Mobile phone trends that are shaping 2020

The rapid growth of mobile technology has been one of the most notable features of the first 20 years of this century, and the pace of change shows no sign of slowing as we enter the 2020s.

Mobile phone usage in Nigeria has developed remarkably and according to some forecasts, the nation will be one of the top seven countries driving mobile uptake and spread over the next five years, with as many as 28 million new mobile subscribers coming online by 2025.

As the mobile sector in Nigeria continues to grow, it will therefore be increasingly important for customers, businesses, marketers and administrators to stay up to date with the technological trends that are shaping and driving this vital sector.

Location-finding technology

It is not a secret that your mobile devices can often track where you are, but an increasing trend is for mobile apps to do the same. Every time you download a new app, it will ask for your permission to use your location. This is obviously required in the case of apps that rely on location to operate, such as map applications and services like Uber.

But one trend that has been marked in 2020 is apps that don’t appear to have any need to know where you are, asking for your location. Why do they do this? Quite simply, they share this information with third parties, for use in marketing campaigns. For example, if businesses know where you are, they can send you an advert, such as the latest deal at a nearby shop or details of a special in a local restaurant, based on your current location. You may find this irritating or incredibly useful, and it is a trend that we can expect to continue throughout 2020 and beyond.

 Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) differs from virtual reality (VR) in that it doesn’t create a whole new reality, it simply adds to your existing reality, usually in the form of visual aids. There are numerous examples of this, including the phenomenal success of the game Pokémon Go and the widespread development of face filters on apps such as Snapchat, a trend that Instagram has also taken up.

It seems that AR is phenomenally popular in a number of sectors. For instance, the casino sector has shown plenty of interest in AR and VR technology, which has huge potential in terms of generating real-world or augmented casinos, enabling customers to enjoy an improved casino experience. The possibilities of AR are huge and we are likely to see more brands employ it to drive engagement and customer interaction.

Mobile payments

Improved mobile security and the convenience that comes with mobile payments have made an increasing number of mobile device payment options available to Nigerians. These days, many Nigerians are comfortable with making transactions online, whether that is buying their latest gadgets or paying for a service.

The success of global payment pioneers such as PayPal and Venmo has inspired new generations of mobile payment providers, with Nigerians able to use a variety of options including Remita, Paystack, Rave, VoguePay and eTranzact. There are even online payment methods specifically targeted for gamblers who like to place bets or play slots online such as Skrill and Neteller. With the rise in the use of smartphone and contactless banking technology due to COVID-19, this is one mobile trend that is sure to continue in 2020.


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a big shift among Nigerian consumers making transactions online or through contactless payments. While this is an interesting development, it raises the risk of increasing levels of online fraud.

One potential solution is the increasing uptake of biometric technology used in mobile phones. Biometrics includes developments such as fingerprint recognition, signature recognition and voice and facial recognition, which, combined with the global increase in the use of contactless card payments, could help to make financial transactions safer.

Wearable technology

Nigerians are catching on to the global trend for wearable technology. Back in 2015, around 50 million units of wearable technology were sold, but it has been estimated that this figure could rise to 1.1 billion by 2022. Wearable technology includes such gadgets as smartwatches, glasses, fitness bracelets and healthcare monitors, and one vital component of these devices’ appeal is their ability to pair up with mobile devices.

A good example is the Fitbit app. This can track your activity, as well as monitoring important health signs such as your heart rate, and by syncing this technology to your mobile, you can increase the power of the technology and add a social element, comparing your results with your friends.

The mobile phone has risen from a novelty to become an essential tool of life in the 21st century, and as Nigeria continues to develop its technical infrastructure, we can all look forward to benefiting from the improvements and changes delivered by this rapidly changing technology.


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