Apps beat browsing? Not so fast

According to the analytics firm Flurry, mobile apps are gaining ground over web browsing among US smartphone users, measured by the average number of minutes consumers spend with each per day. Specifically, consumers spend 94 minutes per day with apps, and 72 minutes per day using the browser. Flurry concludes, according to this article, that “users appear to be switching to apps from browsers to access information, which may be the more convenient option through the day.”

Really? I don’t think the data support this conclusion. Flurry’s numbers show that 49% of that app consumption is games, which do not involve “accessing information.” If you remove the game time from the app numbers, the result is 48 minutes per day for apps versus the 72 minutes for browsing. The amount of time spent in accessing information through apps is probably even lower, if you remove time spent on apps like Hipstamatic, for example.

When I separate out the games percentage from the Apps category (using data from two Flurry blog posts, in June and December), the time breakdown looks like this:

I don’t really have a preference among apps, web apps, and the browser. Different use cases require different solutions.  I do think, though (as I wrote earlier), that we need to consider games as a separate category from “apps”, in order to get a more accurate picture of what’s really going on in the mobile and digital world.

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