LINK Mobility: Messenger apps in 2022


Written by Josef Grabner, Vice President of Business Operations for LINK Mobility DACH

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal, WeChat, Line and the list goes on. The options for mobile messaging apps are vast and constantly growing. But which one is the most favorite in the world and is there one? In this blog, Josef Grabner, Vice President of Business Operations for LINK Mobility DACH, gives us an insight into the market.

Win the popularity contest

According to a study by Statista in October 2021, WhatsApp is the number 1 mobile messaging application with 2 billion monthly active users; followed by Facebook Messenger (1.3 billion), WeChat (1,251 billion) and QQ (591 million). However, just as product offerings differ from country to country, the availability and preference of mobile messengers also vary from country to country. This leads us to wonder if the most popular messenger mainly depends on where you live?

More than two-thirds of the world’s population (67.1%) now use a mobile phone. This represents 95 million new mobile phone users since last year’s Global Overview Report (2021). And the trend is growing with the rise of digital adaptation. This is also proven by the global usage figures for internet at 62.5% and social media at 58.4%. The first recorded an increase of + 192 million and the second of + 424 million new users compared to the previous year. That’s the basics, now let’s look at the connections and the real-world effects on the messaging business.

Of course, one wonders what the 67.1% of the world’s population really do with their smartphone? The report also provides answers to this, thanks to data from App Annie.

A typical cell phone user spends an average of 4 hours and 48 minutes per day on their cell phone. An incredible 92.5% of that time is spent on mobile apps and only about 7.5% on internet browser usage.

But that’s not all. All that time translates into valuable revenue. In 2021, smartphone users worldwide spent a total of $170 billion on mobile apps and in-app purchases, which equates to an average of over $27 per device. This is great news, especially for B2C e-commerce, as 60.1% of consumer goods purchases can be attributed to mobile phone transactions.

This brings us to the next question: which applications are actually probably be used in the usage time of more than 4 hours per day? According to data from App Annie, Tik Tok is the most downloaded app in the world. Next come Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. Note: four of the seven best messaging apps are. In terms of monthly active users, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are lagging behind, ranking second and third globally.

However, if you look at downloads and active users in individual markets, you can see clear differences here. While WhatsApp is mainly used in Europe (Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Turkey), Facebook Messenger is the most common application in the United States, Canada and Australia. WhatsApp is also the preferred choice in Britain, India and Indonesia, as well as more southern countries like Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru. In Asia, on the other hand, two other suppliers are in the lead. In China, WeChat is clearly the most popular messaging app, while LINE is used more in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand.

For a deeper insight, especially as it relates to various industries such as gaming, finance, healthcare, or retail, I recommend taking a closer look at the App Annie report. Here’s the report.

A marketer’s perspective

Additionally, there were some interesting facts about internet and social media usage in the global summary report. So here is an overview of global internet usage on mobile phones. This information is really interesting if you, as a marketer, are wondering where it is better to launch mobile campaigns on the Internet or rather not.

The list of top apps and websites used or visited is probably even more exciting for all entrepreneurs in the telecommunications industry. Note that chats and messaging apps are at the top.

Finally, we can dive into an overview of time spent on social media apps. Here, too, messaging apps such as WhatsApp and LINE are in the foreground.

Final Thoughts

As is often the case, the question of which is the most preferred messenger can be answered with “It depends”. In the world of messaging, it is highly dependent on the target market. Undoubtedly, the respective target group and generation also play an important role that cannot be overlooked. In this regard, future generations will likely become more nimble and flexible to adapt to messenger trends.

That said, one thing is certain: the world is going digital and is increasingly taking place on our smartphones. The future is online!


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