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News App Usage Rises Worldwide

More than one-third of internet users access news apps

February 1, 2017

2016 was a year of striking headlines, and users across the globe responded by tapping into news apps to keep up with the developments.

Internet Users Worldwide Who Have Used Mobile News Apps, 2012-2016 (% of respondents)

According to data from GlobalWebIndex, nearly four in 10 internet users ages 16 to 64 worldwide regularly used news apps on their smartphone or tablet in 2016, up 7 percentage points from 2015.

And this may be a blessing for news publishers, because app users tend to consume more content. At Bloomberg, for instance, the average app user generates 25 times more page views per month than the average mobile web user, according to M. Scott Havens, global head of digital at Bloomberg Media.

That pattern of higher engagement via apps mirrors usage for other types of activities. eMarketer estimates that more than 85% of smartphone internet time is spent with apps as opposed to the mobile web.

Frequency with Which Smartphone Users in Select Countries Click on Smartphone News Alerts/Notifications, Oct 2016 (% of respondents)

News publishers can drive usage of apps via alerts. According to an October 2016 study from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford conducted by YouGov, a significant share of smartphone users in Taiwan (39%), the US (33%), the UK (27%) and Germany (24%) receive news alerts on their smartphone.

The study found that a substantial share of smartphone users who receive news alerts do click on them. Some 60% of smartphone users in Germany click on news alerts all or most of the time, while slightly over four in 10 of those in the US and Taiwan and a third of those in the UK click on smartphone news alerts at least most of the time.

—Alison McCarthy

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