The year 2020, with COVID-19 as the main variable, brought us many unexpected workflow turbulence along with remarkable changes in the global SaaS market.
Events expected to play out over the next several years have been compressed into a short few months. The SaaS industry boomed and continues its rapid growth. Till the year 2023, the global SaaS market is forecast to be worth $60.36 billion.
Some great SaaS design trends have been kicked into overdrive, as well as some business trends. Let me touch on a few of these.
Increased demand for collaboration software
The pandemic forced people from all over the world to adapt to remote work on the fly. Popular SaaS collaboration and workspace management tools became the fastest-growing apps.
According to Okta’s Business at Work report, Miro, a digital whiteboard for team collaboration, experienced 301% growth. Slack has shown 190% of growth. Zoom grew over 45% between March and October 2020.
At the same time, sudden traffic spikes have pushed these applications to their limits, exposed some of their facilities and security weaknesses.
Security issues became one of the main concerns for Zoom in 2020. A series of vulnerabilities, including Zoombombing, a vulnerability that led to cameras hijacking, and routing calls through China, resulted in huge credibility losses.
Just basic training needed over setting up meeting passwords
In the year 2020, Slack was forced to rapidly scale its infrastructure instead of building new features. The app experienced multiple performance issues — potentially causing trouble for the many companies that rely on the workplace to keep remote teams running.
Time for slacking on the job
While pioneering or remote collaboration tools were working hard to plug the gaps, new tools emerged to overtake the leadership. And they got their niche — remote work is not going anywhere even in the post-pandemic era.
More than 80% of company leaders surveyed by Gartner said their organizations plan to maintain remote work at least part of the time upon reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also Read: Marketing Trends for 2021
Vertical SaaS on rising
In its early days, the SaaS market produced many horizontal solutions that covered numerous industries — take at least the communication apps we’ve mentioned above. Slack or Zoom is equally useful for people in content marketing, or legal, or design.
Notion is the perfect example of a horizontal tool, with all its benefits and costs. It’s an all-in-one workspace, probably the most customizable one the world has ever seen. For its universality Notion pays by an overwhelmingly steep learning curve and a ton of voodoo magic needed to make this app work for your specific case.
In the past few years, a lot of different, industry-specific tools have emerged. They are also known as vertical SaaS. They offer features tailored to the needs of a narrow audience so that users can get started with minimal customization.
Take content marketing. Any content team can manage its documents, channels, and processes in Notion.
But why do you spend your time on this, if there’s GatherContent, a tool created specifically for content teams? GatherContent is full of little but extremely useful features for content management that Notion will never have — just because it’s such a generic app.
How GatherContent helps content teams
Creating tools that serve the needs of a single industry is a good way to find your niche in a flooded SaaS market.
On one hand, focusing on a small group of niche audiences means a more difficult customer acquisition. But at the same time — higher chances of lead conversion, since the solution is tightly tailored to their needs.
Also, vertical companies enjoy a lower customer acquisition cost and limited marketing spend.
Low-code and no-code SaaS tools
Every line you read, every screen you swipe, it’s all driven by code. Yet coding software from scratch is hard and available to only a small group of highly professional developers.
But the idea of creating new life-changing products without a single line of code doesn’t sound so crazy anymore. SaaS services like Webflow and Bubble made a space that only those well-skilled in coding could navigate open to everyone.
The no-code idea has already struck a responsive chord
No-code movement is still in its infancy — the apps for visual software creation are not providing the same level of flexibility as good old coding.
But there’s a big, big future in that. Already, such services save lots of development time, simplify prototyping, and lower production costs.
AI and personalization
Artificial intelligence is getting integrated into software of all types, including some that you might not expect.
In the B2C space, Spotify and Netflix started using machine learning a long while ago to personalize their recommendations of music and movies.
Today people are buried under tons of content, and there’s no sign the flow of the new content is going to run dry anytime soon.
So when we receive relevant recommendations on what to consume next, we accept them gladly.
Those recommendations are based on our previous choices. If everything works well, those algorithms help to discover some new content that you would have never found themselves.
B2B companies that don’t sell online also got interested in personalization to recommend relevant “next best content” able to sustain prospects’ interest on a page pushing them towards a sale.
However, over-personalization can leave your customers with a bit of creepy feeling that you’re always been watching them.
They are watching you
Wrapping up the leading SaaS trends to watch in 2021
The COVID crisis has boosted much pressure for digitalization, which is more than just a favorable environment for SaaS startups.
Thanks to its accessibility, functionality, and versatility, software-as-a-service is now a super-viable choice for businesses that turned to remote work.
SaaS startups are seemingly grabbing the moment — trends we’re observing now all intended to make business software even more convenient, leaving on-premise software far behind.