Although the Internet entered the mainstream 15 years ago, life without it today is nearly incomprehensible, And our use of the web has rapidly changed as well, as shown by new data from the Flurry research group (http://www.flurry.com).
Flurry says that, in simple terms, the Internet has evolved from online directories (Yahoo!) to search engines (Google) and now to social media (Facebook). Built on the desktop and notebook computer platform, the web’s popularity is significant.
Today, however, a new platform shift is taking place. In 2011, for the first time, smartphone and tablet shipments exceed those of desktop and notebook shipments, says Flurry. This move means a new generation of consumers expects their smartphones and tablets to come with instant broadband connectively so they, too, can connect to the Internet.
In a new report, Flurry compared how daily interactive consumption has changed over the last 12 months between the web and mobile apps. For Internet consumption, the research group built a model using publicly available data from comScore and Alexa. For mobile application usage, they used Flurry Analytics data, now exceeding 500 million aggregated, anonymous use sessions per day across more than 85,000 applications. Flurry estimates this accounts for approximately one-third of all mobile application activity, which the research group scaled-up accordingly for this analysis.
The analysis shows that, for the first time ever, daily time spent in mobile apps surpasses 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.
The top chart compares the average number of minutes consumers spend per day in mobile native apps vs. the web. For mobile apps, Flurry tracked iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and J2ME. And for the web, their figures include the open web, Facebook and the mobile web.
Flurry found that the average user now spends 9% more time using mobile apps than the Internet. This wasn’t the case just 12 months ago. Last year, the average user spent just under 43 minutes a day using mobile applications versus an average 64 minutes using the Internet.
Growing at 91% over the last year, users now spend over 81 minutes on mobile applications per day. 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.
Facebook has increasingly taken its share of time spent on the Internet, now making up 14 of the 74 minutes spent per day by consumers, or about one sixth of all Internet minutes. Considering Facebook’s recent leak regarding Project Spartan, an effort to run apps within its service on top of the mobile Safari browser, thus disintermediating Apple, it appears Facebook seeks to counter both Apple and Google’s increasing control over consumers as mobile app usage proliferates.
With mobile app usage soaring, Flurry additionally studied which categories most occupy consumers’ time. For this snapshot, Flurry captured time spent per category from May 2011 across all apps it tracks, now totaling more than 85,000. The results are shown in the pie chart.
The chart shows that Games and Social Networking categories capture the significant majority of consumers’ time. Consumers spend nearly half their time using games, and a third in social networking apps. Combined, these two categories control a whopping 79% of consumers’ total app time.
What’s more, if you drill down into the data, consumers use these two categories more frequently, and for longer average session lengths, compared to other categories. Any way you slice it, games and social metworking apps deliver the most engaging experience on mobile today.
— Dennis Sellers