What type of mobile app should I build?

Do you want to build an app? We walk you through the different categories and the demand for each
5 minute read
Adam Smith @HomebrandAdam
Technical Co-pilot
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Do you want to build an app? We walk you through the different categories and the demand for each.

Mobile apps are big business. According to Statista, the global market for mobile apps is expected to hit nearly $189 billion USD by 2020.

Apps cover a wide range of categories. The Google Play store has 33 app categories, while the Apple App Store has 24. In spite of this, only five categories account for nearly 55% of apps available through the platforms.

If you're looking to build and monetize an app, it's important to first review user demand. You can have a look at mobile app demand in the graph below.

Source: Statista

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What are the most popular types of apps?

We've run through the top five categories of apps available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play store. If you're looking to develop an app, it's likely to fall into one of these categories.

Games

Games is the app category that's most in demand, but it's also the most competitive. Fortunately, both Google Play and the Apple App Store work to spotlight indie games and developers.

The Google Play store features an "Indie Corner" section, while the Apple App Store has its own "Newly discovered indies"section. While both indie spotlight sections are selected by the Apple and Google editorial teams, Google Play actually allows developers to submit their games for consideration.

If you're looking to succeed at game development, you need to consider how to hook users. The games that keep users coming back are simple but addictive, offer rewards for daily use and feature stunning design. To learn more about developing games for mobile platforms, head here.

Business

Small business is actually big business for app developers. According to the US Census Bureau, firms with fewer than 20 employees account for 98% of all US businesses. If you're looking to develop an app, it's likely you're among this 98%.

As a small business operator, no one knows your needs better than you. From payroll and accounting systems to point-of-sale platforms to intra-office communication, small businesses rely on software solutions to keep their enterprise running.

To rise above the crowd with your business app design, you'll need to think of the problems your business needs to solve, look at the solutions available and identify areas where they fall short. What would your ideal business app look like? If it would benefit your small business, it would benefit others'.

Education

Educational apps aren't just for kids. Duolingo, the language education app, is the most popular educational app in the world, with 200 million global users. Its popularity has helped it raise more than $108 million USD in funding, bringing the company's valuation to $700 million USD.

Data from Metaari shows that global investment in educational technology tops $7.33 billion USD, with more than $994 million USD of that going directly to mobile education development.

You'll need to decide what kind of educational app you want to build. Is it tied to a course? Is it aimed at children or adults?

If you're looking to build an educational app that grabs users' attention, you should find ways to gamify learning by handing out achievements for milestones. It's also important to give users a way to save their progress and brag about their accomplishments on social media.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle is an incredibly broad category that encompasses a wide range of apps, with everything from dating apps to astrology apps to real estate apps. Because it covers such a broad range, the lifestyle category is one of the most in-demand. However, it also means you need to seriously narrow your focus when deciding what sort of app you want to build.

It's more useful to first determine what problem you want your app to solve, then recognize that it fits into this category rather than starting with the category and then trying to develop an app that fits it. Fortunately, lifestyle covers a range of everyday problems from finding a mate to finding an apartment to rent.

Entertainment

Entertainment is another broad category of apps that encompasses everything from streaming platforms like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime to off-the-wall apps like DubSmash. It's distinct from games in that entertainment apps don't necessarily have a predetermined goal. They're just a fun distraction.

Like lifestyle, the potential scope of the entertainment category is near limitless. If you've got an idea for a fun diversion that doesn't handhold the user into a particular outcome, it could fall into the entertainment category.

Also like lifestyle, it's more likely you'll begin with an idea and find it falls into the entertainment category rather than broadly deciding to create an entertainment app.

How can a freelancer help me build my mobile app?

If you know you want to build an app but don't know how, a freelance mobile app developer can help take your idea from concept to reality.

To begin, you'll want to write down what you want your app to achieve. Who is its target audience? What category does it fall under? What platform do you want it designed for? What user needs does it address, and how? Do you want to monetize it, and how? Next, think about how you want your app to function. How do you want it to look and feel? What journey should it take the user on?

Next, think about the skills you need to realize this vision. Do you need a front-end coder? A back-end coder? An animator? A graphic designer? Which parts of the process do you feel comfortable taking care of yourself and which parts will you need a specialist for? You can find specialists in all of these skills on the Freelancer platform, and even agencies that can handle the process from end to end.

Finally, think about the budget and timeframe you want to work with. How soon do you want to see your app deployed on store platforms? How much are you comfortable spending to achieve this?

Once you have all of this information, you can post a project with a detailed description of your goals and expectations. You can expect to start receiving bids on the project within a couple of minutes. When you find a freelancer or freelancers who fit your project, simply accept their bid and begin communicating to make your app a reality.

If you want to learn more about the process of hiring and working with a freelancer, you can read our detailed guide. Or, if you're ready to get your app development underway, click the button below to post your project.

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