When it comes to apps, consumers have shorter attention spans

Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:01pm EDT
 
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By Natasha Baker

TORONTO (Reuters) - Consumers are using apps for shorter bursts of time and opting to "snack" on content more frequently, according to newly released data.

A record 70 billion smartphone and tablet apps are expected to be downloaded globally this year, according to market research firm ABI Research. But consumers' attention spans for apps are dropping.

"People are spending overall a fairly decent amount of time in the app, but it's small intervals of time repeated more frequently," said Raj Aggarwal, chief executive of Boston-based web analytics company Localytics, which conducted the study.

The study looked at how consumers used over 500 news apps across 100 million iPhone, Android and Windows smartphones between July 2012 and July 2013.

It found that consumers spent on average 26 percent less time interacting with the apps during each session, but that they opened the apps 39 percent more often, for an average 25 times a month, up sharply from 18 times the previous year.

"The whole goal of mobile is to get people the information they need as quickly as possible," said Aggarwal, who said shorter, more frequent sessions with apps were a sign of their increasing integration into consumers' daily lives.

"They're more engaged with the device, and not just using it as a way to kill time," he said.

Apps are also leveraging context - such as a user's location, or the current weather in their area - to pull users back into the app more frequently with information that is relevant to where they are and what they are doing.   Continued...

 
Men are silhouetted against a video screen as they pose with Samsung Galaxy S3, Nokia Lumia 820 and iPhone 4 smartphones (L-R) in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic