Adult iPhone and Android owners in the US used an average of 26.8 applications per month during Q4 2013, says Nielsen in releasing new new data on app usage. That figure is flat from a year earlier, when they used an average of 26.5, and up only slightly from two years earlier, when they used an average of about 23. What did change over those two years is the amount of time spent in those applications, which grew by 65% from 18.3 hours per person in Q4 2011 to 30.25 hours in Q4 2013.
With that type of growth, it’s not hard to see why mobile apps now capture a majority of digital time spent in the US.
Predictably, younger mobile users spend more time in apps than their older counterparts, although the differences are not too drastic. At slightly more than 37 hours per month, 18-24-year-old smartphone owners are the heaviest app users, but they’re not far ahead of the 25-34 and 35-44 brackets, who spent roughly 34-35 hours per month in apps. There’s a steeper decline among older age groups, although 45-54-year-olds spent more than 25 hours per month in apps in Q4 and the 55+ group spent more than 21 hours on average.
The younger brackets (18-44) used about 28-29 apps per month, compared to 26 for 45-54-year-olds and 22 for smartphone owners aged 55 and older.
As for the top application categories by time spent, Nielsen indicates that the search, portals and social category captured the most time on average (10:56 per person), although time spent with entertainment apps was close behind (10:34 per person) and rising fast, up 71% year-over-year.
For its part, Flurry notes that games occupy the single largest share of time spent with applications on iOS and Android connected devices (tablets included), although Facebook’s app by itself accounts for 17% of total time spent online with those devices.