Mobile Trends Set to Hit the US in 2020

2019 was a hectic year for many in the social and technology spaces, and we expect that theme to carry into 2020: the “new normal” will become just “normal.” We are optimistic about this new year but also foresee some systemic changes as to how mobile technology will continue transforming our lives while allowing us more control.

Google will become the retail sweetheart. 

With its unlimited reach and unsurpassed data through its app ecosystem, Google will help bring consumers back to local retailers. Between Google Search, Maps, Play, Home, Assistant, and YouTube, among many more channels, the company knows about our habits, preferences, and tastes in intimate detail.

Using this intelligence, Google will put location/context at the center of its experience and allow retailers to better connect with users, locally and relevantly. It will be up to local retail businesses to aggressively promote themselves on the platform in order for Google to work its matching magic and drive more traffic to the most astute retailers—both real and virtual.

Music apps turn into lifestyle apps. 

If there is a war that is quietly happening behind the scenes of other much-talked-about streaming platforms, it is the battle for our ears. Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud, Amazon, and Apple Music, among many others, will be looking to conquer new territories in 2020. They will extend their experience to new contexts such as the car, the movie theater, or shopping centers, and increase their share-of-ears this way.

No longer will the usage of music apps be limited to home, work, and the commute between the two; they will take over every minute of our day and recommend songs based on our surroundings. But the real innovation will be the tailored content, products, and services they will slowly add to their music offerings, leveraging our stated preferences. Music tastes will lead to recommendations for podcasts, fashion items, or wellness services. Keep rocking!

Amazon will buy Uber. 

To solve its last-mile problem, while increasing drivers’ revenues and loyalty, Amazon will acquire Uber. Using its logistics savvy, Amazon will find in Uber the ideal partner to complete the last part of the journey from the warehouse to a customer’s home.

By integrating the ride-sharing company into its operations, Amazon will benefit from Uber’s global footprint and up-to-the-minute technology and allow drivers to transport people and goods simultaneously, thereby increasing each ride’s ROI. An Uber/Amazon app will see the light and become a major force in the super app category, upending the trend started by WeChat and Grab in Asia. More importantly, we’ll be able to book a car from the airport already loaded with the next gadget and our cat’s favorite food.

Location-powered experiences will become the norm. 

As our mobile phones become smarter, we will want better, relevant, timely, and contextual experiences at any given time. Whether going about our day-to-day, exploring new places, or traveling to a new country, we now expect our favorite mobile apps to anticipate our needs and wants, serving us with the right information at the right time and place.

Shopping or food and drink apps will scan our surroundings and offer experiences tailored to our tastes. “Need a table at the newest fusion restaurant in the Mission District? Booked!” Social media, dating or messaging apps will connect us in real-time to friends and family nearby. “Add two people to your dinner party? Done!” Lifestyle, travel, and news apps will adapt to the new city, country, or region we’re in and offer super local content and services. “Looking for the Mission District of Hong Kong? Here it is!”

Pascal Ehrsam is CMO of Herow.

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