With over 5 million apps in app stores across platforms, what else can people wish for? Turns out, quite a lot. To learn the top mobile app ideas that are trending in 2021, read on.
Mobile devices change our lives every day, for better or worse. (The Circle may or may not have been a good movie, but it did make a compelling argument.) Apps make us faster and more efficient at completing tasks, freeing time — to fit in more tasks. From basic communication to business, from dealing with finances to managing health, mobile apps assist us with anything and everything. Which makes the mobile app market a very profitable place.
In this list, we offer top ideas and technologies that are trending in 2021 and are likely to continue trending going forward. So as not to make this list too long and repetitive, we’ve lumped some entries into categories.
1. Travel apps
Traveling is one of the wonders of globalization. With borders more open and travel becoming available to more people, travel apps have seen major growth. Very different mobile app ideas can fit into the travel app category. Some will come in handy not only for tourists but for locals.
Apps that provide city tours and show tourist points, museums, parks, galleries, and the like. Family-friendly, these apps offer users to explore significant locations and provide tips on what to see.
Apps to find a place to stay. Airbnb is an app of this type: it helps tourists find lodging with locals that’s cheaper than staying in a hotel. And of course, there are also apps that offer hotel bookings. Many include city guides, but they’re usually not as rich as in dedicated tour apps.
Nightlife guides. Apps like Unight are built for tourists and locals who fancy cocktails and dancing until the wee hours of the morning.
Public transportation guides. For those who can’t or don’t want to rent a car or a bike, help with public transportation is necessary. Therefore, this is a good mobile app idea.
2. Voice translation apps
Voice translation apps go hand-in-hand with travel guides. An app that can interpret speech is a great help when you don’t know the language. Besides, this market niche isn’t yet overcrowded: providing quality translation from English to, say, Russian or Mandarin is a formidable task. More so when interpreting spoken language, on account of accents and speech disorders.
A good voice translation mobile app will be profitable and rewarding in today’s market.
3. On-demand service apps
No list of mobile app ideas in 2021 is possible without on-demand apps. Led by the likes of Uber, Instacart, and Postmates, on-demand apps are all the rage today and will be for some time since our lives are only getting busier. Here are some trending app ideas in this segment:
- Delivery (gifts, flowers, groceries, food, etc.)
- Other services (e.g. ordering a massage specialist or a plumber to your home)
4. Augmented reality apps
Augmented reality (AR) isn’t all that new of technology. However, it wasn’t available on mobile devices until recently. Now we have Ingress and Pokemon Go, and AR has spread everywhere:
- Travel apps. See directions and distances to visit-worthy venues, check your coordinates in the woods, and share your location with travel companions if you get lost.
- Medical training. Students can practice surgeries without working on real cadavers.
- Interior design. Select furniture and see how it will look in your room.
- Mechanics. Make faster repairs with fewer errors thanks to step-by-step 3D instructions.
AR can be used almost anywhere, and smartphones are finally ready to adopt it. But AR is still new among ideas for mobile app development, and thus it catches the attention of users.
5. Anonymous communication apps
People are social animals, and communication is an essential part of our lives. At the same time, the last few years have seen an increase in privacy scandals on social media. Add to that situations when no one around you shares your love for certain ideas, in which case you need to find people outside your regular circle to share those ideas with. All this has increased the popularity of anonymous messengers and social networks.
Two interesting options are apps based on:
- Interests and hobbies
- Age (e.g. apps for elderly people who may share similar values)
If you’ve got any creative mobile app ideas for this niche, there’s no time like today to find an app development company and bring them to life.
Ever had to get up and plow through the streets to see a doctor while having a fever, sneezing your brains out, and breathing through a sore throat? Anyone who has appreciates telemedicine. Making a video call to a medical professional instead of dragging yourself to a doctor’s office is quickly becoming popular. Developing a telemedicine app is a solid idea for a startup.
7. Event planner apps
Even in dystopian movies and books, people find the time and occasion for celebrations. A party can be the brightest spot in a busy week. There are two major types of parties:
Grand celebrations like weddings, baby showers, and anniversaries
Smaller parties planned spontaneously
Some parties take weeks to prepare and some are planned in a few minutes, but all of them can use the help of mobile apps. Planner apps for parties can offer their users creative ideas and themes, a selection of decorations and info about where to purchase them, functionality to create and send invitations via email, lists of nearby and/or affordable stores selling clothes for white/black-tie events, and more.
Such apps can be targeted at specific celebrations (wedding planners) or a selection of different festive occasions.
8. Tax management apps
Managing and paying taxes is the curse of growing up. After a whole weekend spent calculating the amount due, anyone will gladly switch to an automated solution. A tax management mobile app is a good option for a startup: It’s not the hardest idea to bring to life, and it has a high chance of being successful due to high demand. You can enhance your app by integrating a payment gateway so that users can not only get their taxes in order but pay them.
9. Internet of Things (IoT) apps
Each year, more and more devices in our homes are connected to the internet. The benefits are undeniable. IoT-enabled appliances
make our lives more convenient (heat up the house before we come home)
help us save on bills (turn off everything that’s not needed when we’re away)
keep us and our belongings safe (send smart security system notifications if someone tries to enter the house)
According to Statista, the number of IoT-enabled appliances is expected to reach 75 billion by 2025. Innovative mobile app ideas for the Internet of Things will be growing in popularity for years to come.
10. Artificial intelligence-powered chatbots
Chatbots help companies interact with customers. They respond faster than people, never get tired or irritated, and weather and bad moods don’t affect them. Machine learning-powered chatbots can learn almost like human consultants, understanding customers’ preferences. This can enhance the experience of interacting with a brand.
Developing a chatbot is fairly simple for an experienced app developer, making chatbots one of the most popular startup ideas for mobile apps.
11. Graphical restaurant reservation systems (GRRS)
Are you interested in developing a restaurant app like OpenTable? A GRRS is a type of mobile app that will find users quickly. Graphical reservation systems offer a much more convenient way for patrons to book tables. Similar systems have been used in cinema and theater booking apps and websites, and now they’re coming to restaurants.
12. Instant messaging and social networking apps
Yeah, yeah, we know. Who needs more instant messengers? But if you think about it, messengers are a bottomless pit of opportunities for new mobile app ideas. New messengers become popular every day despite there being monsters like Skype, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. Think about a messenger for people with a certain hobby or interests. Or a set of features used in social networks but rare or non-existent in messengers (or vice versa). Use the idea validation stage to figure out what works. This niche still has a lot of potential and will definitely be prospering in 2021.
13. Fitness apps
Here’s another timeless idea for new mobile apps. All body types are beautiful, and sports aren’t only a way to get slimmer. Exercise is, first and foremost, a way to be healthy. For this very reason, developing fitness apps like Fitbit, Strava, and Asana Rebel will be among the trending apps in 2021, 2022, and further down the road — until the way to ultimate health without any exercise is discovered. Or robots take over the world. Whichever comes first :)
Check out Mind Studio’s SternFit fitness app case study.
14. Apps to rent sports equipment and find game companions
This is an innovative idea for mobile apps: connect with strangers in the area who own sports equipment and are willing to rent it. Or even tag along for a game. With healthy lifestyles being in trend for a few years already, apps like this will surely find an audience. Plus, they’ll become one more way to meet new people with similar interests and make friends offline.
15. Money management apps
Money management apps assist us in keeping to a budget, investing, and saving. All three aspects are growing in importance in today’s global economy, so it stands to reason that money management ideas can make for successful mobile apps.
16. Blockchain-based apps
Use of the blockchain has expanded in the last year. Now it’s not only tied to cryptocurrency. The blockchain is the greatest thing since sliced bread for the financial sector, smart contracts, and databases. If you have any relations with banking institutions, governmental bodies, or large corporations, blockchain-backed apps can be your ticket to success.
Bonus: Less common app ideas worth considering
1. Charity finder apps
Generosity is a virtue more and more people try to exercise. Even for those who don’t have extra money to donate, there’s always the option to give away clothes. A number of restaurants donate food left at the end of the day to nearby shelters. The key is knowing where the nearest shelter or charity is located and what it requires. An app with a database of charitable organizations is an idea of the utmost importance.
2. Safety-related apps
A simple app that sends a notification about the phone’s location to a trusted person can save a life in a dire situation. This kind of app can be activated by a tap or can be permanently active and send notifications at intervals. The former option could be used by people living in troubled neighborhoods and those who often come home late at night. The latter is a solution for parents and people with relatives who are elderly and/or have disabilities.
3. An app that helps people with sight and hearing impairment
Imagine an app that uses a smartphone camera to record the surroundings and relate it to the user in audio form. A blind person could wear a smartphone on a cord around their neck or in a chest pocket and listen to the narration via headphones.
It could work the other way for people with hearing disabilities: the phone’s microphone could record what people around are talking about and transform speech to written text displayed on the phone screen.
4. Book review finder apps
Despite what people from older generations may say, both Millennials and Gen Z read quite a lot. More than generations before them, in fact. But with so many tasks to juggle, it wouldn’t be strange if they just grabbed the first book they saw and dropped it when it wasn’t interesting. With social networks, young adults use reviews more than anything to find their next read. Goodreads, Amazon reviews, and book vlogs are thriving. Book review apps for specific genres or in different languages will surely be successful.
5. Parking finder apps
Big cities are overcrowded with cars, and finding a parking spot can be a challenge. An app connected to parking facilities can be a great help. Alternatively, with people starting to think about the environment more, you could also go for an app to find bike parking spaces!
6. Natural disaster alerting apps
Climate change has brought us more hurricanes, storms, and tsunamis. But traditional ways of warning people don’t always work. Alerting people living in potentially endangered areas that a storm is coming can save lives. This kind of app will surely be used.
How and where to find new app ideas
There are several ways to discover future mobile app ideas. And that’s precisely what you need to do, by the way — focus on the future; that’s the way to success.
High profitability is attractive for businesses, making the app market highly competitive. To thrive in it, it’s crucial to know your way around trends and innovations and to catch a wave in time. How do you go about that? Here are a few options:
- Research app stores for what’s trending and analyze the trends
Research and analysis are the cornerstones of any innovation, software included. By analyzing popular apps, you can see what they lack and fill the gap. Or you can offer a good alternative to existing solutions.
- Keep track of trends on social media (what people like and dislike about existing apps in your niche)
Social media is where people live today. Our happy moments and our sad ones, our achievements and struggles — we share them on our social media pages. It’s often a good place to look for people’s pains; you can find inspiration in them.
- Think about adapting apps (or just specific features) from other niches for your business
This is how innovation often happens: you see a feature (or several) that you believe will be useful for your niche but that no one seems to have implemented yet. Be the first to try and adapt ideas from similar or even completely different apps to your niche.
- Brainstorm with your team
If you’re not a developer yourself, some help from a professional will come in handy. You can brainstorm with your colleagues and consult a professional team with a project manager who’s thoroughly equipped with the necessary knowledge and can assist you in making a successful mobile app.
This is the end of our list of mobile app ideas trending in 2021 and likely to continue trending in the following years. This list isn’t exhaustive, of course; it’s more like a rough prediction. To know if each idea — present or absent here — will work, you’ll need to perform market research and analysis. But this list can be your starting point if you want to develop an app and aren’t sure what kind of app it should be. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us for a consultation.