80 Percent of the Time, Smartphone Users Interact with Apps, not Web

By Gary Kim February 27, 2013

Consumers have demonstrated a clear preference for engaging with content on smartphones using mobile apps, which account for about 80 percent of U.S. mobile time spent interacting with mobile apps, rather than the mobile Web, according to comScore.

If you guess that’s why brands now spend so much time on "apps," you're right. 

You might be tempted to assume the popularity of smartphone content consumption has changed media preferences. But that does not appear to be the case, comScore suggests.

Analysts at comScore think the small screen environment pushes users to interact with the major media brands. The behavior might be explained by any number of other underlying drivers, though.

Most people continue to consume major brand content, on any screen, of any size, precisely because major brands continue to produce and provide the interesting content most people could find interesting, at least in terms of “time” a user could spend engaged with the content.

Only major media produce long form content on a routine basis. People might watch lots of short clips on YouTube – or more precisely, parts of short clips on YouTube – but such consumption does not necessarily create as much total consumption time as a single two-hour movie, for example.

Whatever you assume as the reason, “consumers are spending more time concentrated on the apps of major media brands rather than with the long tail of brands,” comScore said. For example, Facebook was the top U.S. smartphone app in 2012, followed by five different Google apps, notes comScore.

Mobile channels now account for about 37 percent of all digital media consumption “minutes of use.” PCs might still account for about 63 percent of media consumption, but the mobile share is growing.

Mobile platforms also are changing content consumption patterns. While desktop computer browser content usage tends to peak during the workday and in the early evening, smartphone browser content demand peaks during rush hour (when people are in transit).

Tablet browser content consumption is highest during the late evening hours when people are curled up on the couch or winding down for the night in bed, comScore says.

Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing Editor

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