Zokem to publish highlights from Zokem's recent smartphone research study. Its report found that mobile applications are overtaking mobile Web browser usage in terms of monthly use. In addition, apps are now second only to messaging in usage activity, beating both voice and Web for the #2 spot.At last week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the GSM Association (GSMA) partnered with mobile analytics firm
Zokem's January 2011 study looked at over 2,200 smartphone users in both the U.S. and the U.K. Although apps are growing in popularity, they haven't yet become the top usage category on smartphones - messaging is still #1. Messaging, which includes text, multimedia, email, and instant messaging, accounts for 671 minutes of usage per month (active on-screen time).
Meanwhile, apps (maps, gaming, entertainment, productivity, social networking, etc.) are a very close second at 667 minutes of usage per month.
Voice (531 minutes) and Web browsing (422 minutes) are much further behind.
Although, in total, apps are overtaking the Web in terms of usage, there are certain categories where the mobile Web is still used heavily. News, search and commerce categories receive more usage from mobile Web browsers, with 86%, 85% and 66% of mobile Web browser users using them monthly, respectively, says Zokem.
In comparison, only 22% of Web browser users use Web-based email and only 18% use Web-based games. Instead, native apps for email are used by 76% of smartphone users and native apps for gaming are used by 45%.
In general, multimedia and other entertainment is most popular within native applications, with the one exception being adult entertainment. This category sees 15% of Web browser users accessing such sites per month. That finding is likely related to the restrictions on adult apps per Apple's iTunes guidelines, which does not permit adult content.
Why are Apps Winning?
Zokem's CEO Hannu Verkasalo shares some thoughts about why apps are dominating this space over on GSM's Mobile Apps Briefing website. "According to Zokem's research, one of the most fundamental aspects is perceived usability and overall user experience," he says, in describing the success of apps.
"Mobile web browsers are no doubt evolving, with the most recent smartphones supporting HTML 5, Flash and other powerful web technologies - which is a good thing. However, there are still elements - like the small screen, rendering power of smartphones, limitations of web-site based application logic, offline use etc. - which make web browser based applications in most cases unsuitable, or user interfaces sub-optimal for mobile screens. It is easier technically to guarantee how an app looks, how it works, and how it delivers value to the user compared to web apps," he concluded.
Verkasalo said other factors that have contributed to apps' success over Web include the ease of monetization within app stores and the growth of the mobile app ecosystem.