Time Spent On Smartphones Easily Tops Desktop

People in the U.S., U.K and Italy have taken the mobile-first zeitgeist to heart. Average time spent per person in those countries was far higher on smartphones than desktop computers in December 2013, according to new data from Nielsen in connection with the Mobile World Congress conference this week.

Americans spent 34 hours using apps and the mobile Web on smartphones compared to 26 hours, 58 minutes online on PCs. The mobile figure was up six hours from a year ago. Britons spent 41 hours on their smartphones in December, while Italians used their phones more than twice as long (37 hours) as the Web on the desktop (18 hours).

Mobile time spent still trails well behind that devoted to TV viewing. The U.S. leads easily in that department, at 185 hours a month in front of the TV, with the U.K., at 129:58, and Italy at 143:20. The Nielsen report, based on its opt-in panel of on-device meters around the world, also indicated people are using their phones more often.

In the U.S., for example, the frequency of smartphone owners accessing apps and mobile sites increased from less than five sessions per day in December 2012 to an average of at least seven daily sessions using their smartphones at the end of 2013. Brits reached for their “mobiles” nine times a day, up from 5.5 at the start of the year.

So what are people doing on their phones, anyway? Apps make up the bulk of time spent, with social networking the most popular app activity across the U.S., U.K. and Japan. Besides social app, which take up 29% of app time, Americans favored apps for communications (12% of time), productivity (11%), and games (9%).

Shopping and news/information apps only accounted for 2% time spent apiece. However, a study released by app analytics and advertising firm Flurry last week, indicated news apps tend to last the longest, with a median half life of seven months.

Among more traditional phone functions, texting was the leading activity, accounting for 9% of time spent. Nielsen estimates that over two-thirds of mobile subscribers in the U.S now have smartphones. 

"Smartphone user" photo from Shutterstock.

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1 comment about "Time Spent On Smartphones Easily Tops Desktop ".
  1. Pete Austin from Triggered Messaging , February 26, 2014 at 4:44 a.m.
    Puzzled by these figures. People are using smartphones for 34 hours per month, but the breakdown of this usage includes "the phone dialer (3%), and address books (2%)". Does the average person spend 60 minutes dialing and 40 minutes looking up others in their address book?