A study by app store analytics company Distimo has found that social networking app downloads have grown much faster than any other category in the last two years.
Although Facebook has played a big part in this trend, the study revealed that two other social media apps, Instagram and Twitter, are making inroads.
Social apps downloads on the iPhone in the United States were found to have surged 193 per cent in the July 2010 to July 2012 period, compared to 43 per cent for the overall top 100 most popular apps.
Distimo's broad definition of social apps includes communication, media and location-based services, such as text messaging and video calling apps Viber and Skype.
A new order
The report found that Facebook was the dominant free social networking app across 20 of the world's largest markets, which correlates well with its own figures of almost 550million active mobile users.
However the study also showed that Instagram has moved up quickly to become the second-most popular free social app.
“Instagram could have potentially harmed Facebook's position, which might indicate why Facebook acquired Instagram,” the report concludes.
In July 2012, Instagram was downloaded more times than Facebook in seven of the top 10 markets, all North American or European countries, however the opposite occurred in Japan, China and South Korea.
Competition in Asia
While Facebook remains the top social app overall in Asia, it's no longer the most downloaded in many individual Asian nations.
Line was the top social app in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, while WeChat lead the pack in China and Hong Kong in the last 12 months.
In the same period, KakaoTalk was number one in South Korea and Facebook was supplanted by Viber as the top app in Spain and Australia.
Archives of Distimo's reports are available here.