WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger Apps – Global Messenger Usage, Penetration and Statistics
The latest messaging app usage statistics show that WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have 1.5 billion users worldwide, and WeChat is just behind — it recently hit the 1 billion mark. Here you can find out all about the worldwide messaging app usage. We have user demographics and usage statistics for fourteen different countries and regions, with handy infographics. We continuously add countries, messaging apps, and updated usage statistics to this article – so check back in a few months for the latest numbers!
There are only 25 countries in the world where WhatsApp is not the market leader.
WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are growing about twice as fast as Facebook, the original platform (+30% YoY). Currently, WhatsApp has the highest distribution of all messaging apps worldwide. If you combine all the existing apps of the Facebook Universe, there are only 10 countries in the world where the messenger market leader is not from the Facebook dynasty.
In this article you’ll find messaging app usage statistics for the following countries and regions:
- Great Britain
- APAC Region
- South Africa
- Latin America
For an overview of the top messaging apps worldwide – from Apple Business Chat, to WhatsApp, to LINE – and their business potential, check out our series Messaging Apps & Brands.
Messaging Apps in Great Britain
Within the past 2 years, WhatsApp has grown its user base by 20% and now almost reaches 70% of the British population. This incredible rise is especially impressive when looking at the slight decrease of YouTube and the very minimal increase of Facebook users.
Source: WeAreSocial Digital Report 2018
The intuitive WhatsApp interface and its wide-reaching popularity make it the most popular messaging app within all age groups. 84% of 24 – 35 year old Britons use WhatsApp, whereas the age group from 35 – 44 year old shows slightly less coverage, with 78% of the population.
Tip: more in-depth information about the messenger landscape in the UK in this article.
Messaging Apps in the USA
Isn’t it surprising, that WhatsApp is the leading messenger app in 169 countries but not in its domestic market, the United States? Let’s take a look at which messaging apps are actually popular in the US market.
1. Facebook Messenger
Alongside the good old text message, a lot of Americans use Facebook in order to send messages. With the combination of SMS and Facebook Messenger, you can reach almost everyone. Many people don’t think that using an extra messaging app will provide them any added value. However, you can read all about the advantages of doing so and why you should consider working with MessengerPeople here.
As mentioned, WhatsApp is rather unpopular within the United States. In fact, a lot of Americans had never heard of the company before Facebook bought it in 2014. However, the green messaging app – which is the market leader globally – is slowly seeing rising usage statistics in the US. A lot of Americans actively use WhatsApp to communicate with friends and family abroad.
In the US, it’s quite common to have a mobile phone contract with a package that includes unlimited SMS. Data is also relatively expensive in the US, although the mobile market is very competitive and people can thus find great deals.
The urgency to text abroad, is very limited – especially compared to the European Union, where people have closer relations between countries. Most Amercians communicate primarily within the domestic market, so there’s no need for the average person to download an app for cost-efficient international messaging.
In a lot of other countries, though, WhatsApp has managed to completely eliminate the text message. Emerging markets are especially keen on WhatsApp, because the local mobile providers are often not very reliable. In the USA, there has never really been an urge to find alternatives to SMS but still, even there, usage numbers are continuously dropping.
Communication apps like WhatsApp are available on practically all devices, whereas native apps like Apple’s iMessage (and now Apple Business Chat) are limited to one provider.
However, the user base for iPhone is constantly growing in the USA. A lot of adolescents prefer iMessage to apps like Snapchat in order to reach out to their friends.
Since iMessage is a pre-installed service of Apple, there are no offical messaging usage statistics as they keep those “in-house”. Looking at the ever growing demand and distribution of iOS devices though, we can assume that the pool of iMessage users is growing. In the fiscal year of 2017, Apple reached a quantity of 216.76 million iPhones.
For businesses looking to interact with US customers over messaging apps, Apple Business Chat is a great solution – and MessengerPeople is one of the few European providers for this exclusive service. More information on our ABC product page.
Have a close look at more in-depth information about the US Mobile Messaging Landscape in this article.
Messaging Apps in India
With increasing urbanization and steadily increasing Internet usage, the Indian market offers huge potential. It currently has more than 450 million active internet users.
Source: We are Social, 2018
97% of all smartphone users in India use mobile Apps for daily communication. For 96% of them, WhatsApp is their first choice when thinking about Messenger Communication.
In February 2017, India counted 200 million active users on WhatsApp. Currently, there is an estimated active WhatsApp user base of 250-300 million in India.
This makes WhatsApp the clear messenger-marketing market leader in India, where it continues to rank as the most sought-after and downloaded app. In contrast, Facebook Messenger lost popularity compared to previous year and reaches a fifth less people in direct comparison with WhatsApp.
In India, WhatsApp is popular among all age classes, however, there is a clear trend towards 18-34-year old male Indians (55%). Due to the still existing gender gap, generally more male (77%) than female (23%) can be reached via Messenger Communication.
We summarized more in-depth messaging app usage statistics for India and the mobile messaging market in this article.
Messenger Apps in Singapore
93% of Singaporeans use the internet on a daily basis. 75% of them use it actively on their smartphone for social networking activities, and 73% specifically use WhatsApp. Among all messenger apps in Singapore, WhatsApp counts the most downloads and active users.
WhatsApp tops all other social media. It’s popular among all ages, but with a percentage of 73%, social media usage is especially high among 18-44 year old Singaporeans. The distribution by gender is quite balanced with 53% male users and 47% female.
Messaging Apps in the APAC Region
Not only is WhatsApp a popular communication app in Singapore, it is also number one in other countries in the Asia-Pacific Region: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, just to name a few. The market landscape in the Asia-Pacific Region is locally dominated by regional app providers such as WeChat, KakaoTalk or LINE, so it’s specifically impressive that WhatsApp still manages to haev such a strong lead.
The four leading social apps in Asia are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber and LINE.
Messaging apps in South Africa
In South Africa, WhatsApp is the leader among social communication apps: 49% of the population actively uses the messenger app.
In a survey asking social media users about their use habits, 93% of respondents said they use messenger services like WhatsApp on a daily basis. In contrast, social network platforms like Facebook are used by 87% of the respondents.
Messaging Apps in Germany
There is a clear trend in Germany: WhatsApp is the most used messaging app, by far. Approx. 81% of all Germans use WhatsApp – most of them on a daily basis. Facebook Messenger is steadily catching up and has almost displaced classic platforms such as “Skype” or “Google Hangouts”. It’s almost ridiculous to see how Skype – the formerly dominating chat provider – missed the Messenger-trend.
9 out of 10 Germans use messaging apps, and WhatsApp is the clear leader.
Messaging Apps in China
WeChat has published new numbers and now counts over a billion users, of which 900 million use the app daily. This makes WeChat the third most-used app globally — after WhatsApp (1.5 billion) and FB Messenger, which just hit the magic 1 billion mark.
WeChat is not only popular within the Chinese borders, but generally popular for Chinese users. 100 million Chinese citizens use the app outside of the country’s borders. This might sound trivial at first, but is important to understand if you are trying to reach out to Chinese travelers or expats via messaging apps.
Messaging Apps in Austria
85% of Austria’s teenagers use WhatsApp. However, it’s also an extremely popular app in other age groups.
The below Statista graphic from 2018 shows that WhatsApp is by far the most-downloaded messaging app in the Google Play store. Facebook is left in the dust, and the other messengers all hover together with (primarily) less than 10% of the market share.
Messaging Apps in Brazil
56% of all Brazilians actively use WhatsApp for communication and information. This makes WhatsApp the most popular platform within Brazil, counting 20% more usage than Facebook Messenger among all smartphone users in Brazil.
Not only do Brazilians use WhatsApp more than other apps, but they also use it a lot! 92% of all smartphone users who have downloaded the app use it daily and are actively engaged throughout the entire day.
Social networks are used by both genders in Brazil (48% male and 52% female) and throughout all age groups. However, with a distribution of 76%, the reach is greatest among the age group of 15-44 year old Brazilians.
Messaging Apps in Spain
WhatsApp is by far the most popular messenger service in Spain. 73% of the population used the green messenger app actively in 2017. Facebook Messenger, which ranks second favorite in Spain, only has a usage rate of 37% of the population and falls way behind the top number 1.
Source: We are Social, 2018
89% of all smartphone users in Spain say they actively use WhatsApp on their smartphone. Facebook, on the other hand, is used only by 72%.
Another aspect to keep in mind when looking at the current market situation in Spain are the Google Play Store and App Store rankings. The Google Play Store statistic speaks for itself: WhatsApp – with a huge advantage over Facebook Messenger in 2nd place – counts 11 million daily active users. All other communication apps are positioned far behind.
The distribution of sexes is well-balanced. 52% of women and 48% of men use social networks in Spain. This evenly distributed proportion continues through all age classes. However, adolescents spend even more time than average on social media channels. 98% of female teens between 16 and 24 years old use WhatsApp on a daily basis, and 92% of their male counterparts.
Messaging Apps in Italy
As of January 2018, there were 43,31 million active internet users in Italy – which corresponds to 73% of the whole population. 65% of all Italians say they actively use the internet on their smartphone.
With a penetration of 59%, WhatsApp is by far the most popular messenger app in Italy.
Source: We are Social, 2018
Throughout all age groups, Italians actively use the green messenger. The age group which claims to use it the most is 25-54 year olds. But even 78% of those aged above 50 use the internet on a daily basis!
Messaging Apps in France
88% of the French population uses the Internet, and 67% does so via mobile devices. Of all active internet users in France, 58% actively use social media. The most popular messenger service in France is Facebook Messenger with a reach of 41%. WhatsApp follows as third most used messenger with a reach of 23%, marginally behind Skype with 24%.
As of January 2018, WhatsApp ranks as the third favorite App according to the numbers of app downloads and monthly active users.
Social networks are used evenly among men (54%) and women (59%) in France.
Throughout all age group, there is a highly active user base when it comes to social media. Even 30% of those aged 60 and above are active on social media. However, the age group of 12-39 year olds clearly dominates in terms of social media usage.
Messaging Apps in Latin America
Latin America is one of the strongest market regions for WhatsApp. 60% of the population in all Latin American countries actively uses the green messenger app, with Facebook Messenger, YouTube and Instagram all ranking far behind WhatsApp.
If you compare individual countries within that region, it is astonishing to see the immense reach and strong usage of social media in general. With a reach of 72% of the population, WhatsApp is strongest in Uruguay, followed by Chile with 71% and Argentina with 70%.
Further countries will be updated in this article on a regular basis.
Looking for information on how to use WhatsApp for your business? Find out more in this article: Why Email, Social Media, and Co. Are No Competition for Messenger Marketing
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