If you're torn between developing a mobile app or optimizing your Web site, consider what device users you're targeting. New research from mobile analytics firm Flurry confirms a trend noticed last summer: U.S. smartphone users are spending more device time inside their downloaded apps and proportionately less of their day browsing the general Web.
In December 2011, the research found, the average smartphone user spent 94 minutes a day interacting with self-contained apps on a mobile device, compared to only 72 minutes a day on the web either from a desktop PC or a mobile device. Times spent in apps rose 23% from December 2010 to June 2011, and 15% from June 2011 to December 2011.
Growth in app time seems to be largely due to more frequent use rather than longer sessions. That increase in app use seems to be driven in part by a growth in the number of Facebook users checking and updating accounts away from their PC browsers. In June 2011, Flurry found that the average Facebook user spent more than 33 minutes per day on the web site; in December, that web-based use dropped to 24 minutes per day.
And interacting with Facebook and other social networks makes almost one-third (30%) of the time U.S. smartphone users spend in mobile apps, Flurry found—exceeded only by the 49% spent playing downloaded mobile games. They also spent 7% of their app time viewing mobile entertainment, 6% checking news, and 8% engaged with other tasks.