Comscore has released its 2019 “Global State of Mobile” report. This annual look at trends in mobile device usage and behavior has some interesting takeaways.
One bullet point that they’re touting is that nearly 80% of total online minutes in the United States are on mobile. But is that really surprising? People use their mobile devices when they’re travelling, when they’re at restaurants, and even when they’re using other screens. How many times have you checked Facebook on your phone at work, or played a game on your phone to keep your hands busy while you watched Netflix?
It’s no secret that mobile dominates Internet access. Working for a hardware purveyor nearly a decade ago, they were panicking about the pivot to mobile even then. Still, there’s a difference between “nearly every American has a cell phone,” or “users expect mobile access at work,” and “80% of online time is on mobile.” One wonders if this trend will continue, or if this is a plateau.
Speaking of plateaus, people aren’t downloading new apps anymore. Only 33% of people said that they downloaded a new app in June of 2019. That’s down from 49% of respondents saying they downloaded a new app in June of 2017.
That makes sense, in some ways. The Internet feels a lot smaller than it used to. Everyone only goes to like, three websites anymore, anyway. So this advice feels timely. But it also feels like it might be a little out of touch as apps like TikTok gain traction at a regular pace, and people continue to search for a Facebook killer.
But it does have implications for small businesses. There was a window when everyone was scrambling to have their own app. But if people are finally tired of downloading an app for every business they interact with, maybe a strong web presence is enough? Making an app is costly. It means designing things twice over.
It means dealing with accessibility concerns twice instead of once. And if people aren’t feeling it (and maybe never were), it’s worth considering that app development might not be an outright necessity. At the very least, it’s worth collecting some data and making sure you have a business case for one, rather than developing one out of FOMO.
There are some other fun observations, including that women over 55 spend more time in mobile games than any other female age group in the U.S. That said, the study has some limitations. They don’t say what their sample size was unless you download the whitepaper. And knowing how many people were surveyed is important in knowing how seriously to take any statistic. You can check out the whitepaper yourself at Comscore’s website.