Games (49%) and social networking (30%) capture the largest proportion of consumer’s time spent with mobile applications, according to January 2012 analysis from Flurry, which notes that it does not track Facebook usage, such that the social networking category is actually larger than represented. Entertainment (7%) and news (6%) are the other major categories by consumption, though both trail the frontrunners by a large margin.
Apps Increase Lead Over Mobile Web
Flurry’s analysis shows a significant shift in daily interactive consumption over the last 18 months between the web (both desktop and mobile) and mobile native apps. Using Flurry Analytics data for mobile consumption, and comparing it to publicly available data from comScore and Alexa for web consumption, the analysis finds that smartphone and tablet users spent 94 minutes per day using applications in December 2011, compared to 81 minutes in June 2011. By contrast, during that time period, the average time spent on the web shrunk, from 74 minutes to 72 minutes.
According to December 2011 figures from comScore, during the three-month average ending November 2011, downloading of applications (44.9%) overtook browser use (44.4%) in popularity among US mobile subscribers.
In-App Revenues to Increase
With consumers increasingly turning to mobile apps, January 2012 data from Juniper Research [download page] indicates that global revenues from in-app purchases could reach $4.8 billion by 2016, representing a 129% jump from the $2.1 billion total in 2011. The firm also forecasts total end-user gaming revenue to hit $18.3 billion in 2016, driven by downloads to smartphones, with in-game app purchases and downloads to tablets representing a similar share of that revenue.
Ad-Supported Content Revenues Also to Rise
Meanwhile, according to eMarketer, mobile advertising dollars are growing along with an expanded audience and range of activities. According to its January 2012 estimate, revenues from the ad-supported component of mobile music, games, and videos alone will grow 52.7% this year in the US to $433.8 million, after jumping 81.9% in 2011. All told, the company estimates revenues to surpass $1 billion in 2015, with growth rates slowing down, but still remaining over 30%.
Of these revenues, eMarketer estimates that nearly 30% will come from ads by 2015, up from 19.7% in 2011. Currently, mobile music has the greatest share of dollars coming from ads, and it will hold that position, with ad dollars making up 73.9% of the total in 2011 and 79.3% by 2015. But the fast growth of mobile video ad revenues will mean much more substantial changes in revenue composition. While ad dollars made up just 5.4% of mobile video revenues in 2011, by 2015 that figure will more than triple, to 16.5%. Mobile gaming ad revenues will also rise as a proportion of the total, albeit more slowly, from 13.8% in 2011 to 17.4% by 2015.