Categories: Android / Business / Developers / iOS / Mobile Apps / Tablet
If you walk down the street you’ll see most people with their phone in hand – and their eyes on their screen. We’re so attached to our smartphones that we’re becoming bionic people.
But how much time are we actively spending on our phones? And just what are we doing with that time?
The mobile apps have it.
According to Verto, we’re spending up to an average of 81 hours a month on our phones – which honestly seems a little low.
Less of a surprise that we’re increasingly less about the “phone” bit of our smartphones and more about the “smart” bit. Smartphone apps account for about 50% of all digital media consumption in the US, putting tablet and desktop use to shame. So it’s fair to say that we’re not just using our phones as fashion accessories.
But of the thousands of apps out there, it’s a certain type of app that has our attention: the platform app. Other than background music-streaming services like Pandora or Apple Music, all the big time-guzzlers are platforms. Think Facebook, YouTube, Google Everything, Instagram and Amazon.
And little wonder. These platforms are primed for doing business through their apps in a seamless, frictionless way. They’re expert aggregators of products or information, they get people socializing and they make it easy to shop, get around or connect.
In fact, the more common a task, the more likely we are to reach for our phones. We might only have twenty or so apps that we actually use – but we get plenty of use out of them.
And all in your pocket.
One of the reasons for that high frequency of use is that these apps exist on devices that are inherently mobile and available. Not only do they solve informational or situational problems, but they can do it in real time, as you need it. They’re accessible around the clock, anywhere you go – making it possible, for instance, for half of all 18 – 24 year-olds in the UK to check their phone in the middle of the night.
As screens get larger, connections get faster and input gets easier, the need for other devices diminishes. And the functionality of our go-to apps will only improve – making them even more indispensable. Take social media platforms. While young people are typically less voracious consumers of news than older people, the opposite’s true when it comes to social media apps. It turns out that it wasn’t that they weren’t interested in news – it’s that now there’s a meaningful, convenient and tailored way for them to access it. And interestingly, we’re also seeing an uptick in the use of mobile apps from older age groups – the 45-49s and the 65-69s. Some of this can be attributed to social media, and some can be attributed to mobile’s ability to target highly segmented user groups. Take Uber’s recent efforts to use its fleet to help get senior citizens on the move.
Our phones are an extension of ourselves – which means that they also reflect what’s important to us. By our very nature we’re curious and social. We’re organizers and doers. We have problems we need to solve. Apps not only meet those needs, but they also augment our abilities around them. No wonder it’s so hard to put them down.