apps2_commons_Sean MacEnteeDevelopment and use of mobile apps has been skyrocketing as greater numbers of mobile device users take advantage of an ever greater variety of apps and features. The number of apps users make use of in any given month may have reached a plateau even as app developers face greater challenges in finding ways to make their apps stand out in the crowd, however, according to new Nielsen research results.

The number of apps being used by mobile device owners in the U.S. is staying the same even as the variety of apps continues to grow, Nielsen points out in a company newswire post.  Smartphone app users on average accessed nearly 27 (26.7) apps a month in 2015’s fourth quarter. That number has stayed essentially the same for two years running, Nielsen says.

In addition, the top 200 apps account for over 70 percent of total usage. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it seems that there is a threshold when it comes to the number of apps any one user is willing or able to make use of in any given month, Nielsen continues.

Average App Usage: Time Spent is Up
That said, app users are spending a lot more time using them. The amount of time users spend with apps rose from 23 hours, 2 minutes in 4Q 2012 to 37 hours, 28 minutes in 4Q 2014, a 63 percent increase over the two-year period, according to Nielsen.

Average App Usage
Source: The Nielsen Company

App Usage Demographics
In its latest study, Nielsen researchers also found that on average monthly app usage is slightly higher among women than it is among men. While women spend an average 38 hours, 2 minutes a month engaged with apps, men spend 36 hours, 51 minutes.

Analyzing app usage among ethnic and racial groups, Nielsen found that African-Americans not only use more apps (an average 30.3) than Hispanics (27.9) or Asian-Americans, they spend more time using them. African-Americans spend an average of nearly 43 hours per month using mobile apps, Hispanics 41 hours, 31 minutes and Asian-Americans 37 hours, 14 minutes. White, non-Hispanic Americans spend an average 35 hours, 25 minutes per month engaged with apps.

Entertainment Apps
Why are apps so popular? Nielsen concludes that the emergence of entertainment apps is a contributing factor. Use of entertainment apps increased 13 percent year-over-year (YoY) in 4Q’14.

Included in the entertainment app category are information services, such as weather and sports news apps. Gaming is the greatest attraction, however. Over three-quarters (76 percent) of an estimated 115 million entertainment app users played at least one game in 4Q’14, according to Nielsen. Time spent using gaming apps increased by 1 hour, 35 minutes per month to 10 hours. 2 minutes.

Music ranked second among entertainment apps, increasing 13 percent YoY among users. Video/movie apps increased to nearly 104 million users and 1 hour, 44 minutes spent per month.

Image courtesy of flickr user Sean MacEntee.

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