed from messaging apps, further development of mobile payments and mobile commerce, a shift in utility location services to protect users, and full integration of ads into a native experience.