Older Americans Gravitate to Mobile Device Use Over Desktops; App Market Remains Highly Concentrated

August 30, 2017

We’re spending half of our digital media time with smartphone applications, reveals comScore in its latest annual US Mobile App Report [download page]. Interestingly enough, though, the findings suggest that little has changed over the course of the past year.

Indeed, the 50% of digital time captured by smartphone apps this past June represents only an incremental change from 49% in June of last year. Desktops, meanwhile, are holding steady: this past June, they accounted for 34% share of digital media time, compared to 33% in the year-earlier period.

A comparison of the reports from this year and last shows that smartphone apps are gaining more influence with the youngest and oldest adults, but haven’t made the same gains with other groups.

Specifically, smartphone apps accounted for:

  • An impressive two-thirds (66%) of 18-24-year-olds’ digital media time this past June, up from 62% in the year-earlier period;
  • 54% of time for the 25-34 bracket, down from 57% last year;
  • 53% of time for the 35-44 bracket, relatively flat from 54% last year;
  • 48% of time for the 45-54 bracket, up from 45% last year;
  • 46% of time for the 55-64 bracket, up from 43% last year; and
  • 27% of time for the 65+ bracket, up from 20% last year;

Interestingly, enough, the decline in smartphone apps share for 25-34-year-olds appears to have come at the expense of desktops, of all devices! Desktops grew to account for 31% of 25-34-year-olds’ digital time this past June, up from 27% last year.

Its also worth noting the inroads that apps have made with older Americans:

  • Almost half of 55-64-year-olds’ digital media time is now spent with smartphone apps;
  • Close to two-thirds (66%) of that bracket’s digital media time is spent with mobile devices; and
  • Almost half (47%) of digital media time for adults ages 65 and older is spent with mobile devices (smartphone app + web; tablet app + web), up from 42% last year.

Not surprisingly, the 18-24 group spends the most time with mobile apps: mobile app users in this age group logged 3.2 hours per day with their apps during the month of June.

We recently reported that Millennials (18-34 in this case) as a whole spend more time accessing apps and the web on smartphones than they do watching traditional TV.

Mobile App Market Still Highly Concentrated

While the mobile app market offers many opportunities given its outsized influence in digital media consumption, breaking through is not easy.

Indeed, the mobile app market is more highly concentrated than both the mobile web and desktop web markets. Consider that:

  • 53% of mobile app time is spent with the top 10 apps, compared to 44% of mobile web time and 48% of desktop web time with the top 10 in those respective markets;
  • Smartphone users spend an incredible 49% of their app time with their single most used app, and two-thirds of their app time with their top-2 apps; and
  • Tablet users spend almost two-thirds (65%) of their app time with their single favorite app, and almost 90% of their time with their top 3 apps.

The full report is available for download here.


Explore More Articles.

Marketing Charts Logo

Stay on the cutting edge of marketing.

Sign up for our free newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This