We Now Spend More than 5 Hours a Day on Apps

We Now Spend More than 5 Hours a Day on Apps

Growing up in Hawaii, we never had to worry about spending 5 hours a day on mobile devices. Hell, we didn’t even have mobile devices when I was growing up. Wait, wait, I’m sorry, we had those Motorola Pagers and we blew our minds when they came out with color cases! We grew up fishing, playing sports, spending time outdoors, going to the beach, and going on mini adventures in the wild. This article from Sarah Perez at TechCrunch.com absolutely blew me away. FIVE HOURS and rising!?! Now I know at times I can be guilty of this, but my concern is that I’m starting to see my nieces and nephews fall into this same statistic. It’s a little disheartening that many of my childhood memories were outdoors playing with friends and to see this astronomical statistic raises a red flag. Sarah does a great job explaining the different apps and how they are affecting our daily lives.

The time U.S. users are spending in mobile apps is continuing to grow, and now, according to new data released this week by analytics firm Flurry, we’re up to 5 hours per day on our mobile devices. This follows on news from January which said the time spent in mobile apps had increased 69 percent year-over-year. Five hours per day is a 20 percent increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2015, and seems to comes at the expense of mobile browser usage, which has dropped significantly over the years.


Browser share on mobile is now at 8 percent, down from 9 percent in Q4 2015, 14 percent in Q1 2014, and 20 percent back in Q1 2013. The shift into apps can be attributed to many other factors, as well – increased selection in the app stores, better and more available Wi-Fi and mobile broadband, and the rise in messaging apps, which sees apps taking over typical phone functions like texting and phone calls, among several other factors.

But as Flurry has noted in the past, apps have grown more popular than watching TV – something which speaks to users’ interest in apps for more than just utility. In fall 2015, the firm found that U.S. users were spending more time using apps than watching our big TV screens in the living room. The indication here is that apps are sucking up more of our “downtime” where we would have otherwise been passively engaged with television programming. Plus, we’re turning to apps to serve as our means of “watching TV” in many cases, thanks to the availability of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu and others.

In fact, media and entertainment apps today account for 15 percent of the time we’re spending in apps these days.

Flurry also says that U.S. users are spending over half their time (51%) in social media, messaging, and media and entertainment applications – including those like Snapchat, which now accounts for 2 percent of users’ daily time spent in apps.

Snapchat still has a way to go to challenge social networking behemoth Facebook, however, which commands a 19 percent share thanks to its related properties, WhatsApp and Instagram. However, Snapchat is closing in on YouTube, which has a 3 percent share, Flurry found.

Meanwhile, the remaining “Messaging/Social” category accounts for 12 percent of time spent in app, the report says. All this engagement is coming at the expense of another popular app category, as well: games.

Games are still the money-maker for developers and the app platforms, even though their use is dropping. For example, Apple said that New Year’s Day 2017 was the biggest App Store day ever, with $240 million in purchases.

But the category has seen a decline for the second year in a row, and now accounts for 11 percent of time spent in apps, noted Flurry.

With the increased time users spend in apps, the advertising landscape is being affected, too. Apps can now attract TV ad dollars – and they’re even going able TV subscribers thanks to new services like DirecTV Now, Sling TV, YouTube TV and others. Flurry says it believes these entries will have an impact on time spent in the days ahead, and will “siphon even more minutes from TV.”


Now there’s no secret. Look at everyone from kids to adults on trains, in cars, or even walking down the street. Everyone seems to be on their phones. Startup companies have truly revolutionized the way we live but is it coming at a cost? Will my niece and nephew lose out on childhood memories or simple interpersonal skills by spending too much time on their mobile devices? Looking at the data above, it looks as though the trend will only get worse.

As with anything in life, I believe finding a balance is key. This site was created to help introduce great products to help create an easier and better life for you. But, on the other hand, we must not forget about our childhood days and start to teach our younger generations the fun that we had without apps or mobile devices. Get your children outdoors, get them engaged in community activities, and get them off their devices! Trust in that they have a lifetime ahead of them to use it when they truly need it.




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