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Apps dominate smartphone usage, survey finds

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Smartphone usage has become dominated by apps, a new study has found, with up to 80 per cent of handset activity involving downloadable applications.

According to figures collated by analytics firm Flurry, over the past five years smartphone usage has become increasingly tilted towards heavy app use, with the remainder of many users’ smartphone and tablet activities revolving around the web.

“Today, the U.S. consumer spends an average of 2 hours and 38 minutes per day on smartphones and tablets,” the Flurry report revealed. “80 per cent of that time (2 hours and 7 minutes) is spent inside apps and 20 per cent (31 minutes) is spent on the mobile web.”

Somewhat unsurprisingly, app-based gaming accounts for the largest single section of smartphone and tablet usage, with global hits such as Angry Birds and Real Racing 3 helping transform the mobile nature of the gaming sector.

“Gaming apps remain the largest category of all apps with 32 per cent of time spent,” the study revealed. Although the figures showed that “Facebook is second with 18 per cent,” other social networking services such as Twitter and Pinterest account for a further 6 per cent of mobile activity, again highlighting the changing consumer wants and needs.

Having risen to prominence in such a small space of time, the Flurry report has suggested that interest in mobile apps shows no sign of decline, in fact, it has predicted the app market will continue to grow.

“Five years into its existence, the app economy is thriving, with The Wall Street Journal recently estimating annual revenue of $25 billion (£16.54bn). Once again, we have to appreciate that this economy did not exist until 2008. As we looked for possible signs of slowing, we could not find any, largely due to the fast adoption of tablets just after smartphones.”

Flurry spokespeople added: “In fact, not only is the installed base of devices growing, but also the number of apps consumers use.”

Revealing that the number of consumer launched apps has risen from 7.2 to 7.9 per day since 2010, the report has suggested that this gradual rise shows there is still much more to come from the still fledgling app market.

“This is not a material change, which is a good thing,” the study stated. “To us, the steady growth rate indicates that the app economy is not yet experiencing saturation, as consumers steadily use more apps over time.”

Whilst consumers have grown to love and expect much from smartphone and tablet applications, the Flurry report has warned that this rise in usage is not without consequences.

“The disruptive force of the mobile app economy has created opportunities, rising stars, instant millionaires, dinosaurs and plenty of confusion. However, one undeniable truth is that tablets and smartphones are eating up desktops, and notebooks and apps (including the Facebook app) are eating up the web and peoples’ time.”

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