Smartphone apps now account for 50% of digital online time in the US, finds new research.

The percentage of online time spent using smartphone apps has increased from 41% in 2014. But 7% of US online traffic also comes from web traffic using a smartphone, finds the research produced by comScore.

Tablet apps account for 9% of traffic, while web browsers from tablets account for 2%. The percentage of online time in the US taken up by PC users stands at 32%.

comScore said that smartphone apps are likely to extend their 50% share, and although PCs and tablets maintain critical roles, it is important that "advertisers and publishers understand the outsized influence that smartphone apps have and will continue to have and that they plan their digital strategies with this in mind."

There are further implications.

In the long run this trend has to have a detrimental effect on Google, and if it continues in the US but also applies outside of Europe, then Google's influence will surely be dented.

This may in turn return some control to publishers, making it less common for users to flip from editorial in one publication to another; while the editor may regain some influence over how we view editorial and how it is prioritised, over the algorithm applying data from user activity to prioritise stories.

On the other hand, some users now have so many apps that we may well find there is a growing need for search engines to search for content in our apps.