October 3, 2022
smartphone apps

Smartphone Apps Now Account for Half of Internet Use

Smartphone apps now account for half of internet use, rivaling website browsing as consumers turn to quick reference and entertainment…

Smartphone apps now account for 50 percent of all digital time spent by consumers. Americans spent half of their collective online time using smartphone apps in July, according to the latest measurements examined by comScore. This explains, in-part, why desktop referrals are falling compared to mobile, particularly for news media sites. App usage accounts for more time spent on any other form of internet access combined.

“Unless you already happen to be sitting at a computer, a smartphone app is probably your first option when you decide to listen to music, get directions to a destination, check the weather or catch up on email. The convenience factor is simply too powerful,” comScore wrote on its official blog.

Smartphone Apps Now Account for Half of Internet Use

By comparison, desktop internet time accounted for a 32 percent share. Tablet app internet time received a 9 percent share and tablet web browsing accounted for just a 2 percent share. Smartphone browsing time took a 7 percent share, making their total digital time 57 percent in July. The paradigm shift is best explained by the convenience of smartphone apps, which typically outperform mobile browsers.

share of digital time spent in July 2016
Credit: comScore

It also continues a long-standing, five-year trend of mobile web traffic outpacing desktop use, which first occurred in October 2011. It’s well-documented desktop and tablet sales are declining because neither matches the ease-of-use smartphones provide. Such consumer behavior is also a partial driver for why Facebook factors website load time into its advertising practices. (Internet users are known to abandon websites which take longer than 3 seconds to load.)

In the coming months, the smartphone app internet time share will continue to rise, comScore predicts.

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