GLOBAL: Mobile devices now account for a majority of consumers' digital minutes in major world markets, with most of that time spent in apps, according to a new study from comScore.

The cross-platform measurement company's Mobile's Hierarchy of Needs report used its mobile and multi-platform data from nine markets (USA, Canada, UK, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, China and Indonesia) to demonstrate audience and consumption trends, along with regional differences in digital landscapes.

Some of these are to be expected, including the growing share of consumer time claimed by mobile devices: these accounted for more than 60% of all digital minutes in all nine markets, rising to 91% in the case of Indonesia.

And apps represented more than 80% of mobile minutes in all markets studied, rising to 99% in the case of China.

The top apps were generally large international players. Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ Instant Messenger and Line accounted for nearly 1 in 7 minutes for some non-US markets; a decline in standard SMS messaging has been one consequence.

A few years ago, the debate about mobile centred around the fact that consumers were spending their time there but advertising expenditure hadn't followed them; a similar situation exists today, as the proportion of advertisers' mobile spend devoted to in-app spending doesn't match the time consumers are spending there.

IHS, for example, has predicted that in-app native advertising will account for 63% of mobile display ad revenue by 2020. And at Advertising Week Europe, Renée Mellow, head of worldwide paid social at MediaCom, observed that "there's a big discrepancy between how you're spending your time on your mobile phone and where advertisers can activate".

As more digital time is spent on these devices, it becomes more important that all forms of activity on them can be measured, according to Will Hodgman, EVP/International at comScore.

"This report underlines the importance of demographics, app consumption and country-specific behavioural trends that publishers, advertisers and agencies need to effectively evaluate mobile audiences in a cross-platform world," he said.

Data sourced from comScore, Mobile Marketer; additional content by WARC staff