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Mobile Monday: Americans Spend Most Mobile Time on Apps

Posted Jun 3, 2019

The ubiquity of smartphones and accessibility of high-speed internet has raised the question: how much time are we really spending on our phones? eMarketer recently released a comprehensive study in which they looked at how the globalization of digital technology has changed the way we consume media. This week we’ll look at research that details how consumers in the United States spend their time on mobile devices. Read all about it in this week’s Mobile Monday!

Americans Are All About Apps
According to eMarketer’s report Time Spent With Media 2019, adults in the United States have increased their average time spent on a smartphone by 9 minutes to 2 hours and 33 minutes a day. Additionally, users spend 90% of their smartphone time on apps while time on mobile browsers diminishes slowly every year. The rapid growth of time spent on apps is not just a phenomenon in the U.S. App Annie reported that total app time grew by 50% across the globe between 2016 and 2018.

Audio Shows Biggest Gains In App Times
While apps across the board have gained minutes over the past few years, the biggest growth has been in digital audio and social media apps. Both types have added 13 minutes to their averages since 2016. Time spent on audio streaming apps can be largely attributed to users who use them while multi-tasking. Other apps like video and gaming also saw growth but require more attention from a user which results in less time. Video gained 9 minutes, while gaming and messaging gained 4 minutes each. eMarketer projects that digital audio, social media, and video will all add 4 minutes by 2021. In contrast, they expect gaming to plateau and remain at 22 minutes in the upcoming years.

Mobile Serves Both Advanced and Casual Gamers
While its growth is not as rapid as audio, time spent on mobile games should not be discounted. Though eMarketer expects the average time spent on games to hold steady, research has shown that the audience will continue to expand.

Electronic Entertainment Design and Research estimates that the number of mobile gamers in North America has reached over 210 million. The combination of easy accessiblity and the advancement of cloud gaming platforms has garnered the attention of both advanced and casual gamers. Developers have reached all types of players by diversifying their games to serve various needs.

Possible Roadblocks for Smartphones
Time spent on smartphones will continue to increase over the next few years, but there are few factors that could slow it down. Currently, smart speakers, like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s HomePod, have given smartphones the biggest challenge. By 2020, 80.8 million Americans are expected to be smart speaker users.

Another factor to consider is the backlash against prolonged screen time. While the numbers on screen time have not slowed down, several studies indicate that users are concerned about the amount of time spent on their phones. A YouGov study said that 42% of smartphone owners in the U.S. believed that wasted too much time on their phones, while 30% of respondents thought they could be more productive by not using a phone. Though time spent on mobile and apps will continue rising, advertisers and developers should recognize these concerns to combat a slowdown of downloads or revenue.

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Mobile Monday examines the latest news, trends, and developments in mobile apps, tech, and advertising. Do you have a story to share for the next Mobile Monday?

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