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How Users in the UK Engage with Mobile Apps

UK consumers spend a lot of time consuming mobile media, especially apps

January 26, 2016 | Mobile

When online, mobile internet users in the UK are highly likely to be in an app environment. Even when they’re not online, apps account for a huge proportion of time spent with mobile media. As smartphone and tablet use becomes increasingly prevalent, app usage is seeing a massive jump, too.

Mobile’s influence in UK consumers’ media day is more pronounced than ever, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “UK Mobile App Market: Apps Dominate Mobile Usage, but Attention and Retention Aren't Givens.” eMarketer estimates that UK adults spent an average of 2 hours 24 minutes per day with nonvoice mobile activities in 2015, a tally topped only by time spent with traditional TV.

This figure is all the more remarkable considering that nonvoice mobile use accounted for just 18 minutes of UK adults’ total daily media time in 2010.

Mobile behaviors among UK consumers have evolved considerably in recent years, but one of the more striking statistics is the split between mobile app vs. mobile web usage. The advent of smartphones, primarily the iPhone, brought with it the introduction of a carefully curated digital experience, in which users no longer needed to open a web browser and then navigate to a site each time they wanted to get somewhere online. Instead, their “go-to” digital destinations could be, essentially, bookmarked and placed on the home screen via apps. The battle for smartphone screen real estate had begun.

And it’s been a battle worth fighting. March 2015 data from comScore MMX MP and Mobile Metrix found that mobile apps accounted for a much greater proportion of time spent with the mobile internet than mobile browsers in the UK—fully four-fifths of total time. If one were to apply that proportion to eMarketer’s estimate for time spent with mobile media in 2015, in-app time would amount to 1 hour 55 minutes per day.

UK consumers are clearly big mobile app users. Moreover, smartphone usage is particularly high in the region. eMarketer estimates that 38.3 million individuals, or 58.7% of the population, were expected to use smartphones at least monthly in 2015. Tablet usage wasn’t far behind, with 32.8 million users or 50.3% of the overall population. And user numbers are set to grow further: eMarketer projects there will be 41.4 million smartphone users and 35.0 million tablet users in 2016.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “UK Mobile App Market: Apps Dominate Mobile Usage, but Attention and Retention Aren't Givens.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer corporate subscribers.

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