Messaging applications are the most widely used smartphone apps in the world, with the top platforms boasting over a billion monthly active users. Many of the most popular messaging apps emerged around the time of the advent of social media but have evolved into stand-alone entities, offering a wide variety of services beyond just the simple sending and receiving of texts.
Mobile Messaging Apps Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- There are 2.7 billion mobile messaging app users worldwide in 2020.
- Over 41 million mobile messages are sent in a minute.
- 36% of consumers use at least two apps for messaging.
- WhatsApp has two billion monthly active users.
- Over 1.3 billion people are using Facebook Messenger monthly.
- More than 50% of WeChat users open the app ten times a day.
- Snapchat is the most important app for 34% of US teens.
- Skype continues to remain relevant with 300 million monthly active users.
Popular Messaging Apps Statistics
1. 5.2 billion people use mobile devices.
The number of unique mobile users is growing at a 2% annual rate. As of 2020, there were 5.2 billion unique mobile users, up by 102 million from 2019. Statistics show that 91% of internet users are gaining online access via their mobile devices. Mobile marketing statistics suggest that three-quarters of users will be mobile-only by 2025.
2. People spend 90% of their smartphone time on apps.
The bulk of smartphone time is spent on apps. Half of the app time meanwhile goes to social and communication apps. Video and entertainment, games, and other apps account for the rest.
3. There were 2.7 billion mobile messaging app users worldwide in 2020.
Approximately 42% of people own a smartphone and over 87% are using messaging. The number of messaging app users increases over the next few years and it’s estimated to reach 3 billion by 2022.
4. More than 60% of respondents said their use of mobile messaging apps increased during the pandemic.
As the lockdown came into effect in early 2020, people started spending more time on mobile. The daily mobile time in China jumped to 5 hours on average, noting a 30% YoY increase. Italy saw the second-highest jump (11%). Social distancing has also brought about increased use of communication apps. 75% of respondents said they used WhatsApp more, followed by Telegram (60.3%), and Facebook (60.2%).
(News-Medical, Payments Cards & Mobile)
5. Over 80% of consumers consider an immediate response very important when they have a marketing-related or sales question.
Speed matters to customers. When they are having a marketing or sales question, an immediate response (of up to 30 minutes) is paramount for 82%. 90% of consumers would want an immediate response to a support question.
6. Messaging applications have 20% more monthly active users than social networks.
In the last few years, collective downloads of the most popular messengers have outnumbered those of social media apps by a landslide. This is complemented by their usage in greater numbers. This is to be expected, however, with these apps having gone beyond just tools for sending and receiving messages, evolving into multimedia platforms tailored to individual users.
7. Over 41 million mobile messages are sent in a minute.
Thanks to the penetration of fast internet and the availability of smartphones, messaging applications have become a force to be reckoned with in the mobile app market. The initial appeal of the most popular instant messaging apps over SMS was that they were free. Now, with extra features like group chats, voice calls, video calls, and photo sharing, mobile messaging has become one of the main smartphone functions.
8. 51% of consumers prefer messaging over other channels to communicate with companies.
Facebook Messenger introduced Messenger for Business in 2015, allowing users with company Facebook pages to make use of the live chat feature. This feature, now available on other platforms, has become very popular. Messaging also scores higher than phone calls in terms of customer satisfaction with 90%, compared to 77% of customers reporting satisfaction for phone support.
9. 36% of consumers use at least two apps for messaging.
The above stat indicates that different apps fulfill different needs. For instance, the kind of communication that WhatsApp is used for would be very different from that of Snapchat. Research into the usage pattern of the most popular messaging apps in the world has shown that while 36% of messaging app users go with two or more such apps on their phones, 16% use three or more.
10. 35% of consumers would want to see more businesses implementing chatbots.
The latest chatbot stats show that 21% of consumers consider chatbots the easiest way to contact a company and 37% of consumers using chatbots do so when in an emergency. Chatbots are excellent ways to provide quick answers and prompt service. 35% of consumers use chatbots to resolve problems and another 35% to get detailed explanations.
11. 30% of chatbot users on major messaging platforms use the feature to communicate with a business.
Many of the top messengers, such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Telegram, support chatbot integration into their core systems. According to a poll of US consumers, nearly 30% of overall chatbot users on major messaging platforms reported using them to communicate with a business, and over half of millennial users reported being interested in engaging with local businesses, specifically.
12. Group chat and sending media are the two most used messaging features in the US.
While additional features do help increase their appeal, according to a survey of US consumers, group chat and sending of media/emojis are the two main functions used in messenger apps. While 29% of respondents reported using each of these two features, the percentages for other features like gaming, shopping, payments/money transfers, search, location sharing, and delivery were 11%, 9%, 8%, 8%, 6%, and 5%, respectively.
13. The most popular messaging app in the world is WhatsApp.
With two billion monthly active users around the globe, WhatsApp made it to the top on the list of the most relevant messaging apps. Facebook Messenger occupies the second spot, with 1.3 billion monthly active users. Since Facebook also owns WhatsApp, it gives the company an enviable position. The third most used messaging app is WeChat with 1.2 billion monthly active users.
14. Approximately 100 billion messages are exchanged every day on WhatsApp.
Nearly 100 billion messages are exchanged on the platform every day. This marks a huge jump from 2014 when the platform counted fewer than 500 million users who exchanged nearly 50 billion texts a day.
15. WhatsApp is a market leader in 133 countries.
While WhatsApp dominates the global markets, in countries like the US, Canada, and Australia, Facebook Messenger tops the ranking list of the most popular texting apps. Interestingly, if you combine the popularity of all the existing apps in the Facebook universe, there are only 10 countries in the entire world where a Facebook-owned app is not the market leader.
16. WhatsApp for Business has gained 5 million users since its launch in 2019.
The WhatsApp Business app counts more than five million businesses using it to support customers, grow their businesses, and serve their communities all over the world. The latest WhatsApp statistics indicate that 40 million people are viewing a Business Catalog every month.
17. The WhatsApp market penetration is the highest in Kenya, at 97%.
The penetration levels of the most popular texting app are the highest in Kenya, based on data on the most popular messaging apps by country. Next comes South Africa with 96% of internet users, followed by Nigeria with 95% and Argentina with 93%.
18. WhatsApp has 340 million active users in India, by far its largest user base in the world.
The strength of emerging markets is reflected in the user base of WhatsApp. After India, the app’s largest user base is in Brazil, where it has 99 million active users. The USA ranks third, with 68.1 million active users. Indonesia, Mexico, and Russia make up the top six, with 59.9 million, 57.2 million, and 54.1 million active users, respectively.
19. WhatsApp’s highest penetration in the US is in the 30-49 age group.
With 31% usage in the 30-49 group and 28% in the 25-29 group, WhatsApp is the most popular texting app among Americans of working age. Another 20% of the WhatsApp users in the US belong to the 18-24 demographic, whereas 16% are 56+ years old.
Facebook Messenger Statistics
20. Over 1.3 billion people are using Facebook Messenger monthly.
Facebook Messenger continually rolls out new features attracting more and more users. Currently, it has over 1.3 billion monthly active users. With social trends favoring messenger applications over traditional social media platforms, it’s likely that this number will drastically climb.
21. Facebook Messenger has 106.4 million users in the US.
As of June 2019, Facebook Messenger was by far the most popular messaging app in the US and the only one used by more than half of mobile users in the country. Snapchat ranked second in the US, with a reach of 45.98 million, while WhatsApp is only the third most popular messenger with a reach of a little over 25.58 million.
22. 40 million businesses are active on Facebook Messenger.
Chat apps have given businesses a new space for ads which social media experts often leverage. Beyond ads, businesses have started using Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers and easily reach their target audience.
23. Businesses and users exchange 20 billion messages every month.
Facebook Messenger has become one of the most popular messaging apps which businesses often choose to communicate with (potential) customers. Facebook data shows that every month, businesses and individuals exchange 20 billion messages.
24. Video chat on Facebook Messenger grew by 40% in 2019.
In the past few years, Messenger has been introducing several video-related functions that improve consumer experience experiences. In April 2018, Messenger rolled out the 360 Degree Photos & HD Video feature and in March 2019 it introduced the Messenger Lite Video Chat. Currently, 410 million users are using video chat on Facebook Messenger every month. The number climbed by 40% in 2019.
25. Snapchat has 280 million daily active users worldwide.
Since its launch in 2011, Snapchat has become one of the most popular communication apps in the world, particularly among younger generations. As of 2021, the number of daily active Snapchat users has risen to 280 million.
26. Snapchatters create and send five billion snaps every day.
Snapchat data shows 30 daily app opens on average which highlights the app’s engaging nature. Users create and send over five billion snaps daily. Additionally, the average Snapchat user spends 30 minutes on the platform per day.
27. Snapchat has 108 million users in the US.
While social networking apps like Facebook and Instagram have a much higher number of users in the US, among popular texting apps, Snapchat is doing quite well stateside with nearly 108 million users. India is the second-largest country by Snapchat users (74.35 million), followed by France (24.5 million), and the UK (21.1 million).
28. More than 40% of Snapchat’s daily active users are from North America.
As of Q2 2019, Snapchat had 90 million daily active users in North America, 71 million in Europe, and 77 million in other parts of the world. From its early days, the app has been more popular in North America than any other part of the world; however, the chart shows that it has managed to grow its user base in other countries gradually to become one of the most used messaging apps.
29. 81.3% of US internet users in the 18-24 age group use Snapchat.
Snapchat is the most popular instant messenger among young Americans. Snapchat’s penetration is 81.3% among 18-24 year-olds and 66.5% among users aged 12-17. The platform’s penetration decreases as the age increases. 49.2% of 25-34 year-olds use Snapchat, whereas the penetration among 35-44 year-olds is 20.9% and among those aged 45-54 is 11.6%. Among users above 55, Snapchat’s penetration is just 8.2%.
30. Snapchat is the most important social app for 34% of teens in the US.
Note that Snapchat isn’t just one of the most popular messaging apps in the USA for teens. Millennials form a very attractive market for consumer-focused products and services, and Snapchat has made real inroads into this market in the US. It scores well above not just as a messaging app but even social media in general, with TikTok managing second place as 34% of US teens consider it the most important. Instagram finds favor with 25% of American teenagers.
31. 46% of Snapchat users visit the platform several times a day.
Snapchat daily usage is among the highest of any social or message app. 46% of daily users from the US log in to the platform several times a day, making this the most popular IM and defeating Instagram which stands at 42%. 15% of US adults said they use Snapchat once a day and 39% say they use it less often.
32. More than 180 million Snapchat Users engage with augmented reality every day.
Snapchat continually invests in its camera and AR platforms. In 2020, they announced Voice Scan and Local Lenses, launched Lenses in Lens Explorer, as well as Dynamic Lenses, and added new camera partners including PlantSnap, Dog Scanner, and Nutrition Scanner to provide a better experience and further cement their spot as one of the most popular messaging apps around.
33. WeChat has 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide.
While WeChat is more than just a mobile chat app, messaging is one of its key purposes. First released in 2011 by Tencent, WeChat has seen a consistent rise in its market share, even though its growth rate has slowed down. WeChat statistics indicate that the app had 1.06 billion monthly active users in Q2 2018 and 0.96 billion in Q2 2017.
34. More than 50% of WeChat users open the app 10 times a day.
WeChat also scores quite high among the most popular chat apps when it comes to the frequency of engagement of its users. The average daily usage during the COVID-19 outbreak grew by 30%. With a majority of users opening the app at least 10 times daily, the scope for monetization is really strong.
(The Financial Brand, WeChat Wiki)
35. WeChat counts 1.4 million active users in the US.
WeChat holds only a small portion of the US messaging apps market share. WeChat’s competitors including LINE, Telegram, and Kik rank above WeChat. A large proportion of US-based WeChat users is believed to be part of the Chinese diaspora.
36. WeChat users send 45 billion messages every day.
WeChat is an integral part of people’s day, especially in China. Users exchange a whopping 45 billion messages daily. Additionally, they make 410 million video and audio calls and send 6.1 billion voice texts every day. Voice texts are the second most popular type of file shared on Facebook Messenger, after photos but before videos, GIFs, and documents. Most other popular messengers have also begun to offer this feature.
(Harvard Business Review, The Ringer, ZDNet)
37. On WeChat, there are 20 million active Official Accounts.
WeChat Official Accounts are designed to help brands promote content and attract followers, The platform counts over 20 million active Official Accounts. Data says that 50% of WeChat users are following between 10 and 20 Official Accounts.
(WeChat Wiki, Statista)
38. The largest WeChat demographic is under 24 years old.
Users aged 24 or under account for 33.5% of the WeChat user base. Users aged 25-30 account for 25% of WeChat users, followed by the 41+ age group at 19.1%, and the 31-35 demographic at 13.8%. People between 36 and 40 years old account for only 8.6% of users.
Other Popular Chat Apps
39. As of March 2020, Viber has 1.69 billion unique user IDs worldwide.
Viber, also known as Rakuten Viber after its acquisition by Rakuten in 2014, has been a prominent player in the messaging market since 2011. While the number of user IDs is not the same as active users, the rise in this metric underscores the surge in the app’s popularity. Viber statistics show that this number has been climbing at an almost steady pace since 2014-2015 after a slightly faster rate of growth in Viber’s early years. The corresponding figure for March 2020 was 1.69 billion.
40. Viber gets the largest number of its users from Ukraine.
Viber has an interesting mix of nationalities in its user base. At the time of writing, 22.49% of its users are from Ukraine. 22.21% belong to Russia, and 5.40% to Belarus, making Viber one of the most popular text messaging apps in Eastern Europe. After this, the next largest batch—6.70%—comes from the Philippines, followed by 3.66% from Greece.
41. Skype has an average session duration of 4.76 minutes in the US, longer than any other messaging app.
Skype remains the best messaging app in terms of the average duration of user engagement, followed by Telegram (2.45 minutes), Google Hangouts (2.4 minutes), and Kik (2.24 minutes). Snapchat and WhatsApp rank much lower on this criterion with an average session duration of 1.63 minutes and 2.04 minutes, respectively.
42. Skype continues to remain relevant with 300 million monthly active users.
There was a time when Skype was one of the most popular chat apps, especially in a business environment. With new platforms rising in prominence and Skype introducing some unpopular updates, its usage seems to have shrunk. It, however, still boasts a high number of monthly active users and continues to offer interesting features like screen sharing.
43. On average, Google Messenger has nearly 261 monthly sessions per user in the US.
Another criterion to rank messaging applications is the average number of sessions per user per month. In the US, Google Messenger, which is present in all Android phones, ranks at the top among the most used chat apps based on this metric. WhatsApp sees 143.35 sessions on average, while Snapchat sees 122.57 sessions. Facebook Messenger stands much lower at 77.86 sessions.
44. On average, users in the US spend 335.51 minutes a month on Google Messenger.
When considering the average monthly time spent on the apps in the US, Google Messenger comes in third, behind TikTok and Facebook. It still gets the best results among apps used for messaging. The monthly duration spent on WhatsApp is 292.4 minutes. The figures for other popular messenger apps are 274.33 minutes for Telegram, 253.24 minutes for Discord, and 199.95 minutes for Snapchat. Users meanwhile spend 114.95 minutes on Facebook Messenger.
45. Telegram had 400 million monthly active users.
Telegram has not been particularly popular in the US, having reached just about 1.8% of the mobile audience by June 2019, but it has maintained its strength in its home Russia. Apart from Russia, it has also been making inroads in many European markets, particularly Germany where it is one of the most frequently used apps for messaging.
46. Discord’s registered users have increased more than five times between 2017 and 2020.
Discord is one of the youngest contenders among the top messenger apps, but it has already left some more established players behind in terms of usage. The gaming-focused app had just 45 million registered users in mid-2017, while by mid-2020, this number had risen to 300 million. The app is gradually becoming popular outside gaming, as it is increasingly being used by podcasters and social media personalities. Discord also boasts a high rate of user engagement, making it a major challenger to other messengers.
47. LINE has 167 million monthly users in its four main markets.
Another popular messaging app that people outside Asia might have not heard of is LINE, launched by Naver in Japan in 2011. It holds a large portion of the instant messaging market share in Japan but also in Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand, with a monthly active user base of 167 million in just these four countries. Like many of the other most popular messaging apps, LINE also offers a bunch of features beyond messaging, such as payment services, music, manga downloads, etc.
48. KakaoTalk has over 52 million monthly active users, as of 2020.
Operated by the South Korean Kakao Corporation, this IM is particularly popular in its homeland. In fact, of the 52 million global KakaoTalk users, more than 45 million are based in South Korea. Notably, KakaoTalk had hit the 50 million monthly active user mark way back in 2013, but it saw a subsequent decline in usage over the next few years, crossing the 50-million mark again in 2019, which makes it one of the most popular messaging apps in Asia.
49. Launched in 1996, ICQ was the first real instant messaging service, peaking at 100M registered users.
ICQ was acquired by AOL in 1998 and is still around, but it is nowhere as popular as it used to be. Many other services and apps that once could be counted among the top IM applications in the world but have become either not operational or unpopular. The list includes AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, iChat, Google Talk, Gaim, Jabber, and MySpaceIM.
50. iMessage has an estimated 1.3B active users.
iMessage, the messaging app from Apple, is often not included in the list of the most popular messaging apps. Usage data for iMessage is also not easy to come by. However, based on information shared by Apple itself, it is estimated that iMessage has about 1.3 billion active users worldwide, making it as popular as Facebook Messenger, second only to WhatsApp.
While the dominance of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat as the most popular messaging apps among others is hardly surprising, the latest trends point to some strong challengers out there. And as this exciting field continues to evolve, fuelled by the demand of consumers for new features and functionalities, it remains to be seen whether the incumbents will manage to keep up or fall into oblivion.
- Payments Cards & Mobile
- Pew Research
- Messenger News
- Messenger News
- The Financial Brand
- WeChat Wiki
- Harvard Business Review
- The Ringer