The mobile web is unique because it has two distinct access points: browsers and apps.
So, apps vs. browsers. Who is winning?
- Apps have finally taken a slight lead in overall penetration: The percentage of all U.S. mobile users accessing a mobile browser increased from 29% in February 2010 to 50% in May. The percentage of U.S. mobile users accessing downloaded apps rose from 28% to 51% over the same period.
- People spend far more time in apps: Americans spend more time per day on apps that they do on the web — both desktop and mobile combined.
- Time spent in apps is surging: According to Nielsen, the minutes spent per month on apps more than doubled from March 2011 to March 2012. Many of our most time-consuming mobile activities — games, social networks, and music — are accessed through apps. Time spent on the mobile web was basically flat.
- But there is plenty of growth to go around: Even though time spent on mobile browsers is flat, audiences will still grow with increased smartphone penetration. And with certain companies are starting to offer vastly improved mobile browser options, the tides can always turn.
- This may not be a winner-takes-all competition: As we detail in a recent report, HTML5 web-based apps are a more promising technology long-term, and could completely change the playing field.
In full, the report also looks at:
- The most popular mobile activities: We take a look at usage patterns around social networking, gaming, email, weather, search, and maps.
- How people use their phones to shop: We analyse how consumers are using their mobile devices at every step of the shopping process
- How users are consuming content on their mobile devices: We take a look at how mobile users are consuming books, video, news, and music on their mobile devices.