Research by analytics firm Flurry revealed that consumers had spent more time on their smartphones in 2012 than in the previous year, spending on average two hours per day using mobile apps.
Segments such as social networking, games, photo editing, media and entertainment continued to see increased interest, with YouTube being the top free app and Angry Birds the top paid app on Apple’s apps store.
Craig Palli, the vice president of Fiksu, a mobile marketing company, said the biggest shift seen was in consumers’ eagerness to use apps for a broad range of routine tasks
"2012 was a transformative tipping point in the way consumers use apps, it is really consumers who are turning to apps first and traditional methods second," he added.
New apps that joined the category of the most downloaded and earning highest gross incomes included the gaming apps for both Android and iPhone, which remained the second most downloaded apps of 2012 despite demand slowing down later in the year.
Other debuting apps that registered success in 2012 include ScrabbleWithFriends, LetterPress and Songza, a music discovery app for the iPad, Android and KindleFire.
Among the top earners according to Distimo, also an analytic company, was Paper, a sketchbook app for iPad.
Apps that helped in day-to-day tasks like finding places and making payments generally performed well.
Others that saw increased interests were those positioned towards major events of the year such as the Olympics, the US elections and disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.