Here's How Much Time You're Spending in Apps Every Month (Hint: It's More Than You Think)

By Markets Fool.com

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We all know we spend a lot of time with our phones in our hands, but just how much time actually accrues when snagging a quick glance at Facebook, updating Twitter, or reading that hilarious article on The Onion?

The answer is probably higher than you think. According to a new Nielsen report, smartphone users spend about 37 hours and 28 minutes using apps on their phone every single month. Nielsen pulled data from about 5,000 Android and iOS smartphone users, aged 18 and older, to get those numbers.


Source: Nielsen.

But what's even more interesting (or troubling) than the amount of hours we spend staring at apps, is how quickly the time has increased. In the fourth quarter of 2012 the average amount of time spent in apps was 23 hours and two minutes. That means that over the past two years our time spent in smartphone apps has increased about 63% (yikes!).

So what are we looking at?

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Here we are now, entertain us
Unsurprisingly, entertainment tops the list of categories that smartphone users spend the majority of their time in. That includes everything from weather apps to sports apps, but Nielsen says most of the usage comes from playing games, followed by listening to music apps.

Here's a breakdown of where we're spending most of our time:


Source: Nielsen.

Last quarter, about 76% of entertainment app users -- a total of 115 million -- played at least one game in the past month. Nielsen said the entertainment category has seen a 13% increase in the amount of unique users year-over-year, while time spent in entertainment apps has spiked 26% over the same period.

How many apps do you have?
Despite the spike in usage, the amount of apps we all have has actually stayed relatively flat. From late 2012 to 2014 the average number of apps smartphone users tapped each month was about 26.7.

Nielsen also separated out the amount of apps men use versus women, finding that women use on average one less app over the course of a month, but spend an hour more than men in their apps.

Here's who benefiting from all this
As you can imagine, all of this app usage translates into some very big revenues for Apple and Google, as well as for top developers.

Apple said earlier this week that, since its launch, users have downloaded 100 billion apps from its App Store, and that the company has paid out $30 billion to developers from sales -- $10 billion of which came in 2014 alone. Of course, not all app developers are getting a big piece of that pie. Nielsen says that over 70% of app usage comes from the top 200 apps, which means developers creating the most popular apps are making the most money (surprise!).

And when it comes to Google and Apple's shares of the revenue, the iPhone maker consistently comes out ahead. According to App Annie, while Google Play leads in app downloads, Apple's worldwide apprevenue in Q1 2015 was about 70% higher than Google's.

If the growing trend of app usage is any indicator, the near future looks bright for Apple, Google, anddevelopers, especially with smartwatch shipments expected to increase by 41% over the next five years, which will give most of us yet another avenue for spending more time in apps.

The article Here's How Much Time You're Spending in Apps Every Month (Hint: It's More Than You Think) originally appeared on Fool.com.

Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Facebook, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Facebook, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), and Twitter. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.