Mobile messenger apps - Statistics & Facts

Fueled by mobile internet and smartphone growth, mobile messaging apps have become a strong force in the mobile app sector. When these messaging services rose to prominence in the early 2010s, their initial appeal was based on the fact that messaging was free, whereas SMS messages were not. Since then, messaging apps have increased the range of services they offer. Apart from being a more convenient alternative to SMS-based texting, it also provides enhanced features such as group chats, voice calls, video calls, and photo sharing. As of March 2019, over 41 million mobile messages are sent in an online minute.

With 1.6 billion active monthly users, WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messaging app worldwide. Facebook Messenger ranked second, followed by Chinese services QQ Mobile and WeChat. Other popular messaging apps include Snapchat, Viber, Discord, and Telegram. Facebook currently owns the top two messaging apps – WhatsApp and Messenger. The social media giant acquired WhatsApp in early 2014, when it had about 465 million monthly active users. WhatsApp is gaining popularity in Ecuador and South Korea, where downloads for the app surged in 2019.

Initially released in 2011, Facebook Messenger, an app purely dedicated to chatting, was developed to take over the instant messaging function previously connected to the main Facebook app. quarter of 2019. Messenger has since grown to include features such as stickers or video messages - features made popular by competing photo sharing app Snapchat. As of 2019, Facebook stated that 2.7 billion people were using at least one of the company's core products (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger) each month.

According to a 2019 survey among online Americans, instant messengers such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and WeChat were the third most commonly used social media, after social networks and media sharing. In another survey conducted during the same year, Facebook Messenger was the most popular messaging service in the country, with 86 percent of respondents stating that they used the app regularly.

Despite WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger’s global leadership, regional markets differ greatly, with the notable mention of the Asian mobile messenger app market. Local messaging apps such as WeChat, LINE, Hike and KakaoTalk are continuously expanding and competing for leadership. As of 2019, Tencent's WeChat had over 1.13 billion monthly active users.

Mobile messaging apps are blurring the lines between messaging and mobile social networks. Photo-sharing apps Instagram and Snapchat are no pure messaging platforms; yet, due to their private messaging functions and the increasing appeal of social content sharing, the platforms have seen unprecedented growth in the last few years. In June 2018, Instagram had reached one billion monthly active users. In the following year, photo and video sharing app Snapchat reported 203 million daily active users worldwide.

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Mobile messenger apps

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