In many American cities, “local” has become a trendy buzzword espoused by small businesses to encourage economic and environmental sustainability. There are many advantages to going local, but perhaps the most important reason to develop locally viable businesses is that they retain local character, an attractive trait in an increasingly globalized and corporate world. The local movement is not often associated with mobile app development, but there are many advantages to developing mobile apps with a local focus.
First, let’s step back and look at the world of mobile apps. According to a study by comScore, the number of global users accessing the internet through mobile devices eclipsed the number of fixed (desktop) internet users for the first time in 2014. Furthermore, this digital media consumption is dominated by mobile app usage, which accounts for 52% of the time we spend on digital media. Unsurprisingly, this trend coincides with robust growth in mobile ad spending, estimated at $28.7 billion in 2015, a 50% increase over 2014 numbers. Research by eMarketer predicts that more than 72% of digital advertising will be on mobile devices by the year 2019. Clearly, mobile app development isn’t going away anytime soon and it represents a major opportunity to generate income through digital media.
Many local businesses around the U.S. are already beginning to develop mobile apps. Mobile apps allow businesses to increase customer engagement, increase visibility, improve value to customers through loyalty programs, and increase sales. Additionally, local apps help small businesses tap into a lucrative and growing global economy.
There are numerous advantages to cultivating local iOS and Android app development. Local developers are more attuned to the styles and trends of their environment. By utilizing this expertise these developers can help businesses develop apps that capitalize on the uniqueness of their locality. For example, in Colorado, two things dominate local culture through the autumn and winter: the Denver Broncos and skiing. Many businesses in the state are connected to these Colorado staples, so it behooves these businesses to cater to savvy consumers that crave originality.
Travel apps like AirBNB have made travel more enjoyable for travelers seeking a local connection with their vacation destination. Apps that can further connect the community have significant earning potential. These types of apps can also help foster community and strengthen local ties.
In many developing regions mobile internet access is predicted to increase nearly 20-fold in the next five years. Mobile banking and internet access have already had tremendous impacts in many African countries, and in some ways this pattern of use can predict future use the U.S. Local iOS app developers and Android app developers have an opportunity to take the local movement to the next level, and cities/states should make efforts to cultivate local tech development.