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Flurry: Mobile app use overtakes web browsing in US

June 21st, 2011Posted by in Mobile

People in the US are spending more time using apps on smartphones than browsing the internet on a desktop computer or mobile, with the average user spending 81 minutes per day using apps compared with 74 minutes per day web browsing, a new study has found.

Out of the average one hour and 21 minutes per day consumers are spending using mobile apps this month, 47 per cent of time is spent on games apps, 32 per cent using social media apps, and 9 per cent using news apps, which comes in ahead of the use of entertainment apps standing at 7 per cent.

Flurry, an analytics firm which carried out the study, said this is the first time native mobile apps have taken more consumer time than web browsing:

This stat is even more remarkable if you consider that it took less than three years for native mobile apps to achieve this level of usage, driven primarily by the popularity of iOS and Android platforms.

Although these figures are based on app use and browsing in the US, it is worth bearing in mind recent stats on the increasing importance of mobile in the UK and the fact mobile browsing in the UK will overtake desktop browsing by 2013. It is particularly relevant to news sites deciding whether to opt for mobile sites or apps.

The article on Flurry’s blog goes on to say:

This growth [in the use of native mobile apps] has come primarily from more sessions per user, per day rather than a large growth in average session lengths. Time spent on the Internet has grown at a much slower rate.

As a note of interest, Facebook has increasingly taken its share of time spent on the internet, now making up 14 of the 74 minutes spent per day by consumers, or about one sixth of all internet minutes. Considering Facebook’s recent leak regarding Project Spartan, an effort to run apps within its service on top of the mobile Safari browser, thus disintermediating Apple, it appears Facebook seeks to counter both Apple and Google’s increasing control over consumers as mobile app usage proliferates.

With a better understanding of how consumers spend their time across app categories, Facebook’s Project Spartan makes even more sense. As a category, social networking – which is Facebook’s core competency – commands the second largest allocation of consumers’ time. Games, which typify the most popular kind of app played on the Facebook platform itself, are also the top categories on both Android and iOS platforms. As interactive media usage continues to shift from the web to mobile apps, one thing is certain: Facebook, Apple and Google will all expend significant resources to ensure that no one company dominates owning the direct relationship with the consumer.

Flurry’s full blog post is at this link and ReadWriteWeb’s article on the study is at this link.

Related content:

Web apps v native apps v mobile sites: a guide

comScore: Social media accounts for one out of every six minutes spent online in US

Economist reveals download numbers for iPhone and iPad apps

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  • http://www.cathybrooks.com Cathy Brooks

    This is, indeed, an important issue to discuss and good that this “study” brings it to light, but I find the report’s findings somewhat questionable. For starters, they are comparing apples to oranges. They’re taking data sets from utterly different research – all gathered with different methodologies – and then combining them to provide a result that, oh surprise, speaks to their business. Hmmmm…

    Also very important to note that this is comparing browsing on the PC to native apps on the mobile and does not take into account the critical factor of mobile web/web app growth … A post on this very site that talks about mobile web versus native apps is what pointed me to this post …

    We’re moving into a world with an increasing need to consider NOT an either/or but AND …

    IMO at least :)

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