Report: Smartphone owners are using 9 apps per day, 30 per month

Smartphone users are spending more time in apps than in years past, and now access over 30 apps on a monthly basis, according to a new report from App Annie out this week. These 30 apps work out to being roughly one-third to one-half of the apps users have installed on their smartphones. And using those apps is a daily habit, as people now launch an average of at least 9 apps per day, the report found.

The countries leading this app usage on a monthly basis include India, Brazil, China, South Korea, the U.S., France, the U.K., Japan, and Mexico. (see below)

iPhone users tended to use slightly more apps than Android users, the report also noted, but Android users used over 30 percent more games.

At first, news that users are accessing nearly 10 apps daily sounds like a notable increase from a report from a couple of years ago, which had painted a different picture of app usage. According to a Forrester Research study from 2015, the majority of users’ time was spent using just five non-native apps they’ve installed from the App Store. (By non-native, they mean the apps that didn’t ship with your phone, like Email, Calendar, Messaging, etc.)

However, Forrester was excluding pre-installed apps from its analysis, while App Annie is not. In fact, it said that utilities on iPhone and tools on Android accounted for the heaviest monthly usage, and this was largely due to pre-installed apps like Safari on iOS and Google on Android.

In other words, it’s likely that when you remove the pre-installed apps from App Annie’s measurements, you’d come up with around the same number of apps being used as Forrester had.

In addition, App Annie’s new numbers back up a prior Nielsen report which claimed there was an upper limit as to how many apps consumers can manage on a monthly basis. Also back in 2015, Nielsen said the consumers used 26 to 27 apps per month. App Annie is noting that trend largely continues, with an average of 30 apps being used monthly.

This trend also has a name, by the way – it’s the 30:10 rule (meaning roughly 30 apps per month, 10 per day).

Beyond utilities and tools, the other popular app categories by usage included social networking (iOS), communication (Android), productivity (iOS & Android) and social (Android). Dating and productivity apps were launched the most, with the highest number of sessions per day at four.

Time spent in apps has also increased over the past two years, App Annie noted. Today, users in the U.S. spend an average of over 2 hours and 15 minutes in apps every day, which amounts to over one month out of the year. In South Korea, Brazil, Mexico and Japan, that number is even higher, with users averaging around 3 hours daily.

In Brazil and Mexico, half user time was in social and communication apps categories, while in South Korea and Japan, games accounted for 25 percent of usage.

Also of note is that in most countries analyzed, over 80 percent of app usage was taking place in apps that were outside of the top app in that country – meaning even though apps like WhatsApp and Facebook dominate, there’s still user time to go around, says App Annie.