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WhatsApp top messaging app in India; WeChat takes global lead

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WhatsApp top messaging app in India; WeChat takes global lead

Mobile messaging apps or social messaging apps have been the biggest threat for the existing social networks. There has been an ongoing proliferation of dozens of messaging apps. To top it all, the new trend that is catching up is the launch of enterprise messaging apps. With the likes WhatsApp, WeChat, and LINE making headlines over buyouts, investments and rising market share, India is adapting to the new way of communication in a much bigger fashion.

Growth trajectory

According to the GlobalWebIndex (GWI) study, WhatsApp is the top messaging application in India with 52 per cent market share, followed by Facebook Messenger with 42 per cent, Skype with 37 per cent and WeChat with 26 per cent share, the study said. Viber stood at fifth spot with 18 per cent share and Line stood at sixth position with 12 per cent.

However, globally, WeChat has quickly become a dominant messaging app, used by 23 per cent of global internet users, along with 39 per cent users within the APAC region actively using the app, according to GlobalWebIndex (GWI) study.

WeChat grew most rapidly with 2356 per cent growth, followed by WhatsApp which grew 334 per cent between 2013 and 2014. Facebook Messenger and Skype have seen 192 per cent and 190 per cent growth in users, respectively during the same period.

India story

WeChat users in India are some of the most active in terms of what they do on the mobile internet. 64 per cent of WeChat's users have recently purchased a product via their mobile, while 68 per cent of WeChat user are regularly uploading photos via their mobiles and 58 per cent of users have recently made a VoIP call via mobile, the study said.

The study found that free usage is one of the top reasons for messaging apps.

In the third quarter of 2014, 83 per cent of online Indians accessed the Internet via a mobile, resulting in the increased popularity of mobile messaging apps, the report said. The report added that 79 per cent of the online population owns a smartphone. 40 per cent of global Internet users are now using mobile messaging apps, while 46 per cent in the APAC region are using these apps.

Youth driver

According to Jason Mander, head of trends at GlobalWebIndex, “Mobile messaging tools have experienced substantial growth during this recent period, particularly amongst the younger generation. Social networks are now being treated more passively, meaning the number of people messaging friends on social networks is now declining.”

The study said that the use of mobile messaging applications has increased 113 per cent year-over-year in 2014.

“People see mobile messaging apps as an efficient way to communicate. We are expecting the number of mobile messaging users to continue to grow in the coming quarters,” Mander added.

“The reasons behind the explosion of mobile chat tools are pretty clear to see. Firstly, smartphones have quickly established themselves as an integral part of our daily routines and communication behaviors; globally, 80 per cent of online adults now own a smartphone and three quarters say that they are regularly using the mobile internet. Secondly, and just as significantly, internet users value the fact the messaging apps are free (45 per cent), quick/easy to use (41 per cent), private (29 per cent) and fun (27 per cent). With people no longer wanting to share everything with everyone on social networks, mobile messaging apps have become the ideal place for both one-to-one and group conversations,” pointed out Mander.

Competitive edge

Recently, social news and entertainment site BuzzFeed announced a content partnership with WeChat. In the last six to eight months, WeChat India has tied up with various content partners, including ScoopWhoop Media, e-commerce firms Flipkart and Amazon and news site BBC.

In a simultaneous, India-centric move, WhatsApp announced its intent to keep its service free in India. WhatsApp charges users in developed markets in North America and Europe an annual $1 fee, but has not implemented it for about 70 million users in India because of low debit and credit card penetration that would hamper online payments.

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