Here’s a shocker: we’re all using mobile apps more than ever before. A new study from Nielsen shows that app usage among iPhone and Android users in the U.S. rose 65 percent from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013. Smartphone users spent a total of 30 hours and 15 minutes per month using apps in the last quarter of 2013, up from 23 hours and two minutes the year prior.
Despite the increased time spent using apps, users aren’t downloading too many more programs. The number of apps used per month inched up only slightly, from 26.5 in Q4 2012 to 26.8 in Q4 2013, indicating that people are getting more mileage out of the apps already crowding their home screens — or people are swapping older apps for new ones that perform similar tasks.
People spend about third of their time in apps using search engines, web portals or social networks, per Nielsen. Entertainment apps are nearly as popular, with communications apps being the third most-used.
The growing popularity of apps indicates these dedicated programs have begun gaining the upper hand over the mobile web. Huge Internet companies like Facebook initially resisted focusing on apps, instead hoping to create dynamic websites designed with HTML5 that could adapt to a wide variety of operating systems and web browsers. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg later admitted this was a huge strategic mistake. The company has since spun off different Facebook functions into independent apps such as Messenger and Paper on top of the primary Facebook app.