For the start, let us just lay down what scalability is. In short, it is the ability of an application to adjust to the desired capacity and deliver impeccable performance even when the number of requests skyrockets.
On one hand, it means that even if the number of users suddenly doubles or quadruples, your app won’t crash. On the other, a scalable application allows you to add new features and services with ease.
What shapes the app and tech landscape?
Among many factors that influence the growth of particular industries and apps, we can list social, technological and economic ones. The former refer to our habits and behaviours (and how they change) or to workforce availability. The second category comprises technology development, the trend towards process automation as well as digitization on its own. There are also economic factors, which can include, for instance, investors’ preferences. They sometimes have a derivate character as they not only influence the development of specific businesses but also show which industries/sectors are the most likely to grow in the future. Worldwide statistics say that only in 2019, Venture Capital spent 23.4 billion EUR on startup projects.
With funding of this size, we can easily say that the capital shows the trends, shapes the expectations and leads the business of the future.
Today’s investment is likely to impact how the technology market will look in the next few years.
Looking at the new economic situation, we can expect that VCs will hold new investments and in return, pay more attention to the companies and technologies they already invested in.
Finally, there are also more unpredictable environmental circumstances that force and speed up digital transformation across industries and current coronavirus outbreak can be counted as one of them.
We analyzed the above-mentioned factors to present an overview of businesses, which, in our opinion, will need to scale their apps in the nearest future.
Healthtech and MedTech have been on the lips of VCs for some time now. These trends show no signs of abating. On the contrary, it is an area where we can expect substantial venture funding growth for the foreseeable future. The projected average compound annual growth rate in the market is 21% with telemedicine reaching a market valuation of 41.2bn USD in 2021.
Companies which leverage possibilities presented by converging personalized healthcare, at-home diagnostic collected a high number of investments in the past year.
Today, when 1-on-1 doctor appointments are being cancelled or postponed due to pandemic, providing a safe way to diagnose, counsel or even examine patients is a new (and worldwide) challenge. We can already observe big medical centres opening for online consultations between patients and doctors.
One of the latest use cases for MedTech was a 5G-powered system that enabled remote consultations between doctors at West China Hospital and 27 other hospitals, all treating patients with coronavirus.
In the next months, we can expect new knowledge-sharing or case-sharing platforms for medics, appointment booking systems or even AI-powered diagnosis tools that analyse X-ray scans much faster than a human would.
Startups already play an important role in fighting the pandemic. Solutions such as sterilisation with the use of UV light or a cool project that allows patients to self-examine and send their results to medical personnel are on the lips of consumers and investors. Enough to say that a Cambridge-University based startup that explores treatments for rare diseases raised 56 million USD in October 2019.
Video, Streaming and Gaming
Streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO or Disney+ have been going through a big boost recently. Roughly 51% of people worldwide claim to watch more shows on streaming services. The leap is so rapid that Netflix would compromise on the quality of their streaming in order to provide more people with content. It’s no surprise, the consumption of media has recently skyrocketed.
The same goes for music applications such as YouTube Music that noted an amazing 980% growth in the number of unique monthly users compared to 2017.
If we add to it that 75% of children between 6 to 17 years old want to be “social media influencers”, we’ll clearly see that video streaming, self-publishing and online TV is going to stay with us for long.
Source: App Annie
Advertisers know it more than well. In 2019, advertisers in the US spent 123 billion USD on internet ads, making it the biggest advertising medium. By 2023, the number is expected to grow by another 23%. Measuring the average ad spend per internet user, we’re talking here about getting to 18.4 USD per single user.
Online entertainment accounts also for eSports and online games. This sector is exceptionally prone to adopting new technologies such as VR devices. Enough to say that VR game revenue rose by 41% during 2019, mainly due to the arrival of the Oculus Quest.
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Super Data Research expects worldwide revenues in digital gaming to reach 124.8 billion USD in 2020. If the revenue distribution will be similar to 2019, roughly 3 out of every 5 dollars would come from mobile devices. There’s also no sign of investors turning their back on online gaming, especially that, as Verizon’s report shows, nowadays we observe an insane (75%) weekly increase of data usage generated by gaming.
A part of this increase belongs to eSports, an industry that’s expected to grow rapidly in the coming years and generate 1.3 billion USD in revenue in 2022. The biggest share will come from advertising and sponsorships, the rest from eSports betting, merchandise or ticket sales. Even though the big, outstanding (and profitable!) events had to be cancelled and probably won’t come back in the nearest months, it’s possible to shift esports back online, where they began — it just takes a little doing. So the damages the pandemic would do to the industry seem to be less nagging than expected and on the other hand, the development prospects are more than positive.
The first quarter of 2020 definitely belongs to business applications. Apps play a vital role in opening new sales channels or adjusting businesses to ever-changing circumstances and trends such as online entertainment or remote work.
Let’s take the most demanded collaboration application out there - Zoom. Before March, Zoom ranked first in the App Store only on one market. When companies started to look for tools that allowed remote communication, Zoom secured the top position on 141 markets! In fact, the scale was so big that it soon revealed some of Zoom’s security vulnerabilities. A cost of scaling too fast. By the way, Zoom handled bug fixing very swiftly.
Source: App Annie
But Zoom, of course, is just one of many examples of collaboration tools that allow people to take part in real meetings and hold real conversations in virtual rooms. Slack or Teams - corporate favourites real-time communicators - are also experiencing a boost in terms of new user count. Same goes with remote collaboration (e.g. InVision, Mural, AdobeXD) or time tracking applications that allow monitoring work progress and reduce costs by automating time reporting and other workflow processes.
We can expect that the next months will remain a boom of workflow and business tools. Teleconferencing has opened new doors for advisory businesses and specialistic (e.g.) medical consultations. The mental barrier of face-to-face conversations and handshakes are gone for now (maybe even for good).
Food delivery apps
As of 2019, restaurants in the US made almost 60% of their sales off-premise. According to App Annie mobile report, this number is to grow to 80% by 2025.
Such growth would be impossible if it wasn’t for the entire spectrum of delivery apps such as Uber Eats, Glovo, Delivery Hero or other local brands.
The same goes for supermarkets and grocery stores. Some have introduced online shopping years ago and therefore have the app infrastructure in place (e.g. Tesco). Others were waiting for the market to be ready. Now they need to join forces with delivery providers, just like Carrefour does on the Polish market with Glovo, offering door-to-door food delivery.
But that’s not all. In 2020, competitive grocery stores will also offer regular grocery packs subscriptions and other services. All of them will require either building new or adjusting existing loyalty applications to carry the heavy load of a sudden consumer shift toward online orders.
Technology-wise, companies need to adopt solutions that, so far, used to move forward relatively slowly. Mobile wallets belong to the family and become an integral part of blooming delivery services. Consumers are changing their preferences towards cashless operations, integrated payments and other no-touch solutions that can keep payments safe and hygienic.
Business Insider Intelligence already expects a 10.5% compound annual growth rate of cashless transactions from 2019 to 2024. Not mentioning couriers who with a snap of a finger became one of the most demanded occupations out there.
Retail & Ecommerce
The entire 2020 can be a year of scaling up for retail stores that have already launched digital sales channels. Pushing their clients towards buying online or extending their offer with a free pickup service might be vital business decisions, especially in the case of non-essential goods.
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Sudden interest in online sales is a huge opportunity for e-commerce shops to leverage new technologies and business strategies. Seems like a perfect time to get ready for new potential customers and the traffic and load they bring to the application. And the last moment to think of making e-commerce shops mobile-first.
The trend that we see coming to e-commerce in 2020 is using the power of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to give customers a feeling of actually being in the store and almost “touching” the products.
The fintech sector will largely benefit from artificial intelligence (AI). PwC estimates that AI can influence the global economy by 2030 by 15.7 trillion USD. The expertise of British AI companies will significantly contribute to this increase in global economic growth and productivity, especially in finance. And that’s an opportunity for fintech software, including saving applications, breakdown applications or digital wealth management.
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2020 will also be an important time for banks. Fiercer competition between FinTechs will force banks to look for new ways to engage with their customers online or move their operations entirely to the Internet. Maybe even allow new remote authentication or onboarding methods. Ironically, the insane pace of fintech development will increase the competition between banks’ offerings and move the balance point towards better customer experience.
With lost revenues in some sectors and emerging opportunities in others, cost-efficient infrastructure will become a key to providing scaling services after 2020. According to CB Insights Market Sizing tool, the serverless computing industry is estimated to grow from approximately $1.88B which was in 2016 to $7.72B by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 33%.
The potential in helping enterprises “go serverless” has never been that high. As Scott Sage, a co-founder and partner at Crane Venture Partners, states:
Most companies have some combination of cloud and on-premises applications and with more applications around, often from different vendors, the need for integration has never been greater.
No surprise that in January 2020 Crane Venture Partners invested 3 million USD in scaling a startup that facilitates flow orchestration across apps running in the cloud and traditional data centers.
It would not be an understatement to say that education is going through a digital revolution. We can see it in the number of users buying (and creating) online courses as well as in the level of VC investments in the industry. But venture investments provide only a fraction of funds for the growth and development of education technology. Private sector put up 18.7 billion USD globally to support learning technology suppliers in 2019.
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The landscape of educational applications is a never-ending story. From scaling LMS platforms to providing robotic kits and robotics lessons for schools; you name it - EdTech has already figured it out. Now it’s only going to get bigger, faster and better. And that will need a lot of scaling up.
Ready to scale?
Challenging times, such as the one we’re going through now, tend to verify the strengths of any business and their readiness for scaling up or turning on new sales channels. Companies need to adapt their apps and offerings to stay competitive.
From 2016 onwards, each year has been announced a Year of Mobile. Customers spend more and more time on their phones, shifting towards online shopping, online banking and, in general, spending money online. Such circumstances can speed up the process of digital transformation as well as the implementation of online and remote sales channels.
A lot of businesses will benefit from such a trend. Telemedicine, gaming and online entertainment are only some of the areas that will need to invest in cloud solutions, third party integrations, fast prototyping, MVPs or entirely new technology enhancements.
If you want to keep up with the race for faster digitalisation, consider scaling your current system now. Reach out to new customers via mobile channels or move your app to cloud for better load management. We have helped many online businesses scale. Let’s talk and see how we can help you.