Social apps have grown at a rate that exceeds every other app category, according to a new report from app analytics firm Distimo.
In the past two years the download volume among the top 100 most popular applications in the Apple App Store for iPhone in the U.S. surged by 43 percent, however, the volume among the top 100 most popular social applications was 193 percent higher in July 2012 than it was in July 2010.
The report notes that while the use of voice calling dwindled, “social activities” are still at the core of every smartphone. Amongst other things: texting, media and location-based services (LBS) are the most-used services on smartphones.
Globally, there are large differences in the appetite for social applications per country. The United States is the most social savvy as the download volume in the social category is 20 percent of that of the Top Overall apps. Users in Europe and South East Asia are the least social-minded on mobile. In most of the countries in those regions this percentage does not exceed 10 percent.
The most popular mobile social network aggregated across all countries over the last two year was Facebook. However, in many mainly Asian countries, Facebook was not the most popular anymore from July 2011 – June 2012. Applications like LINE, WeChat and Viber took over the leading position of Facebook.
Distimo’s research includes apps like photo-sharing service Instagram in the social category. Instagram became the second most popular social app on iPhone within one year (between July 2011 – June 2012) aggregated over the 20 largest countries. Distimo notes that Instagram could have potentially harmed Facebook’s dominant position, which might indicate why Facebook acquired Instagram.
Facebook’s dominance could be going south along with its stock. The service could be reaching a point of saturation. Among 10 of the largest markets in July 2012, Facebook clearly was not the largest social network application in terms of downloads anymore. Instagram gathered much more downloads in July 2012, but also applications like Twitter, Skype and Whatsapp were more dominant.