Smartphone App Users Spend Half of Their Total App Time With Their Favorite One

September 24, 2015

comScore-Mobile-App-Usage-Concentration-Sept2015Exactly half of all time spent on smartphone applications occurs on an adult’s single most-used app, says comScore in a new report [download page] that contains a host of intriguing data points about mobile app reach and engagement. The study shows that app time is even more concentrated on tablets: fully 87% of tablet app time is spent with users’ top 3 apps.

This demonstrates that app discovery isn’t the only challenge faced by marketers…

As is well known by now, time spent with mobile apps is growing quickly, up 90% between June 2013 and June 2015. As previously noted, this growth isn’t coming at the expense of web access, as mobile browser use is up 53% over the same timeframe, and desktop use is up 16%.

Still, smartphone (65%) and tablet (12%) apps have combined to contribute almost 80% of the growth in total digital time spent over that 2-year period.

Moreover, mobile apps’ rapid growth relative to the mobile and desktop web means that apps are eating up a greater share of digital media time. The numbers concerning smartphone apps alone are impressive:

  • 82% of all mobile app time;
  • 71% of all mobile media time; and
  • 44% of all digital media time.

(Note that these figures are derived from an analysis of June 2015 data.)

Overall, mobile apps now represent 54% share of digital media time, and mobile devices comprise 62% of all digital media consumption.

Not surprisingly, youth are the heaviest users of smartphone apps. The average smartphone app visitor aged 18-24 spent 90.6 hours with these apps during the month of June, more than double the time spent by smartphone app visitors aged 55 and older.

Tablet apps show a different skew, however. While 18-24-year-old users are again the most engaged, those aged 25-34 are the least engaged, with time spent gradually increasing with age outside of that youngest demographic.

“A Mile Wide And An Inch Deep”

The statistics surrounding mobile app engagement are indeed impressive, but when it comes to audiences, the mobile web is the clear winner. In comparing the top 1000 mobile web properties and the top 1000 mobile apps, comScore came to two interesting conclusions:

  • The top mobile web properties have average audiences more than 2.5 times the size of the top apps (8.9 and 3.3 million monthly unique visitors, respectively); and
  • The top mobile web properties’ audiences are growing twice as fast as those of the top mobile apps (42% and 21%, respectively).

Indeed, there were 433 mobile web properties with at least 5 million unique monthly visitors in June, compared to 123 mobile apps with that reach.

But, comScore notes, “mobile web audiences tend to be a mile wide and an inch deep.” Why? As top mobile web properties’ audiences have increased, the average engagement they are seeing is declining. Add it up and the top 1000 app averages 201.8 monthly minutes per visitor, versus just 10.9 minutes on average for a top 1000 mobile web property.

To come full circle, that top app that occupies half of smartphone app users’ time? It’s quite likely to be Facebook. In fact, in June, Facebook was the top-ranked smartphone app by time spent for almost half – 48% – of its adult audience. Drawing that out a little further, it was in the top 3 apps by engagement for 79% of its user base.

And as for Millennials (18-34)? Facebook still dominates their attention, too. According to comScore, 18-34-year-olds spent 25.7 hours in June with Facebook, versus 7 hours for Instagram, 5.9 hours for Snapchat, 5.7 hours for Tumblr, and 3.5 hours for Twitter. In sum, Facebook occupied 21.2% share of total mobile app time spent by Millennials…

About the Data: The data was derived from a variety of comScore platforms and analytics. All figures pertain to US adults (18+).

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