Commentary

Desktop Gets The Visitors; Mobile The Minutes

According to a new report from comScore, website visits are plateauing in the US, and the battle for visitors is increasingly being fought on smartphones. But despite mobile devices capturing the majority of digital minutes, the US still features more desktop than mobile unique visitors.

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As part of the analysis of the “Global Digital Future in Focus” the study examined mobile unique visitors across 13 key markets compared to desktop unique visitors, as of December 2017. Within the US, mobile unique visitors totaled 90% of desktop unique visitors, making it one of only 5 of the 13 markets where the mobile audience was smaller than the desktop audience.

Within the US, the mobile audience largely overlaps the desktop audience, which tallies with prior data from comScore, that revealed that the mobile-only share of the digital population stood at 12% in the US as of May 2017, despite the mobile-only audience share growing by almost 5% points in just a year.

The reason why more digital minutes in the US are consumed on mobile devices than desktops, despite a greater desktop audience, is that mobile users in the US consume about 2.5 times more minutes per month than desktop users. As a result, mobile devices combined for 70.3% of all digital minutes in the US in December 2017, up from 66% in January 2016. Smartphones alone captured 61.9% of digital minutes, up from 54.5% in January 2016, as tablets’ share of digital minutes declined over that time period.

More takeaways from the comScore report:

Apps Continue to Hog Mobile Minutes

The extent to which applications dominate mobile minutes is remarkably consistent across the markets tracked, ranging from a low of 83% in the UK to a high of 95% in Argentina, says the report, says the report. Within the US, apps were responsible for 88% of mobile consumption in December. That compares with 87% in June, according to prior comScore data, with app usage at that time relatively equal on smartphones (88%) and tablets (87%).

More Than 160 Sites/Apps Reach At Least 1 in 10 People in the US

The report details a slight increase in the number of sites and apps in the US that boast at least 10% reach in the US. That figure now exceeds 160, per the report, the highest of any of the markets tracked. Within the US, the top 5 apps by reach are: Facebook; YouTube; Google Search; FB Messenger; and Snapchat. The UK joins the US as the only 2 markets of the 13 in which Snapchat is within the top 5.

Social App Minutes Are Highly Concentrated; Gaming Minutes Aren’t

The app market is characterized by its narrow concentration in consumption: a report released last year by comScore indicated that smartphone app users spend 49% of their app time with their single favorite one.

This latest report demonstrates that app market concentration continues to be high in the US, but with at least one notable exception, Games. The top 5 gaming properties account for 34.1% of all gaming app time in the US. It’s worth noting that these are “properties” (which can contain multiple apps,) not individual apps. In fact, the top 5 individual apps capture just 14.7% combined share of the category’s app minutes.

By comparison, entertainment and communications categories are far more densely concentrated. For example, the top 5 Entertainment properties combine for 83.5% of time spent with that app category. The top 5 in Social Media (93.9%) and Instant Messaging (94.2%) capture even more app time in those respective categories.

Mobile Leads in Video Minutes, But Desktop Isn’t Left Behind

Finally, comScore’s analysis reveals that 68% of video views in the US for the top 100 properties in December 2017, occurred on mobile devices. That’s about on par with the UK (69%), and both ahead of Canada (51%) in that regard.

However, in the UK, desktop is growing just as fast, if not faster, than mobile, says the report. Surprisingly, the growth in consumption for the top 100 digital video properties was higher on a year-over-year basis on desktops (+46%) than on mobiles (+41%).

The full report is available to download here.

 

 

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