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No Thanks, Mobile Browsers—There's an App for That

Mobile apps grab over half of time spent with digital

Springtime brings about warmer weather in the northern hemisphere, but mobile apps were what was really hot in the US last season, according to May 2014 research by comScore Media Metrix Multi-Platform. As mobile as a portion of digital media time hit 60%, smartphone and tablet apps showed even more impressive growth over the prior month, rising to 51% of time spent with digital.

In Q4 2013, Nielsen found that US adult Android and iPhone users were spending 65% more time with mobile apps than they had just two years ago: 30 hours, 15 minutes in Q4 2013, vs. 18 hours, 18 minutes in Q4 2011. However, the average number of apps owners used had barely risen over the past two years, from 23.2 in Q4 2011 to 26.8 in Q4 2013, indicating that users were spending more time with the apps they had, as opposed to downloading new ones.

According to April 2014 data from comScore Mobile Metrix, easy access and mobile optimization were the top reasons smartphone apps had grabbed the majority of time spent with leading US digital media properties. However, not all properties were mobile app-majority, and for some, browsers actually claimed an overwhelming chunk of time. Wikimedia Foundation sites and Glam Media were examples of this, with 88% and 84%, respectively, of time spent with these properties done on a browser. But with the exception of Gannett sites, CBS Interactive and AOL, smartphone apps grabbed the majority for all other properties studied.

Whether consumers access properties via mobile app or web, one thing’s for sure: As mobile continues to grab share of digital time, users are going to expect a mobile-friendly experience on at least one of these.

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