Nielsen on Thursday ushered in a new era of mobile device usage reporting brought about by customer metering software installed on thousands of iOS and Android devices around the U.S. Rather than relying on survey results as is typical in the industry, Nielsen is now able to directly measure consumer behavior with its metering software — installed on consumers’ devices with their approval, of course — and report extremely accurate data.
This first report examines Android owners’ usage of apps and the mobile Web, and Nielsen found:
- The time spent using apps is roughly double time spent browsing the mobile Web.
- The top-10 apps in the Android Market account for a whopping 43% of app usage on Android devices.
- The top-50 apps in the Market account for 61% of all usage, which means the overwhelming bulk of Android apps account for just 39% of app usage.
Don Kellogg, Director of Telecom Research & Insights, on Nielsen’s blog writes,
“Despite the hundreds of thousands of apps available for Android, a very small proportion of apps make up the vast majority of time spent. With 250,000+ Android apps available at the time of this writing, that means the remaining 249,950+ apps have to compete for the remaining 39 percent of the pie.”
The average Android user spends almost an hour per day surfing the Web or using mobile Apps.
The Top 50 Android apps by duration make up over 60% of all time spent on mobile Apps.
“There’s an app for that” is Apple’s catch phrase to promote the literally thousands of applications that can be downloaded to an iPhone. Whether you want to check the weather or traffic, bide time playing a game, or study a new language, there is likely a free or paid application that you can access.
While Apple may be best known for mobile apps, BlackBerry, Android and other devices also have a huge range of apps available in their stores, as well as in those operated by mobile service providers. With smartphones expected to overtake feature phones in the U.S. by 2011, the popularity of mobile apps will only grow. To get a better sense of what’s popular and what’s not now, Nielsen recently launched its ‘App Playbook,’ surveying more than 4,200 people who had downloaded an application in the past 30 days.
- 21% of American wireless subscribers have a smartphone at Q4 2009, up from 19% in the previous quarter and significantly higher than the 14% at the end of 2008
- 14% of mobile subscribers have downloaded an app in the last 30 days
- Average number of apps: Smartphone: 22, Feature phone: 10
- BlackBerry: 10
- iPhone: 37
- Android: 22
- Palm: 14
- Windows Mobile: 13
Who is downloading what?
- Games are the most downloaded – both free and paid
- Facebook, Google Maps and Weather Channel are the most popular apps across smartphones
- iPhones: Facebook (58%), iTunes (48%), Google Maps (47%)
- Android: Google Maps (67%), Facebook (50%), Weather Channel (38%)
- Blackberry: Facebook (51%), Google Maps(34%), Weather Channel (28%)
- Social Networking: Facebook clearly favorite app, but MySpace is hugely popular among teens; LinkedIn attracts adults 25-44
- News/weather: Weather Channel was used by 58%; age distribution across sites was similar, save for Time Mobile and Thomson Reuters
- Shopping: Amazon and eBay lead (57% and 41%)
- Search/Map: skew male, particularly Instamapper (80/20)
- Video/Movie: skewed towards males; Imeem and Moviefone show a higher proportion of young users
- Music: iTunes, Pandora, Sirius XM appeal more to males, while Yahoo Music almost evenly split (51/49)
In June 2011, Nielsen also found that Apple iOS users have the most apps,
and use them more frequently than Android OS users.
COMMENTARY: According to Distimo's "Mobile Gaming Trends: Popularity, Pricing and Monetization" for July 2011, there were several major findings:
- The average selling price of games declined by 28% over the last year, while the revenue generated by the most successful freemium games increased tenfold duringthis period in the Apple App Store for iPhone.
- The presence of virtual currencies within games is one of the main reasons behindthe popularity and monetization success of in-app purchases. 35% of the 300 most popular free games in June use some sort of virtual currencies to monetize in theApple App Store for iPhone.
- Looking at the 300 most popular paid for applications, 72% of downloads are generated by games while the remaining 28% of downloads are generated by applications other than games in the Apple App Store for iPhone.
- The total revenue generated by top grossing games increased by 79% year-on-year in the Apple App Store for iPhone.
- A small number of publishers dominate total game downloads: ten publishers account for more than half of all downloads among the 300 most popular paidgames in the Apple App Store for iPhone.
- Notwithstanding the popularity of games, the growth rate of the number of applications other than games is higher than the growth rate of the number of games in most stores. The number of games has increased faster than other appsonly in the Apple App Store for iPhone, the Apple App Store for iPad and GetJar, butthe growth rate for games in other stores is lower than for other applications.