The results from the Nielsen survey also appear to be encouraging for mobile commerce sites, as a quarter of UK respondents (26%) said that they had used their device for shopping in the past 30 days.

An Adobe survey found similar results, with 20% of smartphone owners saying they use their device for shopping. This compares to 30% of respondents in the US, and 43% in both China and South Korea.

Nielsen’s report also found that the use of barcode or QR code scanners appears to be increasing in popularity, with 18% of UK respondents using the technology, compared to 24% in the US and 38% in South Korea.

A comScore survey published last year found that 11% of UK smartphone owners scanned a QR code in Q2 2012, but while 18% obviously represents an increase on that figure it needs to be taken into account that the Nielsen survey includes barcode scanners as well as QR codes.

Looking at the kind of apps that people use, social networks and games tend to be the most popular across the board.

Among UK users, the most popular apps are social networks (58%), followed by games (54%) and maps/navigations (45%). However just a quarter (28%) of respondents use shopping or retail apps.

Interestingly, apps seem to be far more popular among US respondents than those from any other nation.

For example, 85% of US respondents use social networking apps, with the next closest country being Brazil with 67%.

Similarly, maps/navigation apps are used by 84% of US owners compared to 63% of Chinese, and in the US 74% of respondents said they use productivity apps with the next closest nation being Russia with 53% then China on 40%.

Nielsen’s survey shows that 97% of the UK population owns a mobile phone, with smartphone ownership now at 61%.

This means the UK is among the countries with the highest smartphone penetration rate, though it slightly trails South Korea (67%), China (66%), Australia (65%) and Italy (62%).

Nielsen’s 2013 Mobile Consumer Report pulls together findings from surveys, custom and syndicated research conducted around the world in 2012. Data collection methodologies and geographic representations vary by country, but were generally carried out among sample sizes of more than 1,000 people.