Mobile apps dominate the mobile Web in time spent

Time spent on native apps jumps to 86% while time on mobile Web drops to 14%

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 1, 2014
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Game, set, and match.

The battle between apps and the mobile Web is over. Not that there's really been an even match up for a while now. But it's reached a point where it's become a massacre. If this were a real life fight, the ref would have called it by now to make sure nobody got killed.

The percentage of time spent on the mobile Web dropped to 14% in the first three months of this year, from 20% in the same period a year ago, a new report out from analytics provider Flurry on Tuesday showed. Meanwhile, the time spent on native apps rose to 86% from 80%.

The total amount of time we're spending on our devices per day increased by four minutes to two hours and 42 minutes. To put the gap between apps and the mobile Web in the starkest way possible: we spend two hours and 19 minutes every day on apps.

How much time was spent on the mobile Web? Just 22 minutes. Ouch!

"The data tells a clear story that apps, which were considered a mere fad a few years ago, are completely dominating mobile, and the browser has become a single application swimming in a sea of apps," said Flurry.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of time spent on the mobile Web is on either the Google or Safari browser. The Safari browser is the pre-loaded browser on iOS, and I would guess that Android does the same with Google. Safari saw a big drop, though, going from 12% to 5% of all time spent on mobile devices.

As for apps, games continued to dominate with 32% of all time spent, the same amount spent in 2013.

The second biggest category, by far, was social media, which got a big bump year-to-year. Social and messaging applications, including Facebook, increased share from 24% to 28%. What's most interesting about those numbers, though, is that Facebook lost a little bit of its edge, dropping from 18% to 17%, while Twitter has been broken out for first time, with 1.5% of all time spent on apps. 

Does this show a future where Twitter will begin to carve out a bigger piece of the pie at the expense of Facebook? It doesn't seem that way, at least not yet. In the fourth quarter of last year, Facebook saw its mobile monthly active users (MAUs) increase by 39% year to year to 945 million. In the same quarter, Twitter's mobile MAUs increase only 37% to 184 million.

Obviously Twitter has a lot of ground to cover, and it is definitely going to have to pick up the pace if it is ever going to catch up to Facebook's mobile numbers.

The other big app categories include Entertainment app, of which YouTube accounts for 50% of all time spent, and Utility apps, both with 8%.

Productivity apps saw their share double, going from 2% to 4% of the overall time spent. 

Finally, Flurry compared time spent on devices with ad revenue, finding that Facebook's 17% of time spent was in-line with the 18% of ad dollars spent on it.

Google, meanwhile, gets a disproportionate amount of dollars: nearly 50% of all the money for only 18% of the time. While other apps get 65% of the time but only 33% of the money.

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