Looking to start a new mobile app? Launching a mobile app startup has never been easier and hotter. If you are a developer or an entrepreneur looking to launch the next big thing, we’ve curated a list of the best mobile app ideas to create in 2020. Use it for inspiration and insights into the current mobile market trends.
Smartphones have exploded in popularity within the last decade, and they quickly replaced the old desktops for the average consumer. Even laptops are now outdated. Smartphones are our inseparable companions, bringing more convenience and fun into our lives. In addition to concrete mobile app ideas, we also tried to provide some insights on how to generate more app ideas, from our own app generation framework, that gravitates around starting with a niche.
In order to come up with all these hot mobile app ideas, we need to look at the industry trends of the last year. By analyzing all the mobile startups that have raised a lot of capital in private funding rounds, a few themes emerged. The mobile app market is hot, but the competition is also stiff. So you need to start small, in a limited community/market and take it from there. After all, Facebook started in one college, right? Don’t try to be Mark Zuckerberg in your first 6 months of launching a startup. Startups are a marathon, not a sprint, so focus on each stage separately.
Even if you already have a startup, but you lack a presence in the mobile stores (Apple Store & Google Play Store), you must consider switching your focus to mobile. Or at least add a mobile direction to your company. Even for small traditional businesses, such as restaurants or taxi firms, providing your customers with a hot mobile app will build stronger connections and boost client loyalty. Don’t miss out on the revolution that’s currently happening. Average users do not use laptops or desktops anymore.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the best mobile app ideas to launch in 2020, in order to create a successful startup.
1. Dating App Ideas
If you’re looking for a mobile app idea, you are already familiar with hugely successful dating apps such as Tinder or Bumble. They have hundreds of millions of daily active users. They are living proof that the mobile industry revolutionized all the aspects of our lives. And dating is no exception.
This incredible transition in dating, from websites (and newspaper ads, remember those?) to mobile apps creates a vast amount of opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on mobile startups.
Dating applications have taken over the world by storm. The main idea behind these apps is to create a platform that helps people connect to each other seamlessly, find new friends or dates, based on appearance, interests, etc. And these are only a few of the best features of a mobile dating app.
To build a successful dating startup, you need to come up with your own original approach. Your app must be unique and genuine, and you should be looking for innovative mobile app ideas. Even if you build the app with similar functionalities, your value proposition should be unique. That’s how apps like Grindr, for instance, were able to penetrate the mobile dating market, by targeting a smaller audience, such as the gay community.
If you ever decide to pursue our mobile app idea and embark on the journey of building your own mobile dating startup, you should take a look at our mobile dating app template. Our mission is to help entrepreneurs launch their mobile startups faster and at a fraction of the cost. Our dating app template has a large range of features, such as matching, chatting and push notifications with a stunning design and impeccable Swift code.
2. E-commerce App Ideas
The idea of building an e-commerce application has been around for a long time. Companies such as Amazon or eBay had e-commerce websites since the beginning of the Internet. However, the e-commerce space skyrocketed in the last decade, as mobile device adoption has increased. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at Amazon’s stock price. Or Shopify’s.
Shopping on a mobile device is convenient. But shopping in a native mobile app is convenient and FUN. Customers with a native mobile app order 8x more times than customers using a website.
The convenience in a mobile e-commerce app comes from frictionless check out experiences (e.g. paying Apple Pay takes on click), as well as an enhanced overall product browsing flows. Using features such as ARKit to preview products will blow the minds of your customers. Let alone beautiful product photo galleries or fast search functionalities. Build amazing e-commerce features, to improve user retention and implicitly, sales.
Leveraging push notifications to boost the loyalty of mobile customers, boosts user retention tremendously. This is a key lever in making mobile customers order 8x more times in a native app. Huge competitor advantage. Don’t miss out on it.
If you are an online e-commerce store owner, you must launch a mobile app. Especially that the app development costs dropped significantly in the last year. Having a mobile app won’t be a financial burden in any way. But the prospect of having loyal customers delighted by your WooCommerce or Shopify products makes building a mobile native app a no-brainer. Just look at how many Shopify mobile app builders have popped up on the Shopify App Store in the last year. Your competition might already be pacing you out if you delay this strategy.
Even if you don’t currently own an e-commerce store, the e-commerce industry is a trillion dollar market. So there’s a lot of mobile app ideas you can build to become successful in e-commerce.
Given e-commerce mobile apps are a popular mobile app idea in 2020, we implemented a fully functional shopping app template, to help entrepreneurs save thousands of dollars and hours of design, development and testing.
3. Transport / Ridesharing App Ideas
If you’re alive in 2020, I’m sure you’ve already taken an Uber, Lyft, Taxify, Grab, or Didi. Just in case, these are ride-hailing apps where you can call a cab by specifying your location on a map and tapping one button. Once matched with a driver, you can follow the car on a map, and get more information on the pickup estimate and the driver, such as their rating, photo, and license plate.
The ridesharing app idea might feel intimidating at first, especially that the taxi market seems saturated and the bar for creating such a complex mobile app is pretty high.
Well, as for the other mobile app ideas, you must start with a niche. Start in your own local market and extend slowly. That’s what Lyft and Uber did in San Francisco when they started. Taxify, for instance, is highly successful in Europe even if they started their business many years after Uber entered the European market.
The barrier of entry is not as high as it seems. In fact, you can build a ride-hailing app by buying an existing ridesharing app template, which in some cases, costs less than $1000.
You can also adjust this idea to different markets. Think outside the taxi space. Where else do people need to call services, based on location? What about handymen, barbers, photographers, teachers, etc? Or target your audience to a smaller market. SaFr, for instance, built a mobile startup just like Uber, but for women only, with women drivers and passengers. Their value prop is safe ridesharing for women, which is a brilliant way to compete with the long-established giants such as Uber or Didi.
See where I’m going with this? Ask yourself what is missing in your local market and come up with an “Uber for X” type of mobile app idea.
4. Grocery / Food Delivery App Ideas
Just like the ridesharing mobile apps jumped in popularity, the food delivery mobile apps have risen tremendously as well. Ordering food from your phone is fun and convenient. You don’t need to open a web browser, type in the website name, register/login on a no-name site and then order food, just to find out they are out of your favorite pizza.
Food Delivery apps such as UberEats, GrubHub, Doordash, Caviar, and Postmates are eating the world. They allow customers to choose from a wide variety of restaurants, without the hassle of creating accounts on each restaurant’s website. They truly revolutionized the food delivery market, by allowing each party to focus on what they do best: restaurants focus on making food and the mobile food delivery apps focus on delivering the food. All this benefits the consumer tremendously.
Just like the ridesharing industry, this market also seems oversaturated. But the good news holds true here as well: they are businesses focusing on local markets, so you can have a huge competitive advantage if you know your local market better than they do. You know what food is great, what food is not that good, what are the amazing restaurants, etc. Hell, you might even know the restaurant owners personally. Take advantage of this knowledge and build a food delivery app for your local market that is highly customized and offers your local customers a much greater experience than the generalized delivery apps can do.
To generate even more mobile app ideas, you can also ask yourself: what else can I deliver besides food? Instacart, for instance, is a mobile startup focusing on grocery delivery. They are highly successful, even if they started way later than Uber or Grubhub. The things people need to deliver are infinite: furniture, construction materials, cars, bikes, etc. Again, find your niche, be it the local market or the idea itself. A lot of innovative mobile startups get created based on this robust delivery model.
5. Travel Apps
Traveling is extremely popular nowadays. Everyone loves to travel and in these days, traveling is extremely affordable. Flights are cheap, mobility is high and technology is your travel guide (maps, information, translation, etc).
There are great companies capitalizing on the travel industry already. I’m sure you are already familiar with Airbnb, CouchSurfing, Booking, Expedia, etc. Just think outside the box, and come up with an original app idea to build for your startup.
Focus on a specific niche, that you are familiar with and are passionate about. Build an Airbnb for camping, or for cars, or for work, etc. There are a ton of mobile app ideas you can generate with this framework here. Just find something sound and do it with passion.
6. Social Networking
Social networking might sound like the oldest and most non-buzzwordy mobile app ideas ever. But social networks are not going anywhere. You can argue that the market is saturated, due to Facebook and WeChat, but hey, plenty of other mobile apps more recently launched prove you wrong: Instagram, TikTok, SnapChat, etc. A social network is still a hot mobile app idea. Humans are social beings – we love to interact with each other. And we love diversity.
Each of the existing successful social apps has its own angle in terms of value proposition:
- Instagram – high-quality visual photos
- TikTok – short-form vertical videos
- Snapchat – disappearing messages
- Twitter – short-form text messages
- Linkedin – social network for professionals/careers
- Whatsapp – encrypted private messaging
You get the idea, right? Come up with your own social networking value proposition and build a successful social network. People have multiple personalities, they have different types of acquaintances (friends, family, teachers, work colleagues, bosses, interests, etc.), so all these represent great opportunities for an entrepreneur looking to tackle the social media space.
Or, you can tackle this from a different perspective, and try to be a direct competitor to an existing app. With a twist. For instance, in the light of recent Facebook’s privacy scandals, you could build a social network focusing on user privacy and encryption. That would be shooting for the moon, but hey, who knows?
Make your own social network fun, useful and addictive, target a niche audience (for the beginning), make sure you have a differentiating value proposition and go get them.
7. Store Directory / Business Locator
Have you heard about Yelp or Foursquare? These apps allow users to find different small businesses or stores around them. You can find anything, from handymen, photographers, accountants, doctors, to barber shops, restaurants, and shopping malls.
What’s truly innovative about these startups/companies, is that they have a rating and review system for each of the stores and businesses in the directories, where users can voice their opinions on the experience they had with that entity. So users are using these apps to read reviews about the people and businesses they want to engage with.
This mobile app idea is also extremely local. Each city has its own mini-marketplace when it comes to doctors, restaurants, handymen, parks, etc. Which is one of the reason apps like Yelp struggle to extend internationally. But this represents a great opportunity for mobile entrepreneurs. You can launch a better version of Yelp or Foursquare tailored to your local market, be it your own city or country. By building a local ecosystem, you can launch a much better product that Yelp can do, since your mobile app will focus solely on a specific highly customized market. You can even restrict your niche, by going after only one category (doctors, for instance) and excel at it. The mobile app ideas you can generate from this are absolutely endless. Think only about how many categories there are on Yelp or Thumbtack.
In implementing this mobile app idea, you need to add at the very list critical features such as map views, location services, reviews & rating system, search, user onboarding, etc. The great news is that developing an app like Yelp is actually pretty easy nowadays, especially if you use one of our store locator app templates.
So between Google and a colorful application, and UI is presented scientifically like this, which one do you prefer? In addition, there are other features that you can add to your application such as a group filter, save a store you love, and leave your comments, etc. All of these features have been implemented in our templates, and with just an amount of money equal to a few cups of cocktails, you’ll become a formidable opponent to Google in the future.
8. Cryptocurrency App Ideas
A very lucrative mobile app idea as of last year is cryptocurrency related. With ICOs and Bitcoin blowing up in popularity at the end of 2019, 2020 is the year when the crypto market becomes more mature and stable. So it’s no surprise lots of mobile cryptocurrencies exchanges are popping up at an accelerated pace.
Mobile startups such as Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Robinhood or Coin Stats have capitalized on billions of dollars of crypto-related activity, within the last year alone. The market is still in its incipient stages. So the mobile app ideas in the crypto space are limitless.
If you’re looking to start a new app, make sure you analyze the cryptocurrency space. Blockchain and smart contracts are new industries in themselves, so entering it is like entering the Internet business market in the 90s. It’s not clear who the winners will be yet, so why not you?
Around this app idea, there’s a ton of types of mobile apps you can build. From the trivial ones, such as cryptocurrency exchanges apps (for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, etc. trading) and Bitcoin / Crypto wallets, to more advanced ones, such as digital wallets, Bitcoin payment apps, and platforms, etc. Here are the top mobile app ideas for cryptocurrencies:
- Crypto Payment Platform
- Crypto Trading app / Crypto Exchange
- Multi-currency Wallet
- Statistics Aggregation Point (think Bloomberg terminal for crypto)
- Peer-to-peer cryptocurrency payments (Venmo/Square for crypto)
We’ve built an app template ourselves, in order to help cryptocurrency entrepreneurs launch Bitcoin/Crypto apps much faster. Check out our Crypto App Template or Cryptocurrency Exchange Template if you’re looking to move quickly with your crypto app development.
9. Mobile apps for restaurants, coffee shops, bars and more.
Small business owners have a huge opportunity ahead. Building a companion app for a small business might prove to be a very profitable idea. A small local business, such as a restaurant, coffee shop, bar, pubs, dentists, hair salons, etc. could benefit from a mobile app, by offering to their loyal clients, convenient features, such as appointments, online orders, mobile payments, special discounts, events, and notifications.
Imagine you get to notify your loyal customers that there’s a huge discount on beer for tonight’s football game at their favorite bar nearby? Sounds like the recipes for success, right?
Managing appointments or table reservations for a restaurant, a doctor’s office or a hair salon is also a great way to provide your customers with convenient user experience. Millennials, for instance, hate to speak on the phone, but they love to use their mobile phones. You can also add features such as reminders with push notifications, to provide an even better native experience. Nothing a website can do, really.
This is one of the best mobile app ideas for small business owners. Keep up with the times, people! You’ll be able to boost your sales by bringing in an additional revenue stream. Retain your loyal customers and create a predictable revenue avenue, by expanding your business beyond the four physical walls, that are limiting you so much.
The same ideas apply to almost any small business providing services locally. Starbucks has a mobile app. Your local competitor will have one too pretty soon. Don’t fall behind. Millennials are coming.
We strongly believe in this mobile app idea, which is why we’ve built this restaurant app template. If you own a restaurant, coffee shop or bar, you can literally submit your working app to the App Store today. As you can see, the cost of developing a mobile app for your small business is really low nowadays, so there are no excuses really.
10. Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality App Ideas
Virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency are the hottest buzzwords in Silicon Valley. They are hot in the Bay Area for a reason, so pay attention to them, if you’re looking for a new startup idea.
AR technology has developed rapidly and in the near future, it will become extremely popular. Especially with new frameworks coming from Google and Apple, such as ARKit and MLKit. With this technology, you will have the opportunity to build brand new original experiences for your customers and consumers.
For example, Ikea’s mobile app allows you to preview the furniture in AR, by placing it in your living room, to see how it fits. All of this, without taking any measurements or even leaving the house. This type of experiences is really useful for furniture stores, repair or design services, artistic apps, e-commerce apps, etc. Even social networks – imagine hanging out with your friends abroad, through VR rooms. There are a ton of mobile app ideas you can generate in the AR / VR space. All of them are fun, but could be a little hard to build. Apple and Google are working hard on lowering the bar of entering these markets for developers and entrepreneurs.
Augmented Reality is a new industry in itself, so just as the cryptocurrency space, we don’t know the winners yet, so entering this brand new market might be a brilliant idea given its incipient stages. The competition is not that stiff either, so that’s an extra opportunity.
11. Music Streaming App Ideas
Spotify just went IPO this year. They are officially a $15B business. Huge, right? Apple Music is even larger than Spotify. Amazon has launched its own music streaming service. Besos might be up to something, right? Soundcloud is also pretty successful, even though they have a different angle.
That’s what you need too. A different angle. Try to find a smaller niche, maybe target a specific audience for your artists or listeners and launch a music streaming app to ride the wave of content streaming popularity. Here’s a concrete idea: why not create Spotify clone for your country, that is highly customized to your culture? Spotify will never do that. Wink, wink. You get the idea. Well, the mobile app idea in this case.
12. Video Streaming App Ideas
Two video streaming app behemoths here: Netflix and Youtube. And all of their competitors, of course. Apps such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, IQIYI, etc. are capitalizing massively on the death of TV as we know it. This is the best time to join them. Look at Netflix’s stock in the last 2 years, to understand how hot this industry really is. With the great Internet infrastructure, streaming videos nowadays comes at no price to developed areas, so consumers are watching more and more videos on mobile devices.
As in any startup idea, you need to come with your own original angle, in order to build an innovative and unique mobile app. Find a video streaming niche and take it from there. The possibilities are endless. Just find the X in “Netflix for X”. It can be anything: Netflix for Salespeople, Netflix for developers, Netflix for designers, courses, Netflix for marketing, etc. Find your X.
Conclusion on Mobile App Ideas
Regardless of your goal, be it improving profits for your current business or changing the world through a new innovative mobile app startup, I hope that this article on mobile app ideas was useful and inspiring. Remember, no ideas are too big, you just need to start small.
Mobile is eating the world with software, so pay attention and ride the wave. Don’t miss out on the revolution that’s happening right in front of you.
At iOS App Templates we are trying our best to identify the hottest trends in terms of mobile usage and development so that we can predict what types of apps to build next. Our mission is to help people like you get started on their new mobile journey. That’s how this list of the best mobile app ideas came to reality.
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