The average American with a smartphone uses 27 apps per month.
The average American with a smartphone uses about 27 apps per month, according to new data released by Nielsen. And perhaps surprisingly, given the constant proliferation of apps, that number has stayed generally flat for the past two years.
We are, however, spending more time with them. On average, users spent 37 hours and 28 minutes on apps per month last quarter, up from 30 hours and 15 minutes in the previous quarter.
So if adding more and more apps to our smartphones is not what’s driving the increase in time, what is?
Nielsen dug into its data and found that entertainment apps such as games, music and video seem to be the main culprits for the uptick. Overall, smartphone users reported a 26 percent increase in the time they spend on their phones for fun, for an average of 13 hours and 20 minutes per month.
Nielsen also found that the number of entertainment app users grew by 13 million during the past year, signaling the genre’s popularity among both old and new smartphone owners.
Gaming, in particular, was the fastest-growing app category within entertainment. More than three-quarters of entertainment app users said they played at least one game in the last quarter of 2014.
The study also found some interesting correlations between app use and gender. Men, for example, tend to use slightly more apps than women do, while women tend to spend about an hour more on them overall each month.
There was also a link between race and app use. On average, African Americans tend to use the most apps (30.3) and also spend the most time on them (nearly 43 hours). Hispanic people use fewer apps but spend nearly as much time. Asian Americans use fewer still and spend less time. And white smartphone users have the lowest numbers in both respects.
Those results fall in line with other studies on minority technology use. For example, the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life project reported last year that young African Americans are far more likely to use social media than their white peers.
To get its numbers, Nielsen surveyed 5,000 adult smartphone users who agreed to download its monitoring software on iOS and Android devices.
Last year, 13 million more people started using entertainment apps on their phone.