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Half of digital time is spent in smartphone apps

News, 28 August 2017
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WASHINGTON DC: Smartphone apps account for half (50%) of the digital media time that US adults spend online, followed by desktop (34%), with tablet and mobile web rounding out the remaining 16%, a new study has found.

But in a sign of just how much younger consumers have embraced mobile, the latest US Mobile App Report from measurement firm comScore, found two-thirds (66%) of those aged 18 to 24 now spend their digital time in smartphone apps compared with just 23% who spend their time on desktop.

Meanwhile, just 27% of Americans aged 65+ spend their digital time in smartphone apps, with more than half (53%) preferring desktop. Even among millennials aged 25 to 34, smartphone apps account for little over half (54%) of their share of platform time.

According to analysis of the findings by Marketing Land, this data contains “clear audience targeting implications” along with comScore’s finding that the “duopoly” of Facebook and Google own as many as eight of the top ten apps in the US.

Facebook’s main app is the most popular, reaching 81% of all app users – although YouTube is the top app among 18-to-24-year-olds – while Facebook Messenger and Instagram come in at third and sixth respectively.

Google-owned apps account for five of the top ten apps, including YouTube (#2), Google Search (#3), Google Maps (#4), Google Play (#8) and Gmail (#9).

The only non-Google and non-Facebook apps in the top ten are Snapchat (tied at #6 with Instagram at 50% penetration) and Pandora (#10 with 41% penetration), reported Recode.

However, Snapchat is clearly more popular among younger users as it ranks third among those aged 18 to 24, and sixth among consumers aged 25 to 34.

Interestingly, comScore also found that a full 90% of users’ mobile app time is spent within a user’s top five apps. According to Marketing Land, that means just over 51% of all digital media time in the US is now spent within users’ top five mobile apps.

Data sourced from comScore, Marketing Land, Recode; additional content by WARC staff

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