Mobile app downloading not as popular as some may think, claims new report

The U.S. is spending more hours looking at its screens. Users are consuming the majority of their digital content on mobile devices and navigating through just four apps during the better part of each month, according to comScore's U.S. Mobile App Report.

ComScore's U.S. Mobile App report set out to determine how fast mobile app usage has been expanding, how individuals use apps and how often people use mobile devices.

"Last year saw the U.S. become a multiplatform majority, a significant milestone in which the majority of digital consumers used both desktop and mobile devices every month," states comScore in its report. "Around the same time, mobile first surpassed desktop in terms of total digital media engagement. And finally, just this year another key milestone was reached -- the app majority -- where now the majority of all digital media time spent occurs on mobile apps."

Mobile app usage rose by approximately 52 percent in 2014, and 57 percent of smartphone users accessed apps every day of each month. However, the majority of smartphone users were content with their current selection of apps each month.

For the quarter ending in June, approximately 65 percent of smartphone users downloaded no new apps. Roughly 8.4 percent of U.S. smartphone users download one app each month, while around 7.2 percent added five or more new apps each month. Social networking (25 percent), games (16 percent) and radio (8 percent) were the top-used apps.

"A staggering 42 percent of all app time spent on smartphones occurs on the individual's single most-used app," stated comScore. "Nearly three out of every four minutes of app usage occurs on one of the individual's top 4 apps."

While comScore determined that app usage in the U.S. has surpassed time spent on desktop computers -- 60 percent mobile, 40 percent desktop -- Americans still didn't spend any less time looking at content on their monitors in 2014 than in 2013. Desktop usage grew by 1 percent.

But all that extra time spent looking at digital media on mobile devices isn't being converted into the ad revenue it deserves, at least not right now, says comScore.

"Like any emerging advertising medium, it takes time for the ad buying and selling infrastructure to develop," states comScore. "The good news is that, throughout the history of media, dollars eventually follow eyeballs, which means that the future of the mobile app economy is very bright."

While the ad dollars may not be quite there yet, PayPal may be looking to make app revenue through a slightly different route. PayPal's One Touch service is looking to link in-app purchases directly to the digital financial institution via mobile. One Touch is now in beta and is billed as a secure, convenient, and flexible way to pay through a mobile app for both Android and iOS users.

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