Mobile Users Prefer Apps Over Browsers

Mobile users love their apps and that love affair has outstripped their interest in browsers. That’s according to comScore’s latest mobile subscriber data for November, which found that the percentage of users who use apps has finally surpassed the percent of subscribers who turn to a mobile browser.

ComScore said that 44.9 percent of people used apps in November, compared to 44.4 percent who used a browser. That appears to mark the first time since comScore started noting mobile content usage that app usage has surpassed browser usage. Apps have trailed the browser by just a few percentage points for most of the last two years, but people have still preferred the browser until now.

This follows a similar finding from earlier this year from Flurry, which found that minutes spent per day on apps eclipsed that of time spent on a browser for the first time in June. As some of our commenters noted, it doesn’t necessarily mean that HTML5 is waning, and in fact, some apps are built in HTML5 and wrapped with a native shell. But it shows that people’s interest in apps continues to grow, and that there is value for a lot of people in purpose-driven software that can take them directly to what they want or can make better use of their mobile hardware.

According to other comScore data, Android is close to taking a majority of all smartphone users in the U.S., with its market share growing to 46.9 percent in November, up from 43.8 percent in August. Apple also managed to grow to 28.7 percent, up from 27.3 percent in August. The two leaders continue to sap away market share from Research in Motion, which saw its market share decline from 19.7 percent to 16.6 percent over the same period. Microsoft also continues to wait for Windows Phone 7 to begin gaining traction. Its share of the smartphone market in the U.S. declined from 5.7 percent to 5.2 percent.

These two big data points aren’t completely unrelated. Users love their apps and the two most robust app platforms are iOS and Android. As subscribers continue to prize smartphones for their apps, they will increasingly look to the platforms that give them the best quality and selection of mobile software titles. That’s obviously not the only reason to buy a phone, but it shows again why it’s so hard for RIM and Microsoft to hold their own or close the distance on Apple and Google. They must overcome iOS and Android’s app advantage.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: