A Nielsen survey has revealed ongoing loyalty to mobile carrier application stores despite the fanfare around app stores tied to specific mobile devices such as iPhones and BlackBerries.

The findings come from its ‘App Playbook Report’, which surveyed more than 4,000 US application downloaders on their mobile application usage.

The Apple App Store was the clear leader in preferred application stores, while the relatively new BlackBerry App World Store was second most popular due to its installed base.

According to the report smartphone users were generally utilising applications more than feature phone users – only 12% of feature phone owners have downloaded an app in the past 30 days compared to 46% those who have a smartphone, with application usage driven mostly by the iPhone and Android devices (see graphs below).

The Apple App Store and the Android Market Place have a sizable lead in terms of satisfaction compared to the other application stores.

While the often-overlooked carrier application stores are significantly behind the two leaders in terms of satisfaction, they are marginally ahead of the BlackBerry App World and Windows Marketplace.