There may be screen upon screen or folder upon folder of apps on the average smartphone, but it turns out that there is a limit to how many a user can launch and engage with over a typical month.
And that limit, according to Nielsen, is just over two dozen -- 26.8 -- a month, a figure that has barely grown over the past two years, despite the fact that both Android and Apple device users have never had so many apps to choose from (both Google Play and the App Store boast over 1 million apps).
Nielsen, which has been monitoring this behavior over a period of years, believes that its findings show there is an "upper limit" for regular app use and that it is around this two-dozen mark.
Strengthening this belief is the fact that over recent years, the amount of time spent using apps has been growing rapidly. Over the last quarter of 2013, US Android and iPhone owners spent on average 30 hours and 15 minutes a month using apps. That's a massive jump -- of 12 hours -- from the average of 18 hours and 18 minutes dedicated to app use during the same period in 2011.
But this upper limit doesn't mean that the same apps are being used every month, rather that smartphone users will become fixated on something -- Flappy Bird for example -- then discard it in favor of the next app generating buzz.
And when it comes to which types of app are getting the most use, social and search is the top category, accounting for 10 hours and 56 minutes of monthly smartphone use. Entertainment is the second most popular category, growing by 71 % over the past 12 months and responsible for another 10 hours and 31 minutes of app time. The third most popular category is communication -- so everything from Google Hangouts to Face Time and WhatsApp -- which takes up just three hours and 48 minutes a month.
In Nielsen's top 10 app category list, News and Information and Family and Lifestyle are also categories that are on the rise. Although neither will challenge social networking any time soon, news app use has grown 55 percent to 93 minutes a month while lifestyle snags another 76 minutes of attention -- a 29 % jump in use over the last 12 months.
Breaking the figures down by age, Nielsen found that 18-to-24-year-olds spend the most time using apps (37 hours and six minutes a month) but that 25-to34-year-olds use the most apps -- 29.5 over the course of a month, closely followed by 35-to-44-year-olds who use 29.3 apps a month. The younger generation however, only averages 28 apps a month.