Smartphone App Usage Jumped 20 Minutes per Day per User Over Last Year

Smartphone App Usage Jumped 20 Minutes per Day per User Over Last Year

The coronavirus lockdown has everyone staring at their screens more often.

The coronavirus and the ensuing lockdowns and other social distancing measures have led to all sorts of changes in entertainment consumption and purchases, from a massive rise in streaming to the resurgence of formerly dormant product categories such as webcams. 

Another change? People are spending a lot more time on their smartphones than they used to. 

According to numbers put out this week by research firm Strategy Analytics in a report called “U.S. App Quarterly Brief –Q2 2020”, the average phone app usage in the United States in the second quarter jumped six hours per month for the average consumer, which works out to 20 minutes per day. 

The most-used app, with over 1,000 minutes spent per month, was Facebook, followed by Google Chrome, YouTube, TikTok, WhatsApp, the Samsung Internet Browser, Instagram and Reddit. 

Games remained the most popular category for monthly smartphone minutes, but no individual game cracked the top ten apps listed. But the largest gainer, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the Business & Finance category, as users have greatly increased the amount of time spent on Zoom calls and other work-related apps. 

The data was collected from Strategy Analytics’ AppOptix U.S. research platform, from a panel of U.S. mobile users who opted in to participate. 

“Our data illustrates on an on-going basis how smartphone behaviors are clearly shifting as users observe stay-at-home orders and adapt to new norms as a consequence of COVID-19,” Nitesh Patel, Director, Strategy Analytics, said as part of the release. “This includes strong declines in the use of apps in the transport category, where engagement declined 44% year-on-year, the travel and location app category which fell almost 35%, and a 68% rise in the business and finance category, which includes video conferencing apps like Zoom.” 

Strategy Analytics reported that in the first quarter, smartphone sales plunged by double digits from the same period the year before, as the coronavirus crisis took hold. Such sales in the United States, per Counterpoint Research, fell 21 percent from the first quarter the year before. 

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

 Image: Reuters