Nielsen: Consumers are spending 65% more time in apps than two years ago

Consumers are spending 65 percent more time using mobile apps than they were two years ago, according to data recently released by Nielsen. The company's report was based on data gathered through its on-device software, Mobile NetView 3.0, from more than 5,000 panelists using iOS and Android who were 18 years old or older.

The company made a number of other findings using its software:

  • In the last quarter of 2013, users spent 30 hours, 15 minutes using apps per month. This is compared to 18 hours, 18 minutes they spent per month in Q4 2011.
  • The average number of apps used in Q4 2013 was 26.8, a slight increase over the 26.5 used in 2012. 
  • Social networking and search apps accounted for nearly 11 hours per month as of Q4 of last year.
  • Gaming app use grew 71 percent year-over-year to account for 10 hours, 34 minutes.
  • Photography apps was an area of major usage increase of 131 percent versus the prior year. 

"As mobile consumption habits evolve, it's imperative that app developers continue to add functionality and robustness to their offerings," said Monica Bannan, vice president of product leadership at Nielsen. "Although there does appear to be a limit to the number of apps people are willing to access on a monthly basis, they're spending 31 percent more time than they were last year, proving that it's the content that counts."

Overall, developers must be doing something right if users are devoting more time to app use, but this can be attributed in part to the growing use of smartphones and tighter integration of app stores within device UIs. 

What should possibly alarm developers is the relatively minor bump in the number of apps being used. Though its report was jokingly titled, "So Many Apps, So Much Time," the one thing that might be difficult for Nielsen (or anyone) to quantify is the precise threshold of how many apps a consumer can be expected to cycle through on a daily or monthly basis. It could be that, even as usage increases, consumers become loyal to little more than two dozen apps, which means developers will need to work hard to deliver experiences that captivate consumers enough to be part of that relatively elite group.

For more:
- see the complete report here

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