6 Takeaways From comScore’s 2017 Mobile App Report

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With Google and Facebook placing increasing value on the mobile experience, the era of focusing on "internet trends" may be over, while mobile trends have taken center stage—the internet is mobile now and vice versa.

So how are smartphone users interacting with their devices and engaging with apps and websites? Understanding this is the object of comScore's 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report, which communicators should peruse to get a better sense of how they could be reaching their audiences. Here are six facets of the research that you might find enlightening:

  1. Half of all digital media usage time is via smartphone apps, as compared to 34% for desktop, with the balance split between mobile web, tablet app and tablet web.
  2. However, although apps dominate in terms of time spent, the top 500 mobile web properties see twice as many unique monthly visitors than the top 500 mobile apps.
  3. If you think your brand needs an app to break through, not so fast: most smartphone owners don't download any new apps in the typical month. And most people only use 20 or fewer apps in the course of a month. Plus, eight of the top 10 most-used apps are owned by Google or Facebook; this all suggests slim chances of success for new apps.
  4. Millennials (ages 18-34) are much more inclined to spend money on apps (both purchasing an app and in-app transactions) than older demographics.
  5. There's an upward trend in users agreeing to apps requesting to send them push notifications, a surprise result that reverses a previous downward trend from 2015 to 2016.
  6. No surprise here, but social is huge: 93% of the "app audience" uses one or more social media apps.

Overall it appears that app-downloading sprees are on the wane, and users are settling reliably into the handful of apps they use most frequently—which for the most part are the apps everyone else uses most frequently. But new apps can still gain a toehold in the millennial segment, even if they cost money. Looks like there's one industry millennials won't be accused of killing.

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