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Mobile apps used more than mobile browsers, though number of apps in decline

Smartphone use surpasses laptop use

App time will take up nearly 20% of total media time for US adults this year, although the average user still spends 26 minutes per day with a mobile browser.

With mobile apps now accounting for 84.9% of total mobile time spent, 10.3% more time spent using mobile apps than last year among US adults, the number of apps used is in decline dropping from an average of 21 apps per month on smartphones used in 2016, to 20 this year, eMarketer reports.

App usage is mainly concentrated within social networks, Google and utilitarian apps, such as maps and messaging apps.

Facebook remains one of the core apps Americans are using and although time spent using the app is growing, eMarketer reports that the time spent per day on Facebook via a desktop or laptop has held steady at six minutes, while the amount of time users spend on mobile phones is increasing and reached 17 minutes per day this year. Further, the saturation by brands like Amazon and other established brands are giving users a one-stop shop with their app as these larger companies increasingly move into new areas, like Amazon's move into a shopping space where it will sell through private clothing labels, and Instagram's recent adoption of more shopping features on its own app.

“American consumers spend the bulk of their app time conducting five activities: listening to digital audio, social networking, gaming, video viewing and messaging,” said eMarketer principal analyst Cathy Boyle.

“Each of these are time-intensive activities that consumers conduct with a high level of frequency,” she said. “An app provides a direct access point from the home screen of a mobile device, and a native app experience is typically slicker and faster than a comparable web experience.”

Much of this is being driven by video consumption, especially live video, on the platform, eMarkter reports.

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