Try our corporate solution for free!

Mobile messenger and communication apps - Statistics & Facts

Fueled by mobile internet and smartphone growth, mobile messaging and communication apps have become a strong force in the mobile app sector. When OTT messaging services rose to prominence in the early 2010s, their initial appeal was based on the fact that messaging was free of cost, whereas SMS messages were not. As of August 2020, over 41 million WhatsApp messages are shared in a single online minute.

Messaging apps have also increased the range of services they offer. Apart from being a more convenient alternative to SMS-based texting, they also provide enhanced features such as group chats, photo sharing, voice calls, and video calls. According to an April 2021 survey, more than half of the people interviewed were using third-party mobile apps to make voice calls either very often or somewhat often.

With two billion active monthly users, WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messaging app worldwide. Facebook Messenger ranked second, followed by Chinese services WeChat and QQ Mobile. Other popular messaging apps include Snapchat, Discord, and Telegram. Facebook currently owns the top two messaging app products– WhatsApp and Messenger. The social media giant acquired WhatsApp in early 2014 for an eye-watering 19 billion U.S. dollars, when the messaging service had about 465 million monthly active users.

Facebook Messenger: communication or social?

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. Messenger has since grown to include social features such as stickers, short video messages, and stories - which have been winning characteristics of Snapchat and Instagram - as well as video and voice calls. Facebook Messenger is not new to redesigns: in 2020, the app ditched its discovery tab, as well as its business and gaming sections, betting on drawing attention to its stories. The move, which aimed also at simplifying the app’s configuration, represented a tactical switch for Facebook’s owned messaging app: instead of extending its scopes toward becoming an all-encompassing platform, Messenger appeared to have settled in being a social messaging platform. However, with the platform rolling out Messenger Rooms for group calls in April 2020, just to later announce it might be bringing video and voice calls back to its main Facebook’s app, future redesign might focus more on the app’s chat and social features.

WhatsApp: 2021’s privacy policy reception

In January 2021, WhatsApp announced it was requiring users to grant their permission to share their data (including location and phone numbers) with parent company Facebook Inc. or stop using the app altogether. While the announcement initially sparked a surge in downloads of competing mobile messaging apps Telegram and Signal, as of August 2021, WhatsApp is reported to have 4.1 percent more daily active users than in January 2021. In contrast, both Telegram and Signal have been hemorrhaging the daily active users acquired at the beginning of the year.

Telegram and Signal

Launched in 2013 by the creators of Russian social network VKontakte, Telegram has started preparing its monetization plans at the beginning of 2021, and has reached the milestone of one billion lifetime downloads in August 2021. Signal, which was launched in 2017, counted more than 30.9 million app downloads in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa during the first quarter of 2021, probably likely because of users’ migration after WhatsApp privacy policy update. According to a January 2021 survey of users in India, roughly half of respondents were considering either reducing their WhatsApp usage in favor of Signal and Telegram or migrating entirely to the latter two platforms.

Messaging apps in East Asia

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, and KakaoTalk are continuously expanding and competing for leadership. At the end of 2020, popular messaging and social media platform WeChat was counting more than 1.2 billion monthly active users, while the Japanese LINE reported 167 million monthly active users, and South-Korean KakaoTalk reported more than 52 million users active on the platform on a monthly basis.

Video communication apps

In 2020, due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, usage of video conferencing and video call apps increased both for private and for professional purposes. During the second quarter of 2020, leading video conferencing apps Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet reached almost 480 million combined installs. Zoom, which was initially launched in 2011 to provide video communication services for larger institutions, expanded its audience during the pandemic and was used by 31.5 percent of adults in the United States to chat with family and friends.


Get in touch with us. We are happy to help.
Statista Locations
Contact Vianny Gutierrez-Cruz
Vianny Gutierrez-Cruz
Sales Manager– Contact (United States)

Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm (EST)

Contact Ziyan Zhang
Ziyan Zhang
Customer Relations– Contact (Asia)

Mon - Fri, 11:30am - 10pm (IST)

Contact Kisara Mizuno
Kisara Mizuno
Customer Success Manager– Contact (Asia)

Mon - Fri, 9:30am - 5:30pm (JST)

Contact Lodovica Biagi
Lodovica Biagi
Director of Operations– Contact (Europe)

Mon - Fri, 9:30am - 5pm (GMT)

Contact Carolina Dulin
Carolina Dulin
Associate Director - LAC– Contact (Latin America)

Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm (EST)