WhatsApp has grown its user base by 20% in UK

Messaging Apps are on the rise worldwide and form an important part of today’s digital communication. More and more companies are realizing this and taking advantage of the business opportunitites that messaging apps offer. This article will take a closer look at messenger usage in the United Kingdom.

WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, both from the mother company Facebook, clearly dominate the world map and are the most used chat applications worldwide. Very strong local players like Chinese WeChat or Japanese LINE, however, have hampered the market entry for Facebook in specific local markets in Asia.

February 2019: Messenger Update

The release of Digital 2019, We are Social/Hoot Suite’s comprehensive global guide offers the latest data for messaging app usage in the UK. Here are the most important facts from the new study:

  • 73% of UK internet users use mobile messaging, up from 68% in last year’s report. With this increase, messaging remains the most popular function for smartphones.
  • WhatsApp is the #1 app in terms of monthly active users and by downloads. Facebook Messenger is #3 in terms of MAUs and #2 in terms of downloads.
  • 45% of surveyed internet users have used their smartphone to make a purchase within the last month. Companies who are in contact with their target groups over messaging apps can offer integrated sales opportunities within their customer care channels and profit from the increasing use of smartphones as a one-stop channel for communicating and purchasing.

mobile messaging

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Mobile devices in the UK

95% of UK households own at least one mobile device. Countrywide, mobile communication is the preferred way of communicating and getting in touch. The number of internet users who access the internet via portable device is on a continuous growth path and reached 79% in 2017.

57% of the UK population are mobile social media users and spend a daily 114 minutes actively on their favorite social networks. Social media apps and chat apps are the preferred mobile apps by category in the UK, before browser and email!

chat apps most popular in UK

Source: Statista

Top 1 activity on smartphone? Messaging!

When spending so much time on the internet “on the go” – what is it that the UK population mostly does on their mobile device? Even though YouTube is the leading social network in the UK, citizens message more on their phone than they watch videos. Watching videos and using mobile map functions rank as the 2nd and 3rd place activities, followed by playing games and using mobile banking.

mobile activities in UK

Source: We are Social/HootSuite

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WhatsApp is the leading chat app in the UK

Facebook and YouTube are the leading stars when comparing social media networks by usage. Both networks share position #1 with a usage of 79% of social networks users in UK. WhatsApp follows as the most popular chat app with a reach of 58%. It is currently (as of October 2018) the UK’s most-downloaded messaging app in both the iOS store and the Google Play store, with almost 1.5 million downloads for Android recorded in February 2018. The number of active monthly users tops even Facebook and Facebook Messenger.

We are Social/HootSuite also looked at the monthly active users (MAU) for the leading chat apps and found that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp rank as most popular, with the most MAUs.

leading social networks in UK 2018

Source: Statista


Apple has the leading market share in the UK. Even though Samsung was able to grow tremendously from 2012 onwards, Apple is and has been the UK’s favourite mobile device vendor for years. This means that Apple Business Chat has a huge amount of potential for your company’s professional customer service! Find out here how you can manage customer inquiries via Apple Business Chat.

Further Reading:

Exclusive interview about the Leeds Rhinos Direct Communication Channel: WhatsApp

Stay in the loop with the Facebook Messenger Update 2018

The ABCs about Chatbots: What is a WhatsApp Bot?

Have a great idea for customer service via messaging apps and want to talk about it? Message us!

messenger landscape usa