The time spent using mobile has hit 5 hours each day for the average U.S. consumer, according to the latest market data from Yahoo’s mobile analytics specialist company Flurry. That’s 20 percent higher than it was in 4Q 2015.

In parallel with rising time spent using mobile devices is a decline in Web browser-based mobile device usage, which has fallen to just 8 percent of time spent, down from 9 percent in 4Q 2015.

In contrast, mobile apps continue “to reign supreme,” Flurry SVP Simon Khalaf and Analytics Manager Lali Kesiraju highlight in a company blog post. SnapChat, for instance, recently announced that users of the mobile app spend an average 25-30 minutes per day using it.

In addition, YouTube recently announced that users spend one billion hours a day watching videos and launched an OTT skinny bundle service, Khalaf and Kesiraju point out.

From a broad-base perspective, total time spent using mobile apps soared 69 percent year-to-year, according to Flurry’s latest “State of Mobile” report, which was released in February.

Time Spent Using Mobile
Digging deeper, Flurry found that 50 percent of the total time users spend is devoted to social, messaging, media and entertainment apps – a usage pattern that Flurry has dubbed “communitainment” – communication for the sole purpose of entertainment.

All told, “communitainment” makes up 2 percent of the time the average U.S. consumer spends using a mobile device each day, according to Flurry.

Besides Snapchat’s extraordinary usage growth, Facebook mobile apps, which now include Facebook live and Instagram Stories as well as Instagram proper and Whatsapp, is holding on to its dominant position as the market leader, Khalaf and Kesiraju note. YouTube held on for a 3 percent share of the “communitainment” market segment.

Independent entertainment apps lost market share despite a 12 percent rise in time spent, the result of the ongoing migration of content to YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat, sports and finance content being exceptions.

Gaming’s share of “communitainment” continued to decline as well, falling for the second year in a row despite rising investment inflows.

Mobile shopping apps, in contrast, show strong growth as mobile device users are increasingly willing to spend money on apps and as mobile payments apps, such as Apple Pay and Android Pay, streamline the online shopping process.

Premium online video publishers continue to diversify and shift in parallel with shifting usage patterns. That entailed migrating mobile video to social apps, such as “FYIS” – Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Khalaf and Kesiraju highlight. That has reached the stage where the line distinguishing premium from user-generated content (UGC) has been blurred completely.

The addition of AI-powered content suggestions and recommendations is supporting the trend. The enhanced personalization capabilities AI functionality provides has led to dramatic increases in time spent on these apps, researchers add.

Turning to revenue sources, mobile content publishers and app providers continue to go after advertisers’ dollars — particularly cable advertisers, according to Khalaf and Kesiraju.

The launch of YouTube’s personalized OTT “skinny bundle” service, Hulu’s planned OTT service and offerings from Sling TV and DirecTV offer clear evidence that the trend is gaining traction, they note.

Concluding their blog post, the Flurry blog authors highlighted the recent spike in Snapchat’s share price, which given the number of shares in investors’ hands valued the company at some $34 billion.That’s roughly 9 percent of Facebook’s valuation, and Snapchat’s share of time spent is about 10 percent that of Facebook’s. According to Khalaf and Kesiraju: “This proves that the ultimate currency is not Gold, not the U.S. dollar, not the Euro, not bitcoin, nor anything we can invent. The ultimate currency is time and that time is spent on mobile.”

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