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Trends on Tuesday: Users Spend Most of Their Time in Social Apps

The top half of a clock face with its hands on 11:51. Instead of numbers, it has web and social media terms: Post, Chat, Share, Friend, News, Link, and Blog.

ComScore released a new 2015 U.S. Mobile App report tracking native mobile app usage among adults over 18 years old, and it reinforced a lot of the trends we’ve been reporting on DigitalGov.

Quartz succinctly summarized the report with the headline: “You really only use three apps on your phone.” The report clearly pointed out that Americans spend 50% of their time in their most-used app, and 78% in their top three favorite apps.

Other notable data points:

  • From June 2013 until June 2015, the time spent on mobile overall jumped 11%; the time spent on mobile apps jumped 12%; and the time spent on desktop devices dropped 11%.
  • During the same time period, total digital media usage grew 49%, with app usage growing 90% in the past two years.
  • On mobile devices, people spend 87% of their time in apps versus 13% in browsers.
  • Despite users spending more time in apps, the mobile Web has the largest audience, with 433 million unique visitors vs. 123 million.
  • Social media and entertainment apps account for the six top app categories and drive two-thirds of total time spent on apps. Even more astounding: The average mobile user spends a whopping 26 hours per month on social apps, and that average is 16% higher among millennials!

It is crucial for government agencies to consider this data in digital product decision making, especially when analyzing app usage numbers and your potential audience. Are their mobile moments going to be social or entertainment driven ones? If so, then consider an app approach, but otherwise it might be a difficult process to get users to regularly engage with your digital experience.

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