'Mobile is the next big thing' has been the mantra for at least the past couple of years or so for many companies, Google and Facebook being some of the champions, Google trying to convince everyone else, Facebook building an impressive set of mobile apps and recently even a mobile platform.However, it looks like mobile is not the next big thing, it already is the big thing. Most smartphone users now spend more time with apps than they do on the web. And that's the entire web, not just how much they browse the web on their phones, it applies to desktops as well.
According to some research by Flurry, which monitors app usage, the average smartphone user spends 94 minutes using apps compared to 72 minutes using a web browser per day.
"Since conducting our first analysis in June 2011, time spent in mobile applications has grown. Smartphone and tablet users now spend over an hour and half of their day using applications," Flurry writes.
"Meanwhile, average time spent on the web has shrunk, from 74 minutes to 72 minutes. Users seem to be substituting websites for applications, which may be more convenient to access throughout the day," it said.
Its mobile app usage is based on the more than 140,000 apps the company tracks. As such, it's probably a rather accurate model and the numbers should be close to actual usage. The study relies on third-party data for web usage.
There are a couple of caveats though. The study concludes that the fact that more people are using the Facebook app led to a decrease in usage of the website.
The Facebook app is constantly the most popular application on the mobile platforms it's available on, so the assumption is true to a degree. However, whether it's via a browser or via a native app, users are still accessing the web, everything on Facebook is still in the cloud.
Likewise, many other native apps and even many games have an online component or work exclusively with a data connection active.
The second caveat is the fact that people are spending more time with apps isn't necessarily taking away from the time they spend online. Web usage dropped by 2 minutes in the past six months, but mobile app usage grew by 13 minutes.
Those two minutes alone could be attributed to more people using the Facebook apps rather than the site, but the rest of the web may still be grabbing more attention from people.