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Americans spent a third of waking hours on mobile devices in 2021, report finds


The average American spent 4.1 hours a day on mobile devices in 2021, according to a new report from App Annie.


Jaap Arriens/Getty Images

With pandemic lockdowns worldwide last year, we all had plenty of time to play with our favorite handheld devices. In the top 10 markets, the average time spent on mobile devices was 4.8 hours a day in 2021, according to mobile-analytics firm App Annie, an increase of 30% from 2019.

Consumer spending on mobile games grew to $27.3 billion in the US last year, according to the firm’s State of Mobile 2022 report, released Wednesday. That’s up from less than $6 billion in 2020. And while most of the world put the brakes on IRL socializing, spending on dating apps soared past $4.2 billion worldwide — a 52% increase from pre-pandemic 2019. 

Fueled by the explosive growth of TikTok, seven out of every 10 minutes on a mobile device was spent on a social media or photo/video app, according to the report. In all, consumers logged a record 3.8 trillion hours on their mobiles in 2021 and downloaded some 230 billion apps, spending $170 billion (an increase of nearly 20% from the year prior).

App Annie CEO Theodore Krantz called smartphones, tablets and other handhelds “the go-to device[s] of the future.” The average American spent 4.1 hours a day on mobile devices in 2021, for example, but watched only 3.1 hours of TV.

“The big screen is slowly dying as mobile continues to break records in virtually every category — time spent, downloads and revenue,” Krantz said in a statement.



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