The time U.S. users are spending in mobile apps is continuing to grow; according to new data released this week by analytics firm Flurry, we’re up to 5 hours per day on our mobile devices. This follows on news from January that said the time spent in mobile apps had increased 69 percent year-over-year.
Five hours per day is a 20 percent increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2015, and seems to come at the expense of mobile browser usage, which has dropped significantly over the years.
Browser share on mobile is now at 8 percent, down from 9 percent in Q4 2015, 14 percent in Q1 2014 and 20 percent back in Q1 2013.
The shift into apps can be attributed to many other factors, as well — increased selection in the app stores, better and more available Wi-Fi and mobile broadband and the rise in messaging apps, which sees apps taking over typical phone functions like texting and phone calls, among several other factors.
But as Flurry has noted in the past, apps have grown more popular than watching TV — something that speaks to users’ interest in apps for more than just utility.
In fall 2015, the firm found that U.S. users were spending more time using apps than watching our big TV screens in the living room. The indication here is that apps are sucking up more of our “downtime” where we would have otherwise been passively engaged with television programming. Plus, we’re turning to apps to serve as our means of “watching TV” in many cases, thanks to the availability of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu and others.
In fact, media and entertainment apps today account for 15 percent of the time we’re spending in apps these days.
Flurry also says that U.S. users are spending more than half their time (51 percent) in social media, messaging and media and entertainment applications — including those like Snapchat, which now accounts for 2 percent of users’ daily time spent in apps.
Snapchat still has a way to go to challenge social networking behemoth Facebook, however, which commands a 19 percent share thanks to its related properties, WhatsApp and Instagram. However, Snapchat is closing in on YouTube, which has a 3 percent share, Flurry found.
Meanwhile, the remaining “Messaging/Social” category accounts for 12 percent of time spent in apps, the report says.
All this engagement is coming at the expense of another popular app category, as well: games.
Games are still the money-maker for developers and the app platforms, even though their use is dropping. For example, Apple said that New Year’s Day 2017 was the biggest App Store day ever, with $240 million in purchases.
But the category has seen a decline for the second year in a row, and now accounts for 11 percent of time spent in apps, noted Flurry.
With the increased time users spend in apps, the advertising landscape is being affected, too. Apps can now attract TV ad dollars — and they’re even going after TV subscribers thanks to new services like DirecTV Now, Sling TV, YouTube TV and others. Flurry says it believes these entries will have an impact on time spent in the days ahead, and will “siphon even more minutes from TV.”
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