The average smartphone user now uses apps for an average of nearly 11 minutes for each minute they spend looking at a mobile website, according to recent figures from mobile analytics firm Flurry.
The figures show consumers spend an average of two hours and 42 minutes per day on either apps or mobile websites during the quarter to March, up four minutes year-on-year.
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Of that time, 86% or two hours and 19 minutes is spent each day on apps, with just 22 minutes spent on mobile websites, down from 20% for the same quarter a year earlier.
The figures suggest consumers are increasingly choosing to interact with online services through apps than through mobile websites.
According to Flurry, consumers are increasingly viewing their mobile web browsers as just another app, rather than as their primary means of accessing online content on their mobiles.
Mobile game apps accounted for 32% of all app or mobile web usage, followed by Facebook (17%), mobile browsers (14%), mobile messaging apps (9.5%), utility apps (8%), entertainment apps (4%) and YouTube (4%).
The Flurry figures echo projections, made in a Gartner report late last year, forecasting the total number of apps download each year would reach 268 billion by 2017, including 253 billion free apps and 14 billion paid apps.
This is a significant increase from the 102 billion apps estimated to have been downloaded in 2013 and 63 billion in 2012.
Gartner’s figures also show total revenue from apps hit $US26 billion ($28.187 billion) worldwide in 2013, up from $US18 billion ($19.5 billion)a year earlier.
Dennis Benjamin from app development firm Appswiz told StartupSmart apps allow for faster and more convenient to access to content than the mobile web.
“Mobile apps allow for ready access to the information you want, at your fingertips 24/7. Combine this with the fact that a range of app features will still operate on your phone without an internet connection (unlike mobile web) and the advantages become clearer,“ Benjamin says.
“Having a mobile app can allow for a choice of alerts to be received, a feature not available from a mobile website. These alerts, for example special offers, time critical messages or updates all build customer engagement.
“Mobile websites in general provide one way communication to the user whereas mobile apps facilitate two way dialogue and engagement.”
Benjamin advises businesses to develop versions of their apps for smartphones running Google Android as well as for Apple iPhones.
“In the third quarter of 2013, Android made up some 81% of devices shipped and now far exceeds the downloads of the Google Play Store compared to the iTunes App Store,” he says.”
Today, just because an executive thinking about an app for their company has an iPhone doesn’t mean that most of their customers do – they don’t.”