Recently, comScore made headlines with data indicating that time spent with mobile applications exceeded time spent accessing the internet from desktops in January, a remarkable finding. The figures showed that during that month, some 84% of time spent accessing the internet from a mobile device was with apps rather than the mobile web. New data from Flurry comes to a strikingly similar conclusion: using data collected during the first quarter of this year, Flurry says that apps captured 86% of consumers’ average daily internet time spent with smartphones and tablets. That’s up from 80% share in a similar study last year.
What’s interesting to note is that overall time spent accessing the internet via mobile didn’t increase by a significant amount, despite continuing reports of Americans’ addiction to their devices. Flurry finds that the average time spent grew by just 4 minutes per day from last year’s report, to an average of 2 hours and 42 minutes, a small 2.5% increase. That growth was entirely for app consumption, which was up by 12 minutes (9.5%), to 2 hours and 19 minutes per day. (Time spent with the mobile web actually decreased, from 31 minutes to 22 minutes per day.)
The Flurry data measures average time spent by mobile consumers, so the fact that average mobile consumer’s daily time with the mobile web declined does not mean that overall time spent accessing the mobile web hasn’t increased. As the below chart from comScore demonstrates, both mobile app and mobile web consumption are growing, both likely spurred by the increase in smartphone penetration over the past year.
Examining the breakdown of time spent with mobile apps and the web, Flurry reveals that gaming apps capture the single largest share of time spent (on iOS and Android connected devices), at 32%. While games are the clear category leader, Facebook stands out, with its application alone capturing 17% of total daily internet time spent with smartphones and tablets. That rivals the 20% share held by the mobile web overall.
Beyond games and Facebook, social messaging apps picks up close to 10% of daily time, although Twitter’s app isn’t much of a time hog.
There’s one important note: while apps are dominant in terms of overall consumption, there’s reason to believe that individual properties have greater reach among mobile owners through their mobile websites than via their apps.
The top 10 smartphone applications by reach, according to recent Nielsen figures, are illustrated below.
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