Nielsen has some statistics on the total time spent on apps and web, the proportion spent on each and a breakdown of apps that account for the majority of the time.
- An hour a day is spent interacting with apps and web
- 67% of this time is spent on apps
- The top 10 Android apps account for 43 percent of all the time spent by Android consumers on mobile apps
- The top 50 apps account for 61 percent of the time spent
What does this mean for mobile developers? At first sight you might conclude that it’s better to develop an app rather than for the web. You might also conclude that unless you are a ‘top’ app your app might not get much use. However, as with many other mobile issues, "it depends".
It’s not surprising a low number of apps account for a large percentage of the time. These apps will be email, social networking and other such apps that run in the background and are communication tools. No utility app is going to be able to compete on time spent. However, it doesn’t mean it won’t be run regularly, possibly for a short time, and become useful.
The main reason people choose apps over the web is usability. Apps are both easier to discover and easier to use. However, if you are a large company, lets say for example a large brand, you can easily channel people to the web. Time spent on the ‘web app’ can make it close to, but never totally as good as, the usability of an app. You can leverage the size of your company/brand to negate the time spent on apps vs web issue. This is what large publishers are already starting to do, but for other monetary reasons, in moving their apps off the Apple App Store and onto the web.
The two learnings from this are not to take statistics at face value and think how you can use existing company assets to create contrarian strategies.