Apple's Safari most-used smartphone browser, but apps dominate mobile Web

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Smartphone owners are nearly seven times as likely to choose native apps over mobile Web apps, new data shows. But when mobile users do turn to the Web, a majority use Apple's Safari browser.

Of the 2 hours and 42 minutes that consumers in the U.S. spend on their smartphones every day, 86 percent — all but 23 minutes - is spent in third-party apps, according to mobile analytics and advertising firm Flurry. Nearly one-third, or 32 percent, of that time can be chalked up to gaming, with social media and messaging following closely behind at 28 percent.

"The data tells a clear story that apps, which were considered a mere fad a few years ago, are completely dominating mobile, and the browser has become a single application swimming in a sea of apps," the company said.

Users spend just 14 percent of their time using web browsers, with Apple's Safari responsible for 50 percent of that total. Another 35 percent went to Google, with the rest booked by "others." There was no word on how much of that time was spent using web-based applications versus general web surfing, however.

Safari's win came despite the inclusion of both Android and iOS devices in the study, though it is not the first time that mobile web engagement has been shown to be significantly higher on iOS devices. Apple's iPhone and iPad accounted for 80 percent of mobile sales during last year's Black Friday period, for instance.

Facebook and YouTube were the most-used third-party apps at 17 percent and 4 percent, respectively.