New data shows that the use of commerce and banking apps is growing faster among UK Android users than the use of gaming apps, however Google and Facebook still dominate the market.

According to stats from Nielsen, seven of the 15 major apps experiencing the fastest growing usage among Android users are commerce apps from the likes of Tesco, Amazon and Quidco.

But Nielsen’s definition includes apps used to buy digital products, general retail products, and experiences through social commerce.

If you look at shopping apps from retailers, only Tesco and Asda are represented in this list.

We’ve previously looked at whether retail apps deliver a decent user experience on Android by investigating store finder functions and Debenhams’ use of push alerts to notify users of sale and discounts.

Nielsen’s data shows that between May and October 2012 the Tesco app reached 145% more users and those users spent 45% more time engaging with it. This comes off the back of some high profile mobile trials from Tesco, including virtual store fronts on a South Korean subway and at Gatwick airport.

Of the other eight apps, two are from banks and only one is a game. But if you look at the average time per user in October, the game app (Coin Dozer) racked up a massive 166.30 minutes, followed by Instagram (78.76 minutes) and Flipboard (53.19 minutes).

In comparison, Asda’s average time per user is just 16.63 minutes while Tesco’s is 13.65 minutes.

That said, it could be argued that the relatively low time spent using these apps is a good thing as they are supposed to be convenient and simple to use, so it would be worrying if people were spending hours on them each month. 

Fastest-growing Android apps by usage in the UK, May to October 2012

But while commerce apps are among the fastest-growing apps in the UK, Google’s own products and social networks dominate the list of the most-popular apps.

By my reckoning, at least five of the top 10 apps now come pre-loaded onto Android phones (they did on mine), while Facebook is unsurprisingly the first non-Google product on the list with a reach of 71.9%.

Ebay’s presence in ninth place (43%) underlines its strength in mobile commerce, while WhatsApp completes the top 10 (32.9%).

It’s interesting to note that Amazon and Twitter don’t make the top 10, while Instagram’s reach is just 13.9%.

Most popular UK Android apps by reach, October 2012

The data was collected using Nielsen’s Smartphone Analytics, which electronically measures smartphone usage at device level.  

It uses a panel of Android owners, with an average 1500+ monthly adult users who have opted to install a meter on their smartphone.