Rising time spent with mobile applications over the past year means that Americans now spend more time on a monthly basis with apps than they do accessing the internet from desktops, says comScore in new data. That threshold was passed for the first time in January, per the data, when Americans spent 46.6% of their total internet time with mobile apps, compared to roughly 45.1% spent accessing the internet from a desktop and the remaining 8.3% using mobile browsers.
Mobile apps surpassed desktop in January on the back of a 9.3% month-over-month increase in total minutes spent. Desktop web access declined by 1.7% during that span, while total time spent accessing the web via mobile browsers slipped by 3.1%.
It’s possible that the data for February would show mobile app use slipping behind desktop use again – after all, it took a large month-over-month increase for app consumption to move ahead of desktops, and the numbers appear to fluctuate from one month to the next. But even if the results reverse over a month or two, the longer-term trends favor app use eventually exceeding desktop web consumption for good.
That’s because over the trailing 12 months, total minutes spent accessing the internet from desktops declined by roughly 3.5% (not a precipitous decline, to be sure), while time spent with mobile apps surged by 43.7%. Total minutes spent accessing the internet via mobile browsers, while small in comparison, also picked up steam, increasing by 41.4% between February 2013 and January 2014.
Both mobile app and mobile web consumption should be expected to continue to increase, given the trajectory of smartphone penetration in the US. Meanwhile, various research outlets are reporting that tablet ownership now exceeds 40% of American adults.
In other recent news from comScore, travel site categories accounted for 6 of the 10 fastest-rising categories in January, measured by month-over-month percentage change in unique visitors from desktops. Yahoo maintained its position as the top web property, with 192.1 million unique desktop visitors, continuing to edge Google (189.2 million). AddThis was the top syndicated ad focus entity with 97.2% reach among online Americans, while Google Ad Network was the top ad/buy-side network (94.5% reach) and Rubicon Project retained the lead among DSP/SSP/Ad Exchange entities with 96% reach.