App entrepreneurs and App founders are rarely short of ideas. However, a recurring problem with concepts that don’t take off is insufficient market research. Too many ideas fail to focus on markets and industries that are prime for disruption. All too often, prospective apps that are interesting and even somewhat novel can’t answer the fundamental question – “what problem is this solving?”
To test the validity of an app idea, app developers should look at a market and find its inefficiencies. Consumers may be happy with the service, but the prices are exorbitant. For example, take international phone calls. For years, people phoning abroad paid high rates per minute on mobile or landlines. Even money-saving measures like international phone cards weren’t cheap. Skype looked at this market and offered a free or affordable alternative that blew its competitors out of the market.
Following Skype’s market disruption, many similar services took advantage of always-on internet. Dozens of free messaging, phone and video call apps sprang up for local and international callers. Skype still has about 300 million monthly active users but Zoom, Facetime and others have started to eat into its market share in recent years. However, Skype is still an excellent example of industry disruption.
Here is a list of industries app entrepreneurs and founders could look at when planning their next market-disrupting app.
For years the financial services markets catered to a very specialised type of customer. But with Millenials making up 40% of the Australian workforce, financial services have been forced to cater to this market or become obsolete. Neobanks like UpBank, Xinja Bank and Volt Bank have all responded to the market. They promise secure and straightforward banking that can be done from a mobile app.
In the retail investing sector, apps like Raiz and FirstStep are targeted at non-investment savvy Millennials making early forays into the market. Robinhood, is a comission-free share trading app that is still not available in Australia. But, its global popularity underlines that this is a market that is open for disruption.
Healthcare is one of the most expensive and inefficient global industries. Going private or public have their pros and cons. Digital technology stands a real chance of changing the healthcare industry irrevocably. Online conferencing could save on patient lines and appointments at urgent care centres. A whole host of apps like HotDoc could change the way we make appointments with local clinics. Additionally, consumers are embracing apps like the healthdirect app to check on symptoms and other health-related inquiries.
Another area being explored by apps is the rise in wearable monitoring devices that can help people with diabetes, heart problems and other illnesses.
Clothing and Fashion
Shopping online for clothes has become a huge growth industry over the past decade. The high street has been disrupted by apps and websites that offer price savings and a greater range of stock, delivered to your door. However, if you ask online retailers, they’ll tell you returns is one of their biggest costs.
Solutions to this problem might take the form of Augmented or Virtual Reality. Apps to scan the consumer’s proportions and show how a particular item of clothing would look and fit them. Reducing returns means less hassle and more sales, which is win-win for customers and consumers.
Whether it’s for health care, driving a car or buying a home, at some stage everyone needs insurance. The problem? It’s so expensive. Millennials could become a key demographic in a major shift in how insurance policies are designed and sold. As they become home and business owners in more significant numbers the industry will need to adapt.
AI and machine learning models are becoming a lot more accessible to app founders at every level. This presents an excellent opportunity for new app startups to experiment with AI-powered predictive risk analysis. A breakthrough in this area could result in far cheaper insurance policies. Make it simple and accessible too and this kind of service could be very popular.
Lawyers and legal advice are prohibitively expensive. However, very frequently, they deal with very straightforward issues. There is a reason the legal professional regularly features on the list of industries most vulnerable to automation. Much of the casework is about research and precedent. This can be done by a well-designed piece of software.
Legal advice apps like Go To Court (which is powered by online legal professionals) are already proving that Australians don’t need to walk into an office and hire a lawyer at $200 an hour. There is an excellent opportunity for the right mind to use enhanced chatbots with neural language capabilities to provide sound legal advice online. Some AI-lawyers already exist, with one company Aliria already providing tax law information for Australian lawyers. New niches can be carved out to provide legal advice at a fraction of current costs.
Home removal services in Australia are a $2 billion industry that employs over 20,000 people in around 15,000 companies. Companies like Kent Relocation Services, Sirva and Grace Worldwide are some of the most prominent players in the local market. But, most of these companies struggle with brand awareness and loyalty.
Some of these issues stem from prices that often seem arbitrary to the consumer. There is room for a company to enter this market with a more standardised and transparent offering. Currently, the industry is regulated by the independent body Australian Furniture Removers Association (AFRA). They only accredit companies with specific equipment and staff training. However, by using reviews or a bidding system, the right app entrepreneur could turn this industry upside down.
As more Millennials become homeowners, they will fill their houses with items from their favourite online stores. Online furniture retailers like Ikea and Temple and Webster will always have a place. However, long-lasting, quality commodity goods like Koala mattresses are increasing their market share year on year. Indeed, Koala mattresses accounted for 12% of the market in 2020.
This direct-to-consumer model that offers high-quality goods at competitive prices can be used across various home furnishings. The lesson is that Millennials are prepared to pay for quality if it also comes with certainty and convenience. This means there’s a gap in the market for goods with extended warranties as Millenials make up a larger market share of Australian home buyers.
In short, there are many industries just waiting for app entrepreneurs and app founders to disrupt. Whether its through pricing, quality or technology, finding inofficiencies and pain points is key. The list above are just a few industries waiting to be disrupted but there are likely many , many more.
About the Author
Joseph Russell is an award-winning app designer, app strategist and founder of DreamWalk. Over his 11 year career, Joseph has helped hundreds of businesses and startup founders plan, design, develop and launch successful apps.
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