The av­er­age Amer­i­can with a smart­phone uses 27 apps per month.

The Washington Post Sunday - - BUSINESS - BY HAY­LEY TSUKAYAMA hay­ley.tsukayama@wash­post.com

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.

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