Smartphone Users Spend 7X More Time On Apps Than On Mobile Sites

Smartphone users spend more than 7X more time in native apps than on mobile browsers, and they tend to access them 13X more often, according to a survey from App Annie. This sends a clear message to retailers — if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to optimize your mobile app.

Consumers are flocking to these apps at a rapid rate. Time spent in mobile apps has nearly doubled over the past two years, with consumers spending two hours a day in apps on average. In 2021, users are anticipated to spend more than 3 trillion hours in apps globally, doubling the approximately 1.5 trillion hours spent in 2016.

Emphasize The User Experience Above All Else

More than half (59%) of businesses say a user-friendly experience is the biggest factor in retaining mobile app users. This far exceeds any other factor, including:


  • Value-added features (35%);

  • Targeted relevant content (29%);

  • Strong customer service (20%); and

  • User community (19%).

Developers will want to balance creating the best possible in-app experience with using these other factors to cement or incrementally improve retention.

Luckily for consumers, marketers appear to be listening to their concerns. As many as 63% of respondents expect their app marketing budgets to increase, with 23% expecting them to do so by “a lot.” Retail marketers, in particular, have some of the highest expectations of any industry surveyed, with more than 70% of respondents expecting budgets to increase.

Customer Acquisition Leads Mobile Marketing Goals

When it comes to marketing goals, businesses primarily seek to acquire new users (80%). Additionally, these marketers also want to:

  • Retain or re-engage current users (61%);

  • Drive new revenue streams (60%);

  • Improve customer engagement (51%); and

  • Improve branding awareness/perception (44%).

There’s no clear leader among techniques for driving user engagement through mobile, whether they are aimed at a current or newly acquired user. Social sharing and push notifications were the most popular strategies for driving user engagement, at just under 20% of respondents each. But 20% of businesses say they don’t use the engagement strategies listed in the poll, with another 14% saying they don’t even know what their biggest user engagement drivers are.

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