Apps overtake web as prime access mode

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Apps overtake web as prime access mode

Report makes claims of major shift in user behaviour.

A mobile analytics firm has calculated that consumers spent more time this month accessing information via mobile apps than they did through the conventional web.

In June 2010, consumers spent 64 minutes per day on the web compared with 43 minutes accessing information via apps, but this month, they have reportedly spent 81 minutes accessing information via apps and 74 minutes on the web, according to mobile apps analytics firm, Flurry.

“This stat is even more remarkable if you consider that it took less than three years for native mobile apps to achieve this level of usage, driven primarily by the popularity of iOS and Android platforms,” Flurry’s Charles Newark-French wrote on the company blog

The company currently tracks the usage of 85,000 apps across iOS, BlackBerry, Windows 7 and Android platforms, which does not cover the entire apps ecosystem, admits Flurry’s Charles Newark-French. 

Flurry had to guess at a third of total mobile application activity, he noted, and also relied on web figures from web analytics firms comScore and Alexa.

If Flurry’s calculations are correct, it would show how quickly smartphones, tablets and the “apps ecosystem” have become the prime conduit to information, which for the past 15 years has been via a web browser and domain name. 

Last December 2010, for example, the two access modes were neck and neck in terms of minutes per day, with the web holding people for 70 minutes per day compared with 66 minutes for apps. 

Newark-French points to the “new platform shift” that occurred this year, reported Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins (KPCB), when smartphone and tablet shipments overtook those for desktops and notebooks.  

However, the growth in time spent on apps had a different, more splintered shape to traditional web metrics, which could be measured as “time per session”. 

“This growth has come primarily from more sessions per user, per day rather than a large growth in average session lengths,” wrote Newark-French.

Social networking had also created a fork in the web, with Facebook now accounting for one-sixth or 14 of the 74 minutes that consumers spent on the web each day, according to Flurry.

That figure, according to to Newark-French, gave credence to a recent report by TechCrunch regarding Facebook’s mobile strategy, Project Spartan, which talked of Facebook's strategy to have its apps run in HTML5 on top of Apple’s Safari mobile browser rather than as an app.  

“It appears Facebook seeks to counter both Apple and Google’s increasing control over consumers as mobile app usage proliferates," Newark-French said.

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