San Francisco company Flurry said 1.2 billion apps were downloaded in the final week of 2011, the first time a single week saw more than a billion.
Analysts said the surge was because many users received new devices for Christmas and firms were offering discounted apps over the holiday period.
The United States accounted for nearly half of the downloads, followed by China and Britain, the BBC reported Tuesday.
Analysts said this pace of download activity would probably continue.
"Looking forward to 2012, Flurry expects breaking the one billion download barrier per week will become more commonplace," the company said on its blog.
Flurry estimated nearly 7 million Android devices and iPhones were activated Christmas Day, and while Apple does not disclose such figures, Google confirmed more than 3.7 million Android devices were activated over the Christmas weekend.