What are smartphones for? Apps and gaming

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

Consumers now spend nearly three hours a day glued to their smartphones, and most of that time is taken up by gaming and social media.

Mobile analytics firm Flurry's latest in-depth study into mobile device use in the US shows that even over the past three months, the average length of time per day spent browsing, calling, or using apps via a smartphone has jumped another four minutes to a massive two hours and 42 minutes.

And 86% of that time -- so that's all but 23 minutes of daily smartphone use -- is devoted to apps and, in particular, gaming. Nearly one third (32%) of time spent using a smartphone is on gaming. Facebook (including Instagram use) is a distant second, accounting for 17% of time spent, while social messaging, i.e., using WhatsApp or SnapChat or Viber for example, takes up another 9.5%.

At 4%, YouTube accounts for half of all entertainment app use (with all others accounting for another 4%), and is as popular as all apps defined as aiding productivity (4%).

However, despite its ability to create trends, cause outrage or act as a foundation for building news stories, smartphone users devote just 1.5% of their time -- less than three minutes a day -- to Twitter, half as much as they devote to news apps.

The 23 minutes of daily use not taken up by apps is taken up by web browsing which now accounts for 14% of all time spent using a phone. Only a year ago, web browsing accounted for 20% of time spent. And while the share is slipping, Apple's Safari browser, the standard on the iPhone is still the most popular, accounting for 7% of time spent. Google browsers account for 5%.

Flurry points out that in collating and presenting its data, use of Instagram and of Facebook are represented as a single figure seeing as they are both part of the same company and notes that next year Facebook use is expected to see a huge jump as time spent on WhatsApp, the company's latest acquisition, will also become part of Facebook's overall use figure.

Of the data, Flurry's Simon Khalaf said: "It is still too early to predict the trajectory apps will take in 2014. But one thing is clear -- apps have won and the mobile browser is taking a back seat. Now every company in the world including Google is adjusting to that reality."


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