Asia is now the biggest market for mobile apps, according to data from Yahoo’s Flurry analytics, which tracks mobile app use around the globe. From April 2014 to April 2015, the analytics firm found mobile app usage grew 77 percent, driven by an explosion in shopping apps as Asian economies leapfrog the PC and start shopping en masse on smartphones. Shopping and lifestyle apps nearly tripled in the past 12 months compared to the same period measured in the previous year.

Flurry Asia Graph Categories Shopping apps grew the most over the 12 month period ending in April 2015. Photo: Flurry

Messaging apps continued to see some growth, albeit much smaller at 42 percent year-over-year. Flurry found Asian users often interacted with mobile shopping apps from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, with peaks occurring at lunch and dinner time.

The surge of ownership of phablets -- such as Apple's iPhone 6 Plus, Xiaomi's Mi Note and Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 -- has also contributed to increased app usage. In Asia, phablet users are engaged in apps 78 percent more than the average smartphone user, Flurry data indicate. The larger smartphones, which measure 5.5 inches to 7 inches, have proven especially popular in emerging markets, a research study by Jana found.

Though mobile shopping has surged for Asian smartphone owners, mobile owners in Asia spend a quarter of their smartphone time playing games. Overall, Asia accounted for 610 million or  a third of the 1.8 billion devices Flurry tracks each month.