We spend 84% of our time using just five mobile applications

Anne Freier

In App Analytics

June 29, 2015

As global smartphone adoption grows rapidly, and ever more apps flood the market, it appears customer’s mobile behaviour is not on par. According to new research from Forrester Research, consumers spend 85% of their time using apps on their smartphones, however the majority of that time (84%) is spent across just five native apps.

The data is based on smartphone app user engagement of over 2,000 US smartphone owners. Communication and social media apps account for the most minutes spent. Facebook dominates app usage at 13% with 1.25bn active monthly mobile users, followed by Google at 12%. Other major companies such as Amazon, Apple and Yahoo all account for between 2% to 3% of minutes spent.

Social media apps dominate smartphone app usage

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Source: forrester.com

According to the research, US smartphone owners spend 4.8% of their minutes using messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat and KakaoTalk adding up to 50-200 minutes per week. Aside from social networking being the most popular app category, TV and video apps attract 9% of minutes spent. Here, Youtube has a 43% adoption rate though Netflix generates the most usage at roughly 31 minutes. Communication apps (7%) as well as games, maps and music at 6% each are also popular categories.

Most popular app categories by time spent

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Source: forrester.com

Similar research from Nielsen in June 2015 supports these findings, highlighting that despite an increase in mobile apps on the market the number of apps used is staying the same. US smartphone owners access an average 26.7 apps per month. This figure has remained relatively flat for the past two years. However, the time users spent across their apps has increased from Q4 2012 to Q4 2014, from 23 minutes to 37 minutes.

The number of apps users are accessing monthly remains flat

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Source: nielsen.com

Following these findings, Forrester Research advises enterprises to create apps only for the most loyal customers, since they are the most likely to download and use apps. Forrester says:

“Few enterprise apps offer enough compelling, exclusive services, functionality, and information or the phenomenal convenience necessary to be just a destination. Even firms such as United Airlines allow passengers to export their boarding passes to Apple Passbook for convenience or look up flight information or purchase tickets on third-party apps such as TripIt or Orbitz.”

Spending mobile advertising budgets wisely to actively engage users should be a core focus of marketers’ strategies.