All it takes is a walk down the street to see how addicted Americans are to their smart phones and tablets. But what strikes us lately is how often these mobile devices are used not to chat but instead to surf the web, check email, and access social media. These devices are revolutionizing how we get online. Recently, Alex Cocotas of businessinsider.com posted compelling evidence that the future of web access is mobile. The new data cited by Cocotas confirms in pretty dramatic terms that more and more people are accessing the Internet through mobile websites and apps. U.S. mobile Internet penetration, meaning either email or the web, rose from 31 percent in April 2009 to 55 percent in April 2012, and phones, not tablets, are the primary devices used to get online. What are people checking? Well, the growth in accessing mobile browsers tracks closely with that of apps – U.S. mobile browser use increased from 29 percent in February 2010 to 50 percent in May 2012, and app use increase 28 to 51 percent over the same period. But while penetration is comparable, people tend to linger far more often on apps. Nielsen reports that the minutes per month spent on apps more than doubled from March 2011 to March 2012, while time spent on the mobile web remained pretty much static.
As Cocotas puts it, “apps are king”. Americans spend more time per day on apps than they do online at their desktop or online on their mobile device. Savvy businesses should optimize their mobile AND app offerings to fully tap into the trend. Apps and mobile sites that are sleek, social-media friendly, and fun to use can get your brand the attention it deserves.