There has been much talk about the shift underway from apps to the mobile Web as the main way of accessing content on mobile devices. But for now at least, apps still hold the upper hand. Data released by Nielsen Wednesday in connection with the AppNation conference shows the amount of time spent with apps versus the mobile Web increased to 81% from 73% a year ago.
The average time spent on apps per day has changed -- in the last year, up two minutes to 39 minutes. People are also dividing their attention across a wider selection of apps, as the proportion of time spent among the 50 most popular apps declined from 74% to 58% in the last year.
At the same time, the top five apps -- Facebook, YouTube, Android Market (now Google Play), Google Search and Gmail -- remain unchanged from a year ago. Perhaps related to the people spreading time over a more diverse group of apps is the fact that the average number of apps per smartphone has risen, from 32 to 41.
Underpinning the affinity for apps has been the continued smartphone penetration in the U.S. -- now at about 50%, up from less than 40% a year ago. Android and iOS, not surprisingly, are the dominant smartphone platforms when it comes to app use, accounting for 88% of downloads between them. The number of Android and iOS users in the U.S. overall more than doubled to 88 million from 38 million.
The embrace of apps does not mean that people have no related privacy worries. Nearly three-quarters (73%) expressed concern over personal data collection from apps -- up from 70% a year ago -- and 55% are wary of sharing information about their locations.