SINGAPORE: Messaging app WhatsApp has achieved near universal penetration in Singapore, with 97% of residents using it and 86% saying it is their most used app, a new report has shown.

According to data from research firm Blackbox Research, published by eMarketer, Facebook Messenger runs a distant second in the city state among messaging app users, with 57% of Singaporeans using the app. However, just 2% of those surveyed said it was most their most used chat app.

Although WhatsApp is yet to reveal a strategy to engage advertisers, the app is widely used for business communications in the Singapore. Locals are even able to report train faults using the app.

The survey revealed that Singaporeans, who have among the highest smartphone usage rates in the world, are also heavy social media users across all age groups – but are more likely to turn to their favourite chat apps to stay in touch, rather than a social media platform.

Facebook enjoys near universal uptake among every age group at 94% penetration overall, including 95% of those aged 50 years or older.

However, its popularity appears to be waning among younger Singaporeans with 84% of 15- to 24-year-olds using the social media platform – significantly less than older age groups.

Younger Singaporeans are turning to Instagram and Snapchat instead, which are yet to make significant headway in other age groups.

According to the research, 87% of Singaporeans aged 15-24 are active on Instagram, but usage drops off significantly among those aged 35 years or older.

The demographic contrast is even more clear when it comes to Snapchat, which 62% of Singaporeans under 24-years-old use regularly, compared to an average of just 21% of Singaporeans overall.

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff