At 81 Minutes per Day, Mobile App Use Tops Web Browsing

According to new statistics from analytics firm Flurry, the average mobile user now spends 9% more time using mobile apps than the Internet. That’s 81 minutes per day for mobile apps versus 74 minutes per day spent surfing the Web (both desktop and mobile).

But mobile apps haven’t always been more popular than the Web, says Flurry. Only last year, these positions were reversed, with users spending 43 minutes on apps versus 64 minutes on the Web.

For First Time, Apps Beat Web (Desktop & Mobile)

This growth in mobile app usage, clocking in at a 91% increase year-over-year, has come primarily from more sessions per user per day, as opposed to growth in average session lengths, says the report.

Time spent on the Web has grown much slower: up 16% over 2010, to reach the current rate of 74 minutes per day.

One of the most popular Web activities is browsing Facebook, Flurry notes. Facebook use accounts for 14 of the 74 minutes per day on the Internet, the company found.

Most Popular App Categories

In terms of mobile application popularity, games (47%) and social networking (32%) led the pack, rating much higher than news (9%) and entertainment (7%). Everything else was lumped into “Other” (5%). The top two categories, accounting for a combined 79% of users’ time, were also the top categories when rated by session length.

The data for this study came from an analysis of the 85,000 mobile apps using Flurry’s analytics product over the month of May 2011, which included over 500 million usage sessions per day. The Internet data came from the public data from comScore and Alexa.

What’s most remarkable about this paradigm shift, says Flurry’s Charles Newark-French, is how quickly it came about. In less than 3 years, mobile apps, and primarily those on iPhone and Android, now surpass both desktop and mobile Web use.

Update: In response to the Flurry study, Jeff Glueck, CEO of the mobile browser Skyfire, wrote a blog post arguing that Flurry’s conclusions are “cherry-picked: and “do not reflect reality,” according to Skyfire’s PR team. You can read the rebuttal here. Glueck accuses Flurry of playing “quite ‘fast & loose’ with statistics,” and says that while Skyfire respects Flurry’s app tracking platform, it expects better from them on this.

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