Nielsen released the digital edition of its annual “Tops of 2012” report, highlighting the top digital trends of the year, including iPhone apps, based on average unique users.
The report noted that U.S. smartphone penetration grew from 49 percent in Q1 2012 to an all-time high of 56 percent by the end of Q3.
The top iPhone app was iOS’ stock Maps app with an estimated 32.4 million unique users. While this might seem a bit surprising, given the heavy criticism Apple’s Maps have seen, the tracking period (Jan-Oct) would have given little time for the iOS 6 effect to kick-in and greatly impact usage stats. It does, however, reinforce the notion of mapping being a critical component of the modern day smartphone experience.
The other stock iOS apps that featured in the list were Stocks, Weather and YouTube on iOS 5. It’s worth noting though, that YouTube’s usage decreased from last year by 4 percent, while all other apps on the list saw positive growth.
Facebook owned three of the top 10 apps in the list—Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Messenger was in fact the fastest growing app with a 544 percent increase in users from last year.
The other apps in the list were The Weather Channel, Twitter and Pandora Radio.
Here’s the full list:
On the Android front, Google’s stock apps occupied four of the top 10 spots, with the leader being Google’s Search app used by 44 million users. A notable inclusion in the list was a task managing app with nearly 10 million average users.
Nielsen also released smartphone platform market share statistics based on the data it collected in the first three quarters of this year. The findings? Android controls a little more than half of the market, iOS follows with a 35 percent share, and BlackBerry and Windows Phone have a measly single digit share. Sales data just for the past twelve weeks, though, paint an entirely different picture, where, thanks to the healthy demand for the iPhone 5, iOS accounts for more than half of the US smartphones sold.