A new investigation of mobile behavior shows a growing problem that developers encounter, says Anna Uhanaeva. Today consumers spend more than 85% of their time in smartphones on native apps, but most of the time they spend on only 5 apps.

The 5 apps vary: for some — social networks or games, for others — messengers.

Nielsen investigation proves the data. They found out that there’s an upper limit to an app quantity that people use every month. A new investigation by Forrester Research studies where users spend most of their time. Nielsen report says that consumers use 26-27 apps in a month.

2,000 smartphone owners were engaged in the Forrester Research investigation in the USA in order to define how people are involved in apps. According to the results, 21% of time people spend on communication and social apps.

The trend also means that a small share of companies dominate now in app using. Facebook, for example, consumes 13% of time for apps in the USA, then goes Google with 12%. Other famous technological companies also get many users: Amazon (3%), Apple (3%), Yahoo (2%), Microsoft (1%) and eBay (1%).

Social networks as a category take 14% of smartphone usage time (more than 25 minutes a day). Facebook is the leader, it has 1.25 billion active users per month.

Users from the USA spend 4.8% of time on messengers like WhatsApp but globally the numbers are bigger. Apps like WeChat, KakaoTalk, Line see users 50-200 minutes a week. However, in the USA native apps for sending messages are more popular than installed messengers and take 8% of time spent with smartphones.

Media is another popular app category: weather, news and sports take 3% of usage time. News is the leader — 11 minutes 51 seconds a day. Smartphone owners are interested in and use news apps actively which may be the reason for the fact that Apple has decided to launch “News” app (it will be pre-installed on iOS 9).

Games and music take 6% of user time and streaming video  — 9%. YouTube is the most popular app with 43%. Books and magazines have got 2% of smartphone usage time which is fair if we take into consideration their long formats. Other categories as Shopping (5%), Maps/Navigation (6%), Mail (not native one, 4%), Productivity (3%) are also popular.

On the basis of the data and other discoveries, Forrester suggests companies to develop their apps for the best and most loyal users. Because only such people will download them, set up and use them constantly. For example, many retailers say that sales in mobile web outrun in-app sales. At the same time, if we don’t speak about big players, many customers would rather use a mobile website than a native app.