Messaging apps threaten social

8 July 2015
GLOBAL: Three quarters of internet users globally are now using mobile instant messaging services, according to a new report which suggests that these are increasingly the location for conversations that once took place on Facebook.

For its Q2 Mobile Messaging Report, researcher GlobalWebIndex polled 47,622 internet users aged 16-64 in 33 countries and established that the number using messaging apps had increased 39% over the past three years.

Hundreds of millions are still sending SMS and MMS messages, it said, "but they are no longer the default go-to choices they once were". In fact SMS usage had dropped by 11% and that of MMS by 17%.

Even "traditional" social networks like Facebook are affected, as many of the conversations and behaviours that used to take place here "are being absorbed by the likes of Snapchat, WhatsApp and WeChat".

GlobalWebIndex noted that Facebook's WhatsApp and Messenger had been knocked off the top spot in eight of the 33 countries surveyed, with the heaviest losses occurring in the APAC region.

LINE was the fastest growing app last year, the research found, displacing WhatsApp and Messenger in three of the countries surveyed; it is the leader in its home market of Japan, as well as in Taiwan and Thailand.

Other APAC markets also have particular favourites, with Kakao Talk the clear number one in South Korea, WeChat dominant in China and Zalo popular in Vietnam. And while Blackberry has fallen out of favour around much of the world, BBM is still ahead in Indonesia.

In general, however, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp dominate outside of China. And while WhatsApp has the biggest registered audience, Facebook Messenger is the most popular app as it actively engages a greater number of users on a regular basis.

Snapchat has the youngest audience, with 84% of users being under 35. It is now more popular than Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp among US teens, GlobalWebIndex reported.

And of all the social networks, "Instagrammers" were found to be the most likely to use chat apps.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff
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