2012 mobile app usage2012 is turning out to be the “Year of the App,” according to the latest Nielsen research.

The average number of apps per smartphone has jumped 28 percent, from 32 apps to 41 and smartphone owners are spending more time using apps rather than the mobile web — about 10 percent more than last year, Nielsen said.

One in two mobile telecom service subscribers own a smartphone today compared to less than 40% about a year ago, and that percentage continues upwards. Apps continue to drive mobile data demand, as Android and iOS users have more than doubled in the past year, from 38 million to 84 million. They accounted for 88% of those who have downloaded an app in the past 30 days.

Facebook, YouTube, Android Market, Google Search and Gmail continue to rank as the Top 5 Apps. Overall on a per-day basis, users are spending about the same amount of time using them– 37 minutes a day in 2011 as compared to 39 minutes this year so far.

Smartphone owners do have concerns about mobile apps and smartphone services, however. Privacy is among the biggest, with the vast majority (73% in 2012 vs. 70% in 2010) saying they were concerned about personal data collection. Some 55% said they were wary of sharing information about their location via smartphone apps.

Image courtesy of flickr user Sean MacEntee.