It will be an understatement to say that mobile applications are the future. We have seen an exponential growth in the mobile apps from the time the concept was first introduced by Apple.
Today, businesses around the world are adopting mobile apps. Statistics shows that mobile apps are being preferred over desktops and other devices for making online transactions. Mobile apps alone contribute nearly 40-50% of overall transactions. Research suggests that they are going to increase further as smartphone subscribers increases.
Take the case of the Indian online fashion retailer Myntra for instance. They have gone app-only from May 15 after shutting down their desktop and mobile website. It’s not a one-off incident either. Indian e-commerce major Flipkart is also considering the possibility of going app only from next year.
The prospect seems to be bright for mobile apps and related mobile app development services. Mobile application development is being considered as one of the most promising careers in the job market today.
But my discussion here will address the key question as what will be the future of mobile app? Whether mobile applications will replace desktop websites or will co-exist with them?
Some analysts are of the view that future is only apps. They believe apps are going to replace desktop websites. I both agree and disagree. I agree that future looks bright for social media, entertainment, news & media, productivity and games related apps. On the other hand I have doubts on the success of online e-retailer’s decision to go app only. My assumptions are based on three facts:
Unreliable internet connectivity – India still does not have reliable internet connectivity. Hence most consumers like to transact using home/office LAN & wireless networks. With LAN network, one does not have to worry about the transaction hanging mid-way due to sudden drop in mobile internet speed or transaction getting disrupted through a phone call.
Big means Better – As a consumer I would like to have a better view of the product before I actually buy it. The desktop based website provides me a detailed view of the product with minimal scrolling. One can view multiple products, open each of them in a different tab, compare it and then make a buying decision. The mobile app lacks such feature.
Marketing & offers – Due to limited screen size of the smart phones, mobile marketing has been a concern for all companies. There are chances that customers may miss out on the offers and actually switch to other e-commerce websites for better deals.
& lastly Bubbles are meant to be busted – Time and again the industries have expected high hopes with certain technologies and eventually experienced that the market behaves otherwise. This has happened with many industries including busting of information technology bubble in beginning of this century. Eventually saturation comes in every field sooner or later and new technology replaces the old one.
Hence decision to go app-only just based on the statistics that people are doing most transactions from app might not be good idea. The reason many people are transacting from app might be because of the additional discounts and offers given by e-retailer on transactions done through apps.
In future the apps may completely replace the desktop websites in certain cases. However it is too early to predict the future of apps. This will become clearer when we analyze how the consumers perceive the decision of Myntra to go app only. It will take some months to ascertain whether this step to go app only is a good or bad decision.