Mobile Apps Overtake Web in Time Spent

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Mobile apps, insiders argued, are a stopgap on the way to the true "mobile Web." Apparently not so. Mobile apps are not only here to stay, they've reportedly overtaken the PC and mobile Web in terms of time spent. This is according to a new report from Flurry analytics:

Our analysis shows that, for the first time ever, daily time spent in mobile apps surpasses desktop and mobile web consumption.  This stat is even more remarkable if you consider that it took less than three years for native mobile apps to achieve this level of usage, driven primarily by the popularity of iOS and Android platforms.  

In February of this year, similar data was released by GSMA and analytics firm Zokem, which found that mobile apps are responsible for 667 minutes of use per user each month vs. messaging (671 minutes), voice (531 minutes) and web browsing (422 minutes).

Flurry's report showed, amazingly, that mobile apps account for more time spent per day (81 minutes) than the PC and mobile Web combined. Assuming the accuracy of the Flurry figures it translates into more than 2,400 minutes per mobile user per month. We've known for some time that the mobile Internet is more engaging than the PC Internet -- this quantifies it. 

I couldn't believe that mobile apps were taking more time than the "mobile Web" and PC Web combined. But here's what Flurry says:

The preceding chart compares the average number of minutes consumers spend per day in mobile native apps vs. the web.  For mobile apps, Flurry tracks iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and J2ME.  And for the web, our figures include the open web, Facebook and the mobile web. 

 Flurry breaks down app usage by category, in terms of overall time spent: 

Flurry says that "the average user now spends 9% more time using mobile apps than the Internet," which was not true a year ago apparently. The company says the growth has come from more mobile app sessions rather than an increase in average session length:

This growth has come primarily from more sessions per user, per day rather than a large growth in average session lengths.  Time spent on the Internet has grown at a much slower rate, 16% over the last year, with users now spending 74 minutes on the Internet a day.

This is an amazing milestone.