WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger Apps – Global Messenger Usage, Penetration and Statistics

Birgit Bucher
International Marketing Manager
Messenger Bubble Containing Graph

The official statistics on messenger usage for WhatsApp shows 1.5 billion users worldwide, with the same amount in Facebook Messenger, and WeChat just behind — it recently hit the 1 billion mark. Here you can find out all about the worldwide reach of popular messaging apps in great infographics and user demographic statistics.

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). Nowadays, WhatsApp has the highest distribution of all Messengers worldwide. If you combine all existing apps of the Facebook Inc 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 get a glance about the following countries and regions:

  1. Messenger Usage in Great Britain
  2. Popular Messenger Usage in the USA
  3. WhatsApp Statistic of User Penetration in India
  4. Messenger Usage and Penetration Statistics in Singapore
  5. Popular Messengers in the APAC Region
  6. Messenger Usage in South Africa
  7. WhatsApp User Statistics Germany
  8. China User Penetration an WeChat Statistic
  9. Statistic: Messenger Usage in Austria
  10. Statistic pf WhatsApp Penetration in Brazil
  11. User Penetration and WhatsApp Statistic in Spain
  12. WhatsApp Penetration in Italy
  13. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger in France
  14. WhatsApp Penetration in Latin America

Messenger Usage in Great Britain

Within the past 2 years, WhatsApp managed to enlarge its customer base by 20% and now almost reaches 70% of its 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 App within all age groups. 84% of the 24 – 35 year old Britons use WhatsApp, whereas the age group from 35 – 44 year old Britons shows slightly less coverage, with 78% of the population.

Popular Messenger Usage 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? In the following, we will have a look on popular messenger usage like WhatsApp, SMS, iMessage and Facebook Messenger on the US-market landscape.

In regards to the daily usage of mobile communication apps, Facebook messenger is leading, followed by iMessage, Skype and WhatsApp.

Source: Statista

1. Facebook Messenger

Along with the good old text message, a lot of US Americans are using Facebook to send messages. With the combination of SMS and Facebook Messenger, you will be able to reach out to almost everyone. Hence, many believe that working with a third party doesn’t provide them any added value. You can read all about the advantages of doing so and why you should consider working with MessengerPeople here.

Source: Statista

2. WhatsApp

As mentioned, WhatsApp is rather unpopular within the United States. In fact, a lot of Americans have never heard of the company before Facebook bought it in 2014. Although, this communication app, which is the clear market leader in many countries, sees rising number in messenger usage in the US. A lot of Americans actively using WhatsApp do so with friends and family abroad.

Source: Statista

3. SMS

It is quite common to have an inlcuded package with unlimited SMS messages once you sign a contract for your mobile phone and data is relatively expensive in the US. When it comes to providers of mpbile phone contracts, the US market is highly competitive and users, hence, are able to get fantastic and good priced offers. Pre-paid SIM cards and not popular at all in this region.

The urgency to text abroad, is very limited – especially compared to i.e. the European Union. Most Amercians stay and communicate in the domestic market. Getting a data package, which enables free cross-boarder texting, hence, is no big need for the average citizen.

In a lot of other countried, though, WhatsApp has almost eliminated the “good old” SMS text message, even within one country. Especially emerging markets are keen on using WhatsApp, as the local mobile providers are often not very reliable. In the USA, on the other hand, there has never been the urge to find alternatives to SMS but still, even there, usage numbers are continuously dropping.

4. iMessage

Communication apps like WhatsApp are available on numerous devices, whereas apps like Apple’s iMessage / Apple Business Chat / FaceTime is only accessable from iOS devices.

The user base of iPhone users is immensly gowing 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 numbers or statistics on the messenger usage as they keep those “in-house”. Looking at the ever growing demand and distribution of iOS devices though, we can assume that the usage of the pre-installed messaging app is also growing.

In the fiscal year of 2017, Apple reached a quantity of 216.76 million iPhones.

WhatsApp Statistic of User Penetration 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.

Messenger Usage and Penetration Statistics in Singapore

93% of Singaporeans are using 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.

Source: Statistia

WhatsApp Messenger is 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.

Popular Messengers in the APAC Region

Not only is WhatsApp a popular communication app in Singapore, it is also number one in other countries inthe Asia-Pacific Region: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, just to name a few. Furthermore, the market landscape in the Asia-Pacific Region is locally dominated by regional app providers such as WeChat, KakaoTalk or LINE.

Source: Nexmo

The four leading social apps in Asia are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber and LINE.

Messenger Usage 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 the 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.

Source: Statista

WhatsApp User Statistics Germany

There is a clear trend in Germany: WhatsApp is – by far – the most used Messenger. 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 Messenger Apps with WhatsApp being the most popular.

Source: Bitkom

China User Penetration and WeChat Statistic

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 after WhatsApp (1.5 bn MU) and FB Messenger, which just hit the magic 1 billion mark.

WeChat is not only popular within the Chinese borders – but generally popular among Chinese. 100 million Chinese 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 tourists.

Source: © Statista 2018

Statistic: Messenger Usage in Austria

85% of Austria’s teenagers use WhatsApp. But in many other age classes as well, it is the most popular Messenger App.

Source: Betterinternetforkids.eu

Statistic: App ranking in Austria. WhatsApp by far the most popular.

Source: Statista

Statistic of WhatsApp Penetration in Brazil

56% of all Brazilians actively use WhatsApp as their medium 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.

Source: Statista

It’s also obvious that WhatsApp achieves the greatest coverage in Brazil – by far: 92% of all smartphone users who have downloaded the app use it daily and are actively engaged throughout the entire day.

Source: Statista

Social networks are being 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.

User Penetration and WhatsApp Statistics in Spain

WhatsApp is by far the most popular messenger service in Spain. 73% of the population used the green messenger app actively and regulary in 2017. Facebook Messenger, which ranks second favorite in Spain, only hasa 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 only being used by 72%.

Another aspect to keep in mind when looking at the current market situation in Spain is the rankings on Google Play Store and the AppStore. The daily usage of communication apps in the Google Play Store speaks for itself: WhatsApp – with a gigantic gap to the second-best rank (Facebook Messenger)  – counts 11 million daily active users. All other communication apps are positioned far behind.

For the forecasted 21,32 million active users of social networks for 2018, 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.

Especially adolescents spend a lot of their time 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 as well.

WhatsApp Penetration 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 ages, Italians use the green messenger. The age group which claims to use it the most, are the ones aged between 25 and 54 years. But even 78% of those aged above 50 use the internet on a daily base!

The distribution between the gender is quite balanced – 48% of females and 52% of all males actively use social networks.

WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger 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.

WhatsApp Penetration 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 after WhatsApp for usage.

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%.

Looking for information on how to use WhatsApp for your business? Get in touch with MessengerPeople today.

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