Mobile Browser More Popular Than Apps, Survey Reveals

Businesses putting all their mobile eggs in the app basket might want to reconsider, according to new research.

A survey from CEM4Mobile found that most of the wireless device users are still using their mobile browser to access the mobile Internet — and not a specially designed app.

According to the survey, businesses that had both an app and a website found that just 10 percent of users visited them via the app, compared to 90 percent on their mobile browser.

Additionally, the research showed more than 65 percent of the total number of impressions came from the mobile browser, versus just 34 percent from a mobile app.

Janne Aalto, CEM4Mobile Solution's managing director, said businesses should not lose sight of the fact that most wireless device users still are using a basic browser to access the mobile Internet.

"Native applications and app stores provide great platforms for niche players, but when you want to attract the diverse mobile market and all your potential users, you need to support both," Aalto said in a prepared release. "First, by providing a browsing service for all users; then, turning your casual customers into active, loyal and advocate customers with applications."

But while mobile-friendly websites attract the most visitors, the research also revealed that an app is more likely to have repeat customers.

According to the study, mobile-browsing users return to mobile websites an average of five times in a month; app users, meanwhile, return more than 11 times.

App users also spend more time on their apps than the browser.  According to the survey, mobile device users will spend between about five and five-and-a-half minutes on an app, compared with just over three minutes on a mobile browser.

"Competition of desktop space and users' time on wireless devices is already fierce, and thus just steadily publishing new applications is producing a temporary source of loyalty for content publishers and distributors," Aalto said.

The study was conducted using a sample of more than 56 million mobile impressions from mobile services where both applications and browsing-based access were supported.