2018 Predictions for the Mobile Economy

December, 21 2017

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Ben Nolan
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Ben Nolan

Everyone seems to be dropping their 2018 predictions. Even though we haven’t got our crypto-ai-ml-blockchain predictive algorithm quite dialed in yet, we do sit on a lot of valuable data and work with a lot of smart people, which means sometimes we know things. Here are our picks at Priori Data for the trends of 2018.


For Consumers:

1. Consumers will spend more money in apps.

People are still getting used to paying for online services directly in-app. Games led the way for in-app monetization for years, and this year we saw apps really beginning to catch up in terms of in-app revenue generation for the first time, at least in T1 markets. We expect this trend to continue, both in terms of revenue reaching parity in new markets between apps and games, and (maybe finally) carrier billing integrations taking off to get new markets used to the idea of paying for online content.

2. 2018 will be the year of mundane paperwork becoming digital.

Even Germany, land of never ending paperwork, is slowly being eaten by software. The last few months of 2017 have seen some great developments in the areas of digital finance managers for freelancers (Kontist, looking at you here) and (my personal bugbear) personal income taxes (Taxfix, you beauty). We see this trend continuing as the stone age bureaucracies slowly loosen their grip on their ballpoints and big rubber stamps and are dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age.

3. Smarthome continues its hypergrowth

The Smarthome market grew by +95% between Q2 2106 and Q2 2017 to $3.4b, led by US and followed by South Korea and Germany. Although Gateways seems to be the largest market segment, the global Smart Appliances Market grew +349% between Q2/2016 and Q2/2017 led by iRobot, LG and Samsung. With Amazon looking to be in every room of your house (see Echo Spot) in the near future, this is a market that’s growing fast and not looking to stop anytime soon.

>> Read full report here.

4. Subscriptions are going to make more sense for more people

All good things come to those who wait, and developers have been waiting a while for this. Thanks (mostly) to Spotify, Netflix et al, consumers are being given great examples of the value of subscription based services. With Apple also making life easier for devs using subscription models (“Apple tax” halved in year 2 of subscription) and consumers more ready than ever, we feel sure that 2018 is going to see the general public getting on board with more subscription services.

For Developers & Mobile Companies

1. The ASO hype will die down a bit.

It’s an important part of marketing - but so is building virality into products, building smart paid UA funnels (which are only getting smarter) and working out great partnerships to get your brand and products found. Once the initial optimization is done, it’s (in most cases) just percentage points - which can make a difference, don’t get me wrong - but not likely to make a 10x difference to your business, the way a powerful targeted paid marketing strategy can.

2. IP will continue to be strong in games.

The world isn’t getting simpler, and people love to be reminded of simpler times. Old school IP does that well, as well as TV IP, and I think we’ll see more plays from both leading studios and indies who can make a good case to IP owners (as Next did last year with Walking Dead, or as we saw with Super Mario Run). Will we see some of the Netflix/Marvel characters cropping up in video games, or will it be another old school 8-bit hero capturing our hearts in 2018? We’re not sure, but we think IP will be strong!

3. New legislation will make and break companies.

GDPR is coming in the EU, and Net Neutrality seems like it might be on the verge of being in the past. It remains to be seen exactly how this will effect the mobile industry, but GDPR will definitely affect what data developers and service providers can collect (and sell for advertising purposes), and Net Neutrality might make it hard for disruptors to cut in on established players, particularly in the content area (we could see Spotify/Netflix et al making whatever deals they need to, to lock up bandwidth with the telcos and comms networks in their verticals).

4. Blockchain technology will start to make a mark on advertising, if it can solve throughput problems.

Lots of companies are dedicating serious resources to making this happen, and smart people are on it. Here at Priori, we’re proud to be one of the first companies to become a strategic partner to the onXCHNG initiative, but we’re excited by all of the projects going on, and believe that the potential for transparency they bring is an excellent step for the advertising industry.

5. AR/VR. 

VR will continue to take more baby steps especially in the gaming and adult scene. AR will also continue to trend (helped along by Apple pushing ARkit), become stronger this year as more apps try to follow the steps of well received first movers (i.e Wayfair recently following Ikea in adding AR to their shopping app). We think this makes real sense, especially in shopping apps where returns are difficult (furniture, real estate, some clothes, etc). 

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