Consumers voraciously downloaded free apps this year.
In November US consumers spent an average 127 minutes a day using apps.
If any further proof were needed that apps are taking over both the internet and the average person's life, mobile analytics firm Flurry has this week provided it.
It claims that in the US alone, it recorded 1 trillion app-based events during the month of November, from making restaurant reservations to completing a game level or tagging a song. The company's research, which is based on data drawn from 250,000 apps, also shows that during the same period, apps were used over 60 billion times (i.e., launched, used and closed) and that the average user spent 127 minutes a day accessing the internet via a smartphone or tablet app, compared with just 70 minutes a day accessing the web via a browser, whether on a desktop or notebook PC.
This means that between December 2011 and December 2012, the average time spent inside mobile apps by US consumers grew 35 percent, while the average time spent surfing the net via traditional means fell 2.4 percent from 72 minutes to 70 minutes.
Gaming is by far the most popular app type, responsible for 43 percent of all time spent using apps, followed by social networking (26%) and entertainment and utilities, both of which are tied at 10 percent.
Using figures for average television viewing times from the US Department of Labor, Flurry's data suggests that as well as replacing traditional web browsing, app use is eating into time traditionally spent watching TV. The average time watching TV currently stands at 168 minutes a day and app use has already reached 76 percent of that total. This leads Flurry to speculate that apps are set to replace TV as the dominant media consumption channel, although research by Google and Nielsen shows that apps, particularly on tablets, are being used alongside TV viewing to enrich the experience, something that has been dubbed the "second screen."
What is clear is that apps are eating into the games console market. The latest Department of Labor figures show that the average US consumer spends 72 minutes a day playing games across all game-playing platforms. At 43 percent of total app time, or 55 minutes a day, mobile gaming via smartphones and tablets would now be responsible for 76 percent of game-playing time.