Browser Or App? How Smartphone Users Access Their favourite Online Properties

ComScore recently measured which online properties are most popular among U.S. smartphone users, and the percentage of time users spend in each on their browser, versus in apps.

As you might expect, a lot of the top properties are the same as they are on traditional desktop web browsers: Google, Facebook, Amazon, AOL, Apple, and Microsoft show up in the top 15 on both web and mobile.

But others are unique to mobile, like Cooliris (which makes LiveShare, a group photo-sharing app) and Rovio (makers of Angry Birds). Others, like Wikimedia, are much more popular on smartphones than on the Web.

Here’s the list, measured in thousands of unique monthly users.

smartphone usage, top 15 properties

Photo: ComScore

ComScore also broke down the percentage of unique visitors that come from an app, versus a mobile web browser.

Cooliris (LiveShare) doesn’t even have a mobile web site, and Apple, Zynga, Twitter, and Rovio are used almost exclusively in an app:

In contrast, Wikimedia is almost 100% used in a web browser, and Microsoft sites are also primarily used with a browser:

smartphone usage, breakdown by percentage

Photo: ComScore

Combine both charts, and you get an approximation of unique smartphone users of each property coming from mobile web browsers, and unique users of each property coming from apps.

(There is probably overlap — some users undoubtedly access the same property from a mobile browser and from an app each day.)

On the app side, Google leads Facebook slightly, followed by Yahoo and Apple.

But Wikimedia is the most-visited site in a mobile browser by far, followed by Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and ESPN. Facebook doesn’t show up until #6.

smartphone usage, app vs browser, absolute

Photo: ComScore

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