NEW YORK: Application downloads on smartphones and tablets reached a record high during the Christmas holiday period, and are likely to further expand in 2012, new figures show.

Flurry, the analytics company, tracked data covering 140,000 apps running on smartphones and tablets from 25–31 December 2011, which it argued has become a "power week" for application developers.

It stated that 1.2bn such tools were downloaded overall, the first time the 1bn benchmark has been crossed in a single week.

This beat the total of 857m applications installed from 18–24 December, and the seven-day average of 750m secured from 4–17 December.

One of contributor to this process was that an estimated 6.8m devices utilising Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating system were activated on Christmas Day, when 242m apps were downloaded.

"Looking forward to 2012, Flurry expects breaking the 1bn per week download barrier will become more commonplace," Peter Farago, Flurry's VP, marketing, said. "While iOS and Android growth continues to amaze, the market is still by all measures relatively nascent."

Flurry suggested that more than 20m gadgets powered by Android and iOS went live in the period between 25 and 31 December 2011.

The US yielded 502m downloads, ahead of China on 99m and the UK on 81m. Canada followed some way back on 41m, as Germany and France both logged 40m.

South Korea was on 34m, topping Australia's 28m and Italy's 25m. Elsewhere, Japan and Spain registered scores of 20m apiece.

Among the fast-growth economies, which are particularly attractive for telecoms brands, Mexico posted 17m downloads, bettering Russia's 15m, Brazil's 13m, India's 10m and Malaysia's 9m.

Flurry reported that there were 246m iOS and Android devices in circulation immediately prior to the holiday season. The US delivered 41% of this amount, or 109m apps.

China has a user base roughly one third of the size of the US but saw just 20% of the number of downloads, largely as Christmas is far more widely-celebrated in America, as is the case for other Western markets like the UK.

Data sourced from Flurry/Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff