This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) is set to bring the world’s mobile leaders, technologists and strategists together to discuss and debate topics informing what’s next for mobile, digital innovation and our connected world.
Consumers are spending over a third of our waking time on mobile devices – clearly indicating that mobile is an integral part of our everyday lives. Reflecting on some of this year’s themes for the conference, Lexi Sydow, Head of Insights at data.ai, has shared its insights into the mobile trends to watch in 2023:
“5G power makes it possible for mobile gamers to play multiplayer core games and world-building metaverse-style games outside the home and away from Wi-Fi, too. We’ll see advances in video streaming and downloading content for offline viewing, thanks to 5G. With video at the forefront of disruptors like TikTok, 5G acceleration is poised to help fuel the next evolution of social media.
Additionally, 5G is capable of fostering the next evolution in retail’s use of AR, expanding on the ability to virtually place furniture in your home with apps like IKEA Place, or the ability to visualize makeup shades with Ulta’s app. Telehealth and IOT devices like health & fitness apps stand to benefit from AR and VR, as well.”
“Reality+ (also known as the metaverse) has super-charged interest in immersive worlds. That same interest took off on mobile in 2021 … and continued to grow throughout 2022. ROBLOX is a great example of interest in the metaverse and was the #1 game by monthly active users in 2022 — a lead of 20% over the next most played title.
With consumer curiosity around virtual interactions at an all-time high and digital social connection underpinning more of our lives than ever, the intersection of powerful mobile graphics and faster 5G technology is primed to unlock a new chapter in our realities, with mobile at the core of it all.”
Financial services and mobile
Financial participation is at an all-time high and set up for further growth in 2023, with mobile (once again) driving change across the technology sector.
Mobile phones are the new bank tellers and credit cards, with the average user ‘walking’ into their digital bank branch every day. Mobile apps play an unparalleled role in banking the unbanked and getting access to financial literacy, capital and investments. With advancements in technology and accessibility, we are set to see a lot of innovation in the coming years. Mobile financial services will pave the way.
Democratisation of mobile gaming
At MWC this year, we’re hearing about how mobile supports a huge range of industries, and gaming is no different, with mobile devices driving its ongoing democratisation.
Gen Z is a ‘mobile-first generation’ – they’ve grown up with these devices as the norm, so have naturally taken to gaming, banking and more, straight from their phones. While overall adoption of mobile services may have been slower amongst the older generations, interestingly, when it comes to gaming, the ‘boomer’ generation has really started to engage. The easy access to games that mobile devices enable has helped dispel the stereotype of gaming being a time and financial commitment, and older generations are getting involved. As a result, hypercasual games, which trade on being easy-to-play, often free-to-play, and featuring very minimalistic user interfaces, have experienced major popularity and will continue to grow in 2023.
5G increases download speeds and reduces latency, improving user experience in areas like gaming and streaming. But at a conference all about mobile innovation, attention has unsurprisingly turned to the potential of 6G.
Looking ahead, 6G will be a key enabler of future IoT networks and applications. In both consumer and business cases, 6G can improve connectivity of devices and rapid processing of data, on which many applications rely. While this will continue to drive innovation in gaming, streaming and visual content, 6G will also support crucial industries such as agriculture and urban planning which are increasingly looking to smart technologies to streamline operations. Mobile apps will play an important role in this journey, enabling the management of these devices in real-time, from afar.
As consumer pressure mounts on retailers to prioritise sustainability, we’re seeing more and more shoppers turn to environmentally-friendly alternatives. While there are certainly many online second-hand retail platforms, apps such as Too-Good-To-Go, Depop and Olio have all experienced unprecedented growth in recent years. These apps not only capitalise on the growing disenfranchisement with fast fashion, but are driven by simple mobile interfaces which put quick access to second-hand goods directly in the hands of sustainability-conscious consumers.