The 52% growth in app use in the last year has led to a 24% gain in digital media time spent.
The stat that is really eye-catching: 42% of all app time spent on smartphones occurs on someone's single most used app. And almost three out of every four minutes spent with apps is devoted a user's top four apps. Those figures crystallize just how difficult it is for new apps to gain a toehold on a smartphone owner's phone screen.
Facebook, not surprisingly, is the No. 1 app overall, in terms of time spent and audience size. The top apps across major mobile platforms are dominated by some combination of six brands: Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon and eBay. They account for nine of the top 10 most used apps, 16 of the top 25, and 24 of the top 50.
More than one-third of all U.S. smartphone owners download at least one app per month. The total number of downloads is concentrated within a very small segment of smartphone users, with the top 7% owners accounting for nearly half of downloads in a given month. More than half (57%) of smartphone users overall access apps each day, while a smaller share of tablet users do so (26%).
The surge in app use means it now makes up the majority of digital media time spent, at 52%. Total mobile activity including mobile Web browsing, recently surpassed 60%, with desktop now accounts for the remaining 40%. At the same time, comScore said that despite the embrace of mobile, time spent on the desktop Web had still grown 1%.
Nearly half the time spent in apps falls within just three categories: social networking, games and radio. “The strength of these categories highlights that mobile devices are more heavily used for entertainment and communication than their desktop counterparts,” noted the report.
iPhone users are more likely to spend more time with apps consuming media, with categories like news, radio, photos and social networking ranking high. Android users, by contrast, are more focused on utility apps like search and email as a result of the native presence of Google Search and Gmail.
Among other findings from the study:
*The median iPhone user earns $85,000 a year -- 40% more than their Android counterparts, at $61,000.
*Android is the biggest smartphone platform, with 83.8 million smartphone subscribers, compared to about 70 million with iPhones.
*iOS users skew younger than Android owners, with 43% between the ages of 18 and 34 versus 39% of Android users in that age range. The pattern extends to tablets, where 57% of iPad users are under 45, compared to 53% on Android tablets.