Smartphone users in the UK downloaded 105 million paid applications in 2010, driving download revenue to reach £280 million, according to a new report from research2guidance.

Over 860 million applications were downloaded last year, helping double smartphone penetration over the past two years. The UK now holds an 8% share of the global smartphone application downloads market.

The report suggests that smartphone app downloads still have a lot of room to grow, particularly as the UK still has a majority of feature phone owners, who do not interact with applications as actively as smartphone users. With smartphone manufacturers and mobile operators competing to offer the best deals on new devices, prices are being lowered and consumers are increasingly turning to smartphone devices for their next mobile phone.

Symbian handsets accounted for the majority of devices shipped in the UK over the past twelve months but owners of these handsets aren’t actively using mobile apps, despite the availability of marketplaces including the Ovi Store. Android users are more active but iOS device owners download more apps and generate more ad impressions.

Interestingly, young women helped drive smartphone adoption in 2010 – at the current growth rate, female smartphone adopters will match their male counterparts within a year.

UK market size blog image 520x390 UK smartphone owners spent £280m on apps in 2010