Despite the seemingly endless selection of apps, consumers only use two dozen or so of them each month, new data shows. But the time people are spending on the apps is increasing.
A recent Nielsen study found the average U.S. smartphone user accessed 26.7 apps a month during the fourth quarter of 2014 – about the same as during the previous two years.
While consumers may have a limit as to how many apps they use on a regular basis, they are accessing those preferred apps heavily. Time spent engaging on apps is up 63% in the past couple of years, according to the consumer research company’s study. The average user spent 37 hours and 28 minutes a month on the apps during the last three months of 2014, up from 23 hours and 2 minutes a month during the same period in 2012.
Men used slightly more apps than women (27.2 versus 26.3), but women spent about an hour a month more using apps.
Nielsen’s report, which was released in June 2015, also found differences among population groups, with African-Americans leading the way in the number of apps used and the length of engagement.
African-Americans averaged nearly 43 hours per month across 30.3 apps, followed by Hispanics, who spent 41 hours and 31 minutes per month on 27.9 apps. Asian-Americans averaged 37 hours and 14 minutes on 28 apps, while whites spent 35 hours and 25 minutes on 25.9 apps.
The Nielsen data coincides with a new Forrester Research study that showed that consumers are spending the majority of their smartphone time on an average of just five non-native applications from the App Store. Those often include communication and social apps.
Forrester researchers noted that Facebook accounts for 13% of the minutes that U.S. adults spend on mobile apps, with Google accounting for 12%. Other major tech companies also garnered a slice of the app use pie, including Apple and Amazon (3% each), Yahoo (2%), and Microsoft and eBay (1% each).
Forrester projects that more than 226 billion apps will be downloaded in 2015, with China accounting for more than half of them. However, just 8% of downloads will be for paid apps.