What is a Mobile App and Why Does Your Business Need One?

Yogesh Pant
Mar 30, 2024


"Is it time for your business to have its own app?” This is a big question every organization comes across sooner or later in its expansion plans. It's not a decision to be taken lightly. 

As people move forward to a mobile-centric world, it’s no secret why mobile apps are considered one of the greatest inventions of the millennium. Back in 1997, when Nokia 6110 launched its first in-built mobile app, ‘Snake,’ who would have imagined one day, the mobile app industry would be worth $196.08 billion. The most exciting fact is that it is continuously growing and is expected to expand by over 1,383.65 billion by 2033. The reason behind this immersive growth is the growing number of mobile apps that are meant to offer convenience in your life. 


Now that sounds pretty interesting! If you still wonder why mobile apps are getting all the hype, imagine a smartphone without any app (even the mobile browser); there would be nothing left to be called smart. There’s more to the story! According to research, an average smartphone user spends 90% of their total interaction time on apps. 

There are countless benefits to having a mobile app for your business. If you’re interested to know how, you’re at the right place. This guide will explain literally everything you should know about mobile apps and list down the solid reasons why your business needs one. 

What Is a Mobile App?

A mobile app is software designed for smartphones and other devices, such as tablets or smartwatches. Initially, apps were created to help with tasks like managing emails, calendars, and contacts. 

However, the growing demand for apps led to their use in various fields, such as gaming, industrial automation, GPS and location services, tracking orders, and buying tickets, leading to the availability of millions of apps today.

There are two main categories of mobile apps: native apps and cross-platform apps. Native apps are specifically designed for a particular mobile operating system, usually iOS or Android. On the other hand, cross-platform apps are designed to operate on any device, regardless of the operating system it uses. This makes them a versatile choice for reaching a wider audience.

Key Insights and Market Overview of Mobile App Industry

  • The global mobile app market is booming and was around $196 billion in 2023, and it's expected to reach over $1.3 trillion by 2033, growing at over 20% each year. (Source: Precedence Research)
  • The Google Play Store alone has over 3.7 million apps for Android phones, most of them free.  (Source: Precedence Research)
  • The mobile gaming industry is huge, too, raking in almost $70 billion in revenue by the end of 2021. (Source: Precedence Research)
  • A report by Data.ai says that people in India spent a whopping 8.7 billion hours on shopping apps in 2022 alone. (Source: Data.ai)
  • The mobile app market in Asia Pacific was valued at over $64 billion in 2023, and it's expected to reach over $456 billion by 2033. (Source: Precedence Research)


Importance of Mobile Apps in Today’s Market

Remember that bulky laptop you used to lug around? Today, most of its functions fit comfortably in your pocket – thanks to mobile apps. But it's not just convenience that's driving the popularity of mobile apps. 

From requesting a cab in minutes to tracking our fitness goals or ordering dinner with a tap, mobile apps provide instant gratification and streamlined experiences. Businesses are catching on, too, using apps to create direct lines of communication with customers, offer exclusive deals, and build brand loyalty.

It's not wrong to call mobile apps tiny, personalized pockets of possibility. They empower us to be spontaneous, productive, and connected – all at our fingertips. And as technology continues to develop, these apps will undoubtedly become even more ingrained in our daily lives.

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Different Types of Mobile Apps

There are a variety of applications that differ in their purpose and technology. A common question for every business remains: which specific type of app do they want? The answer lies in learning the fundamental categorizations of apps.

Mobile apps are classified by the technology they use, the category they belong to, and the audience they cater to. Let's explore each aspect and find the primary distinctions among various app types.

Types of Mobile Apps by Technology

If we classify mobile applications based on the technology used for their development, there are two main types, including Native and Cross-platform. 


Let’s understand the characteristics of each of these app types in detail: 

Native Apps

Platform-specific applications, also known as native apps, are developed in a programming language that is specific to a particular platform. For instance, Java or Kotlin is used for Android, while Objective-C or Swift is used for iOS.

These applications are tailored for a specific platform and can utilize all of the device's features – such as the camera, GPS sensor, accelerometer, compass, contact list, and more. They can recognize default gestures installed on the operating system or use new gestures unique to a specific app. Notably, many native apps can operate without an internet connection.

As native apps are optimized for a specific operating system, they integrate seamlessly into any smartphone, ensuring consistent speed and performance stability across devices.

Native apps can access the device's notification system and, depending on the app's purpose, can function entirely or partially without an internet connection.

Technologies Used: Native apps are developed using a range of programming languages. Some examples include Java, Kotlin, Python, Swift, Objective-C, C++, and React.

Pros of Native Apps

  • Quick performance due to platform-specific code.
  • Enhanced utilization of OS and device-specific features.
  • Engaging user interface/user experience.
  • Fewer compatibility issues and quicker configuration.

Cons of Native Apps

  • Developing platform-specific apps can be time-intensive.
  • Platform-specific programming languages like Swift and Java can be challenging to learn.
  • Longer release cycles are needed to ensure stability.
  • Adding new features requires a separate codebase.

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Cross-Platform Apps

Cross-platform app is a type of software that can work on various systems like iOS, Android, and Windows. These apps are made using one set of code, which can save both time and money during development. 

You can create these apps using technologies like HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and certain frameworks (like Ionic, React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, etc).

It can be tricky for some people to tell the difference between cross-platform and hybrid apps. Both types of apps have some things in common. For example, they can be used on more than one platform, they reuse code, they have native features, and they can be distributed through app stores. But there are also differences between them.

Cross-platform apps are developed using a single codebase, while hybrid apps use two sets of code, one for each platform. Also, cross-platform apps might not be able to use all the features of the platform, while hybrid apps usually can. 

Technologies Used: HTML/CSS, LavaScript, and frameworks (like Ionic, React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, and so on).

Pros of Cross-platform Apps

  • They're easy to create.
  • They're less expensive than native apps because they share code.
  • It's easy to add new features since they use a single codebase
  • They can work without an internet connection.
  • They can be released quicker, as the app can be made for multiple operating systems.

Cons of Cross-platform Apps

  • Complex functionalities may slow down the app.
  • They're more costly than web apps.
  • They're not as interactive as native apps.
  • The apps can't do tasks that are specific to the operating system.

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Types of Mobile Apps by Categories

Mobile applications are sorted into various categories by app stores, making it easier for users to find what they're looking for. Specific categories, such as social media and streaming apps, tend to outperform others in terms of user engagement and revenue. The rest typically cater to specific markets with a defined customer base.

Here's a list of app categories that have the highest usage among Android users, according to Statista:

  • Tools — 99.81%
  • Communication — 99.93%
  • Business Apps — 99.33%
  • Video Players & Editors — 96.63%
  • Travel & Local — 95.7%
  • Social Media Apps — 95.02%
  • Productivity — 91.67%
  • Music & Audio — 88.38%
  • Entertainment — 83.85%
  • News & Magazines — 81.11%
  • Photography — 75.77%
  • Books & Reference — 70.74%
  • Lifestyle — 65.67%
  • Personalization — 61.62%
  • Casual Games — 58.86%
  • Puzzle Games — 56.5%
  • Arcade Games — 55.08%
  • Shopping — 35.79%
  • Action Games — 34.19%
  • Weather — 32.46%

Types of Mobile Apps by Business Channel

The third category of mobile app types is based on business channels. These apps are purposely developed for businesses. Here’s an overview of these types of mobile apps:

Business-to-Business (B2B) Apps

These are applications designed by businesses for other businesses. Their purpose is to improve operations, boost productivity, simplify intricate business tasks, or cater to specific industry requirements.

Business-to-Customer (B2C) Apps

These are applications made for the ultimate users. The majority of the apps you see in app stores fall under this category. 

Core Functionalities of a Mobile App

When it comes to developing a mobile app that stands out, it's not just about the purpose it serves but also how it solves it. A user-friendly interface is key, making it easy for customers to do what they need to do, whether that's making a purchase, finding information, or contacting the company. 

The app should be easy to navigate so users don't get frustrated, and it should have features that ensure the security of users' personal information.

Here are 9 core features that make an app great and should be included in any mobile app you create:

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1. Engaging User Interface

Don't just opt for app development because it's the trend. Instead, focus on creating an app that addresses a real issue people face. Design the user interface in a way that makes it as effortless as possible for users to solve their problems. 

Prioritize easy-to-go user experience in your app to provide the consistency that mobile app users look for. Identify the purpose of your app, devise a detailed plan outlining your unique selling proposition and user interface, and then begin development. If you overlook this, you might end up with an app that doesn't add any value to its users.

2. Easy Navigation

The navigation of your app significantly affects its user-friendliness. Easy-to-use navigation lets users interact with your app smoothly and use it the way they want. On the other hand, a complicated navigation system can leave your users puzzled. 

So, think about which features of your app your users will use most and make those features easily accessible in the navigation. Also, consider the user's journey within your app when designing easy-to-use navigation. A well-designed app navigation interface will give the user the feeling that you are anticipating their needs.

3. Data Privacy and Security

While it might not directly influence your app's user-friendliness, providing robust privacy and security features can make users feel safer while using it. You could also integrate intelligent authentication systems for a smoother user experience.

4. Customization

Use demographic, contextual, and behavioral targeting to deliver more tailored content to your users. By providing personalized content, you're giving users exactly what they need when they need it. It's worth noting that 80% of consumers prefer personalized experiences.

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5. User-friendly Interface

An app should have a user interface that's easy to use and responsive. The app should be straightforward so that new users can easily get started. Avoid overloading the app with unnecessary features and concentrate on a core set of functionalities to maintain a simple interface.

6. Offline Access

Enabling your users to use your app offline ensures you maximize its usability. This is particularly crucial for apps designed to store or analyze information that a user might need at any moment. It also encourages your users to depend more on your app.

7. User Reviews, Feedback, and Support

Consider including a review feature that allows users to rate and post reviews. This provides feedback on what users like and dislike about your app, enabling you to make necessary updates. Even negative comments can be beneficial for future improvements.

8.  Push Notifications

Push notifications are a great way to keep your users engaged, even when their phones are locked. When you send push notifications, make sure they're simple and immediate. They should only inform users about new features, limited-time offers that encourage interaction, and other valuable information. 

But remember, having this direct communication channel requires you to be responsible. If your notifications become intrusive or too frequent, users might get irritated and remove your app. So, keep your notifications minimal and non-intrusive to maintain your user base.

9. Multi-device Synchronization

The ability to sync data across multiple devices is a crucial feature of any successful mobile app. Sometimes, users might find it more difficult to access a specific link on a mobile app than to a website. 

Your mobile app can gain momentum and become more scalable by offering multi-device synchronization. An exclusive feature of the mobile app could be real-time data synchronization across various devices. This allows users to access and continue working on a file, no matter where they are.

Why Does Your Business Need a Mobile App?

So, now that you understand the importance and reasons behind the growing trend for mobile apps, it's time for the most-awaited part of this guide: the Benefits of mobile apps for a business.

Here are the top reasons why your business needs a mobile app right away: 

1. Enhance Your Brand's Visibility

Developing a mobile application can help boost your business's brand. Through its design and effective communication strategy, an app acts like a constant brand representative. It offers the appropriate service to the customer when needed, aiding your company in consistently fulfilling its brand commitment. 

Not only does an app reinforce your brand from the customer's perspective, but it also provides valuable insights about your users. You can utilize the data gathered from the app to comprehend your target audience better and refine your brand accordingly.

2. Improve Customer Engagement

Mobile applications enable you to interact with customers even when they're on the go. You can send push alerts about deals, sales, and more to engage them. 

This strategy is one of the most effective ways to keep your business at the forefront of users' minds, even when they're not actively thinking about your brand. With features like geotargeting, you can even engage with customers when they're in close proximity to your physical store (if applicable).

3. Delivering Value to Customers

To remain competitive in the market, businesses must offer something special to their customers. One way to do this is by developing a mobile app that provides a unique shopping experience. 

For instance, you could create augmented reality (AR) filters that allow customers to virtually try on clothes from your line. Or, for B2B customers, you could make it simple to manage their SaaS subscriptions with just a few clicks. 

By making your products or services easier to access, you increase the chances of gaining customer loyalty.

4. Enhancing Customer Engagement

Statistics show that people spend seven times more time using mobile apps than browsing on mobile. This shows that mobile apps are inherently more engaging, helping businesses strengthen their relationships with customers. 

Moreover, if someone has downloaded your app, it's likely they're part of your target audience. This gives you more chances to interact with the right people at the right moment.

5. Extra Marketing Channel

A significant majority of customers, nearly two-thirds, anticipate that brands will cater to their needs, with over half expecting every offer to be tailored to them. Mobile apps can assist you in meeting these personalization expectations. Businesses can use mobile-friendly targeting tools to tailor marketing offers to each app user on a large scale.

Mobile apps offer interactive personalization features such as shopping history, tailored discounts, and more. Your app can also incorporate AR features like color changing or clothing mix-and-match, in addition to recommendation algorithms.

6. Enhancing Customer Interactions

Mobile ecommerce is projected to represent 43.4% of all ecommerce sales by the end of 2024. The widespread use of mobile apps has led to the majority of mobile ecommerce purchases being made by shoppers aged 18 to 34.


These consumers prefer to engage with brands through apps because they streamline the buying process, storing a shopper's preferred products and payment information to expedite the process.

7. Capitalize on a Specific Niche

No matter what your specialization is, you're vying for your customer's attention. A top-notch mobile app can help you gain a bigger slice of the market in your field. If you're looking for a way to stand out in a saturated market, incorporating advanced communication features like a chatbot in your app could provide the advantage you need. This is particularly relevant if you're in a sector where it's not typical for companies to develop their own apps.

Keep in mind that 85% of shoppers prefer to use an app rather than a browser. If you're in the ecommerce industry, developing an app could provide a significant uplift.

8. Integration of Social Media Channels

One of the major advantages of mobile apps is their ability to integrate with other online platforms, including social media. As most social media usage happens on mobile devices, customers can connect to an app more easily than your website. Many social networks offer businesses access to their APIs, enabling you to create a smooth and integrated social experience within your app.

9. Enhancing Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty can be significantly boosted through loyalty programs. It's been found that 84% of customers are more likely to come back that provides a loyalty program, and 49% admit to spending more due to such a program. 

This clearly indicates how businesses can increase their revenue. Many businesses have moved away from traditional punch cards and now use mobile apps to manage customer loyalty programs.

Your mobile app can serve multiple purposes, but incorporating a loyalty or rewards program can stimulate repeat purchases and foster customer loyalty. Give additional rewards, deals, or discounts when users promote your brand on social media. 

10. Boosting Sales Opportunities

Mobile apps benefit both businesses and consumers by enhancing the overall experience, often leading to increased profits. As mobile apps enhance the customer experience, your marketing budget is likely to yield better results. 

With engaging content, loyalty programs, and the perception of higher value, you're likely to see more conversions while spending less on paid advertisements.

Considering that every dollar spent on improving the user experience can yield up to 100% in return, investing in a mobile app can be a smart move for your business.

3 Real-World Examples of Successful Mobile Apps (Success Stories)

After reading all the benefits and potentials of mobile apps, you might have understood how important it is to have one for your business. But, if you’re still in doubt, read the success stories of these brands and understand how mobile apps helped them succeed in this competitive landscape. 


In 2013, Starbucks had already accumulated $621 million in assets through its forward-thinking mobile strategy. By 2014, the company earned $146 million, which was 8% of its total revenue. Today, Starbucks' revenue exceeds $34 billion, marking an 8.52% increase compared to the previous year. Plus, the company has significantly cut down on transaction costs as it no longer relies on third-party credit card companies.


Ikea's move to introduce its own app has bolstered its customer loyalty and simplified the decision-making and purchasing processes across various businesses for its customers. According to company reports, the app has been downloaded almost 8.5 million times.


The report indicates that Nike's mobile app revenue soared by 96% to $12.3 billion compared to the same quarter last year, which was affected by the lockdown. This is a 21% increase from the fourth quarter of 2019, indicating a significant growth beyond pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, Nike's strong performance in direct and digital sales boosted direct sales by 73% to $4.5 billion, making up a third of the total revenue.


Considering the current growth in the mobile app industry, the question has shifted from "Do my business need a mobile app?" to "How can I create the most effective mobile app for my business?" For this, we suggest seeking advice from a professional who can guide you in planning the best strategy for your business's mobile app development.

At Mtoag Technologies, our mobile app experts are ready to assist you with all your needs related to mobile app development, design, deployment, and migration to enhance your business's visibility.

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