U.S. consumers now spend 1 in every 10 discretionary dollars online -- about $190 billion overall in 2012, but it turns out that those dollars go more through apps than search engines and browsers, according to comScore.
When comparing browsers with apps the data might suggest "browsing is dead," but it depends on the device, said Mark Donovan, comScore SVP for mobile, during a Webinar Wednesday.
Mobile browsing isn't dead, but it happens more on tablets, compared with smartphones. App engagement is 7 times higher for consumers compared with browsing on iPhones, but only 2 times more for iPad owners. Marketers must begin thinking about innovative ways to increase search functions in apps.
Consumers have demonstrated a clear preference for engaging with content on smartphones via apps, accounting for 4 out of 5 mobile minutes, rather than mobile browsers. Consumers browse more on tablets compared with smartphones.
In January 2013, iPhone users spent about 500 minutes browsing on engines, but 3,400 minutes in apps. iPad owners spend more than twice the time browsing. Facebook finished 2012 as the top U.S. smartphone app, followed by five different Google apps, as major media brands continue to dominate the top of the rankings.
Apps dominate in most categories. Some 97% of consumers said they use an app for social media, followed by 96% for services; 95%, entertainment; 94%, games; 76%, business; and 75%, retail. It dramatically changes to 19% for apps and 81% for browsers in the directories and resources category.
Nearly all top properties see apps drive the majority of engagement from consumers. Consumers rely 100% on the Pandora app on a mobile device; Apple products, 100%; Facebook, 96%; Google sites, 82%; Amazon, 78%; Microsoft, 73%; Yahoo, 67%; AOL, 41%; and Glam Media, 40%.