The time users spend in apps overall has increased 21% from 2013 to 2014. How can app developers best take advantage of this trend?

According to Localytics’ recent [tweetable alt=”Time spent using #apps increased 21% from August 2013-2014, says @Localytics” hashtag=””]data analyzing mobile app usage, time spent using apps has increased 21% from August 2013 to August 2014. But findings also show that the average time spent on one app session has remained the same at 5.7 minutes.[/tweetable] How can this increase be explained?

In terms of app usage, the greatest difference between this year and last year–and the one to which we can attribute the 21% increase–is the number of times users open an app. [tweetable alt=”In 2013, #apps were opened an average of 9.4 times per month,this year, it was 11.5 times, says @Localytics” hashtag=””]In 2013, apps were opened an average of 9.4 times per month, whereas this year, they are being opened at an average of 11.5 times each month.[/tweetable]

As we can see in the above chart comparing the number of times an app is opened with how much time is spent using it per session, the category of the app is important to the variability in numbers. Certain apps, such as music or entertainment, are opened fairly frequently. The sessions also tend to last longer, averaging at around 8 or 9 minutes each.

Other types of apps are opened frequently and used for a shorter amount of time, a practice that in the app development industry is referred to as “snacking.” Though research shows that people are downloading far fewer apps than previously, one important lesson to remember is that people are now spending more time with the apps they have already downloaded.

Yet Another Shift In the Mobile App Ecosystem

With this data comes yet another shift in the ever-changing mobile app world. Now that consumers have settled into their preferred-app comfort zone and are no longer so eager to download new apps as they are released, it is up to developers to shift their target audience accordingly.

Another Localytics study shows that the time spent using apps is “34% greater on large screen devices overall.” Developers ought to take such statistics into consideration, as this piece of data represents a significant increase even in the app development industry, where dramatic changes are more or less customary.

What’s Next?

Martin Voltri/Flickr

Martin Voltri/Flickr

With app time increasing, new app downloads decreasing, and app usage time especially high on large-screened devices, it seems only natural to make changes that accommodate these trends.

As a Forbes contributor points out in response to this new data, the “increasing reliance on in-app revenue streams over the traditional pay-as-you-download” makes it more important than ever to capitalize on the extended period of time a user spends per session. The longer the session is, the greater the revenue.

It may be time for developers to hit the brakes on the develop-at-hyper-speed tactic and begin to adapt a “quality over quantity” perspective.

Since both Android and Apple have been steadily increasing the size of their screens with each new model, and since larger screens coincide with longer app sessions, it would be in developers’ best interests to optimize a user’s experience while using their app on a larger screened device.

As has been the case in the young industry of app development, this year sees yet another dramatic change. The key to being a good developer is to adapt accordingly. Want to be part of the surge in app useage? Start making your own app today with Infinite Monkeys.