The tipping point: the majority of all digital media time spent now occurs on mobile apps

Hester Gras

We have seen it coming for quite a while, but in the United States it is a fact today. The majority of digital media consumption now takes place in mobile apps, according to a new study released by comScore. That means mobile apps, including the number 1 most popular app Facebook, eat up more of our time than desktop usage or mobile web surfing. Those apps now account for 52% of the time spent using digital media. Mobile web takes up about 8% of the time, the remainder (40%) goes to desktop-based digital media consumption.

These new number are a key milestone that proves that we now live in the age of the ‘App Majority’, as comScore calls it. It wasn’t too long ago when the desktop computer was the dominant online platform and the central hub for all the consumer’s digital activities. But with the proliferation of smartphones, soon followed by the tremendous success of the tablet, mobile’s rise has been swift and unrelenting.

The tipping point was the beginning of this year, when the share of U.S. digital media time on mobile apps passed that of desktops (see graph below).

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Apps today are driving the majority of media consumption activity, the comScore report claims, now accounting for 7 our of every 8 minutes of media consumption on mobile devices. On smartphones, app activity is even higher, at 88% usage versus 82% on tablets.

The report details several interesting figures related to how U.S. app users are interacting with these mobile applications. For instance, over one-third of users today download at least one application per month. The average smartphone user downloads three apps per month.

The download activity is concentrated within a small segment of the smartphone population: the top 7% of smartphone owners account for nearly half of all the download activity in a given month.

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Consumers are really addicted to apps. More than half (57%) use apps every single day, while 26% of tablet owners do. And 79% of smartphone owners use apps nearly every day, saying they use them at least 26 days per month, versus 52% for tablet users.

You can download the complete comScore report here.


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