Report: On Mobile Devices, Apps Rule Compared to Mobile Browsers

report on mobile devices

When consumers are looking for information on your brand, it is more likely to be on a phone or tablet, instead of a PC. The mobile device is king. At least that’s according to a report released recently by a mobile analytics firm which concluded that mobile device usage is on the rise.

The firm which compiled the report, Flurry, says that the average US consumer spends 2 hours and 42 minutes a day on a mobile device (compared to 2 hours and 38 minutes a year ago), and that amount of time continues to increase. It was only a few years ago that mobile browsing was seen as a fad. Now it is in full command of the room and taking no prisoners.

But there’s another conclusion from this report that is even more interesting… and surprising.  And that is the solid dominance of apps over the mobile Web. For the average U.S. consumer,  86% of their time was spent using apps on a mobile device — or 2 hours and 19 minutes a day. Now compare that to usage of the mobile Web (i.e., what the report refers to as using a mobile browser).  Consumers spent just 14% of their time (22 minutes a day) browsing mobile websites versus using an app.

apps dominate mobile

One fact which seems to be borne out by all of these statistics is that the main casualty seems to be the browser. If you want to do something on a mobile device, the phrase “there’s an app for that” is truer than it has ever been.

Think of it this way — if you have a smartphone device, when was the last time you actually used a browser for something? Email – app.  Online banking – app. RSS feeds – app. Even Google has its own app.

It leads you to wonder:  Is the browser fast becoming an ancient dinosaur in the world of mobile?

So what’s the lesson to take away from this? At the very least, make sure that your website is mobile-optimized. But what would be even better is if you were able to have an app professionally designed for your business. Then you would be capturing a chunk of that 86%.

As Flurry said on their blog last year, “it’s an app world – the Web just lives in it”. You can thank Steve Jobs for that.

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Mark O'Neill Mark O'Neill is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering software and social media. He is a freelance journalist who has been writing for over 25 years, and has successfully made the leap from newspapers and radio onto the Internet. From 2007-2013, he was the Managing Editor of

9 Reactions
  1. I have a Motorola Razr Maxx and I find that the native browser is slow and displays the web in maddeningly inconsistent ways. Apps have consistent behavior and are usually designed for the smaller screen so there isn’t all that pinching and zooming.

    However, I think that the web will “get it” eventually.

  2. I agree. The good thing with apps is that it is focused. This means that you get to funnel people properly. Heck! I spend more time on Instagram and Facebook on my phone compared to Opera.

    • I have Chrome on my iPhone but I rarely use it. Whatever I need to access has an app already. 🙂

  3. I fully understand the issue of app vs. mobile web, however, speaking with clients and many friends, I find that you have to look deeper. First, most of the ‘useful’ apps cover verticals but aren’t necessarily specific. In looking over the most downloaded apps, you will find they cover general use areas, ie., maps, social media, cloud storage, productivity, A/V media including photo share, podcast and music, as well as video like YouTube and NetFlix, and news feeds from ESPN to Fox to topic-specific blogs. We look for convenience in everyday use, but not necessarily apps for a specific business point or store.
    In several conversations I’ve ask individual users what they have on their own phone and got similar responses. Excellent broad use apps but few business specific ones. That’s why we offer our premium mobile websites which cover the interaction of many native app uses without building out 5 or 6 different platforms for a single point business. We do offer an app for our company which ‘combines’ and gives shortcuts to all of our client sites.

  4. i am agree with above suggestion user like to spend more time on app rather than mobile website. because when a user download an app so he check all the possible features of that app but if we talk about mobile website visitor just spend time on important webpage and neglect the website but visitor has already downloaded the app so there will be more chances to visit an app rather than website.

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