Smartphones – changing our behaviour

Last week saw respected global research firm, Nielsen, release some interesting statistics demonstrating that the move from the web to native mobile apps gathered pace in 2013.


With smartphones shifted from a minority of mobile phones to the majority, consumers behaviours are now also changing – with their usage of those devices rapidly shifting towards entertainment and social media.

Nielsen reports that time spent using smartphones now exceeds Web usage on computers in the US, UK and Italy – with Americans spending 34 hours in mobile apps or on the mobile web in December 2013 – up 6 hours, or over 20% on the same month a year earlier.

Britons used their smartphones the most, with an amazing 41 hours – almost 2 full days – in the month of December, whilst Italians at 37 hours used their smartphones almost for almost twice the time they spent surfing the web.

Unsurprisingly then, Nielsen also found that Britons reached for their handsets the most – an average of nine times a day in December (actually – that seems pretty low to me!).  Still, it was almost twice as often than the corresponding month, a year earlier.

Across the Atlantic in the US, the frequency of smartphone owners accessing apps and mobile sites increased by almost fifty percent on a year earlier, to over seven sessions a day.

Nielsen’s researched confirmed the trend we’d expect to see, with apps dominating a persons time on their smartphone, led by the growth of time spent in entertainment and media.

The majority of:

  • Americans time with apps is spent using social media (28%), with communications (12%) and productivity/function  (11%) the next most popular;
  • Japanese time with apps is spent using social media (24%), with games (16%) and communications (16%) the next most popular; and
  • British time with apps is spent using social media (29%), with games (18%) and entertainment (15%) the next most popular.

The noticeable things in these stats, are that the British (18%) and Japanese (16%) spend far more time playing games on their smartphones, than the Americans (just 9%) and social media wins across the board.

So, as has been clear for a couple of years now – smartphones are winning, and with them, consumers habits are changing, with them seeking much more enriched interactions.

With such growth, it seems clear that the opportunity to build category defining apps remains, with the next WhatsApp or Instagram still to be borne.

It’s these opportunities that prompted us to create our Course teaching non-technical people how to go about turning their app ideas into an app.  To learn how to make an app with your own idea, then start on a free trial with the first Course tutorial today.


Indrajit Chakrabarty

Indrajit Chakrabarty wrote on

Indy is a co-founder of AppInstruct. He is an experienced systems architect and software engineer, with a Masters in Computational Physics. Indy recently wrote Microsoft's textbook in support of Windows 8 – “Essentials of Developing Windows Store Apps Using C#”. His favorite apps are the ones he creates in his spare time to support the Internet of Things!