Analytics firm Flurry said that in terms of average minutes of use, mobile apps are gaining ground over web browsing, having taken the lead in the middle of last year.

According to the company, the average app consumption of a US smartphone user is 94 minutes per day, compared with 72 minutes of web browsing – including both desktop and mobile use.  This compares with 81 minutes and 74 minutes, respectively, in June 2011 – indicating not only that mobile apps are gaining ground, but that web browsing is also becoming less popular.

Flurry said that users appear to be switching to apps from browsers to access information, which may be the more convenient option through the day.

It was noted that part of the drop in popularity of the web comes from a decrease in the amount of time spent using Facebook, from more than 33 minutes to below 24 minutes – in contrast, Facebook’s presence in apps is going from strength to strength. Without this, web use saw “modest” growth of 2 percent between June 2011 and December 2011.

While app use is extending its lead over the browser, the pace at which app consumption is growing is starting to slow-up, from a 23 percent increase between December 2010 and June 2011 to “a little over 15 percent” from June 2011 to December 2011. The growth is predominantly from an increase in the number of sessions, rather than a shift toward longer sessions – consumers are using apps more frequently.

Flurry said that assess apps use, it takes data from its own network (which it estimates accounts for one-third of app use daily), and scales this up. Its browsing figures are based on publically available data from comScore and Alexa.

Games and social networking dominate
Flurry also said that games and social networking apps “capture the significant majority of consumers’ time,” accounting for 79 percent of total usage. It was noted that considering Flurry does not track Facebook usage, the social networking category, which is second after games, is actually larger than the statistics indicate.

Looking at usage data, consumers use apps from these categories, and for longer average session lengths, than other types of apps.