The number of daily SMS messages exchanged globally is tough to measure but by some estimates, it may have just been surpassed by the number of WhatsApp message exchanged each day. While speaking on stage during the DLD conference in Germany, WhatsApp CEO confirmed that his cross-platform mobile messaging service now processes more than 50 billion total messages each day. That figure includes 36 billion outbound messages and 18 billion inbound messages. As noted by mobile analyst Benedict Evans, that figure may have surpassed global SMS volumes according to some estimates. Koum also noted that WhatsApp is now home to more than 430 million monthly active users, making it the most popular mobile messaging service in the world by a staggering margin.
Just days ago, WhatsApp announced it had hit 400 million monthly active users globally — a phenomenal achievement. But in the fickle and trendsetting U.S. app market, Apple’s app store shows just how much WhatsApp’s grip on American consumers has weakened. The period right after Christmas is closely followed by the app industry. These are the days when a flood of new iPhones are being activated, many by teenagers getting their first smartphone. The current trends reflect the priorities of a new generation of smartphone owners. More →
WhatsApp just hit a major milestone: 400 million monthly active users for its sleek, streamlined cross-platform messaging service. Most companies would be euphoric about this achievement. But WhatsApp has an ax to grind. The third sentence in the blog post announcing the massive achievement takes a seriously cranky tone: “We bet that if our team of engineers could make messaging fast, simple, and personal, we could charge people directly for the service without having to rely on annoying banner ads, game promotions, or all those other distracting ‘features’ that come with many messaging apps.” More →
A new report by On Device Research hammers in the challenge Facebook is facing right now. Confirming other reports on the topic, ODR finds that Facebook usage is heaviest among users aged 51 years and older. In sharp contrast, WhatsApp usage peaks among the 25-39 year olds. In the 16-24 year old bracket, the percentage of Americans using Facebook on a weekly basis outpaces WhatsApp users by the slimmest of margins at 40% to 37%. But the most interesting finding in the ODR report concerns the surprisingly small overlap between Facebook and WhatsApp users. More →
A day after BlackBerry finally managed to push its BBM for Android and BBM for iPhone apps out the door, WhatsApp fired a warning shot to remind the struggling smartphone vendor of what it’s up against. BlackBerry touted on its BBM Twitter account that it activated more than 5 million new BBM users on Android and the iPhone in less than 8 hours, which is certainly an impressive feat. WhatsApp, however, now has 350 million monthly active users. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum made the announcement on stage during a keynote presentation at the Nokia World 2013 conference, and that figure is up substantially from the 300 million monthly active users WhatsApp had just over two months ago in August. As the cross-platform mobile messaging market becomes increasingly crowded, WhatsApp is showing no signs of slowing down despite its refusal to embrace the new revenue channels being exploited by rivals, such as mobile payments and gaming platforms.
Even as rival messaging apps such as WeChat, LINE, Kik and Tango have made progress in various markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia, it has seemed that WhatsApp has retained an iron grip on the United States market. It may be below Facebook, Twitter and Vine on the iOS download chart, but it still ranks above Kik, Viber and Facebook Messenger. LINE popped up the U.S. download rankings briefly a while ago, backed by a massive marketing push, but it fell down quickly after the ad spend ended. More →
On Tuesday night, WhatsApp announced the addition of voice messaging to its service. In some ways, this news only underlined just how narrow the feature palette of the world’s leading messaging app has started to look. Other messaging apps have expanded functionality at a giddy pace recently. LINE and KakaoTalk have turned into game and publishing platforms, WeChat is morphing into a payment service and Kik has jumped on the sticker bandwagon. Amidst this Carnival, WhatsApp has remained resolutely chaste, focusing tightly on texting and photo-sharing. This pared down formula has worked well in the sense that the app has a massive lead in active user base in most countries in the world. But here’s the rub: WhatsApp is behind in several top app markets. More →
The triumph LINE has had with translating expensive TV campaigns into breakthrough success in three key markets — Japan, Spain and now India — has been a warning shot for other messaging apps. The era of viral success that defined the WhatsApp narrative may be drawing to an end. From now on, messaging app vendors are likely to be forced into an expensive and escalating marketing wars that span dozens of countries. More →
In four years, WhatsApp has grown from a small startup to one of the largest messaging platforms in the world. According to The Wall Street Journal, WhatsApp now has more than 250 million active users. In comparison, Twitter has more than 200 million monthly active users, while Microsoft’s Skype service has 280 million. The company also revealed earlier this month that its users recently sent and received 27 billion messages in 24 hours. Analyst Chetan Sharma noted that in the past 12 months, WhatsApp handled more messages than all U.S. wireless carriers combined. Sharma also said that the same is true for all carriers in China, which is the world’s largest mobile market. The company must prepare for new challenges, however. More →
WhatsApp has become one of the world’s staples in mobile messaging and it’s not done growing yet. WhatsApp announced on its Twitter account this week that it processed a record 27 billion messages in a single day, with roughly 10 billion messages sent and 17 billion messages received. WhatsApp said just two months ago that its record for messages in a day was around 20 million and that it had around 200 million users, which makes it even larger than Twitter. WhatsApp and rival messaging apps LINE and KakaoTalk have been particularly popular on Android recently and the market for messaging apps only seems to be growing as more consumers in emerging markets are poised to buy smartphones for the first time.
The new Distimo report on mobile app spending patterns offers some interesting regional tidbits. Globally, Google Play continues steadily chipping away at the huge lead Apple has built in mobile app revenue generation. In April 2013, the Google Play vs. iOS app revenue balance stood at 27% to 73%. One year earlier, it was 19% to 81%. There is still a long way to go before we see a 50/50 split, but it’s now looking as though Google might get there in a couple of years. However, in certain major mobile markets, Google has already caught up with Apple. Perhaps the most fascinating set of figures concerns WhatsApp. More →
A few weeks ago, Nokia launched a WhatsApp phone that featured a special button that gives direct access to the messaging app. Now Path has cut a deal with Sprint to become a preloaded app in selected Samsung and HTC phones. The messaging app rivalry between half a dozen of major contenders is heating up as WhatsApp, Path, LINE, Tango, KakaoTalk, Viber and Kik vie for attention. Until now, major carriers have resisted supporting messaging apps too much, afraid of undermining their SMS volumes. More →
What makes Onavo’s AppRank chart so interesting is the sharp contrast it reveals compared to download charts. AppRank tells us what portion of iPhone owners use an app during a month; it describes actual engagement rather than how many consumers have downloaded an app. This is a crucial distinction, because consumers quickly lose interest in most apps they download, yet certain apps with small download volumes turn out to be highly addictive. The most important low-volume, high-engagement app cluster right now consists of new messaging apps gaining serious traction. Both Viber and Kik are hitting 5% engagement levels in America and are growing rapidly. More →