It is difficult to recall a day without using the Instant Messaging App service on your Smartphone. In fact, the usage of these apps is on the rise and spreading its reach manifold. The claim is supported by the latest findings from the global study “Connected Life” conducted by TNS Global, a leading research agency. The study highlights more than half of the global internet users (55%) use instant messaging services on a daily basis.
This humungous number reflects the influence of mobile messaging services and the digital behaviour of mobile internet users. The daily usage of instant messaging has soared by 12% in the last one year, making it the most preferred communication channel for private communication.
The report also tracks the weekly usage of messaging apps; around three-fourths of internet users globally (76%) use messaging apps on a weekly basis.
With the increasing adoption of messaging apps, social networking platforms have taken a back seat. According to the TNS report, 48% of Internet users globally use social media on a daily basis. One another report, titled Social Media Marketing 2015, claims that overall social media usage is largely driven by Facebook, accounting for 93% of social media usage. Out of 3.2 billion internet users worldwide, little over 1 billion user Facebook on a daily basis.
Another surprising finding of the study is that the developed markets, including US and UK, lag behind many developing nations of the Asia Pacific. Malaysia tops the list, with 77% of internet users making use of instant message services on a daily basis. On the other hand, when coming to western markets, the UK and US account for 39% and 35% of instant messaging usage, respectively.
In light of the above findings, is it imperative for smartphone manufacturers as well as Instant Messaging app developers to focus on Asia Pacific markets? Yes, it is. Then, let’s dig deep into the Asia Pacific region to trace the reach of Instant Messaging services.
Asia-Pacific Markets: Malaysia & Thailand Rule
The use of the internet and mobile in the Asia-Pacific region is primarily driven by instant messaging services. 61% of 1.56 billion internet users in the region are hooked to instant messaging services, while 43% use social networking sites on a daily basis. To our amazing, Facebook Messenger is used by only 9% of internet users in the region while the top two positions are grabbed by Chinese instant messaging apps WeChat and QQ, which are being used by 48% and 40% of the internet users, respectively. The dominance of Chinese players in the region is no surprise, as China accounts for 43.1% of total internet users in the region. The scenario is no different when it comes to the daily usage of social media. Once again, Moments (WeChat) and QQ networks lead the pack with 33% and 25% of internet users, respectively.
The internet industry of the Asia-Pacific region is dominated by China and India; the duo accounts for 64% of the total internet user base. Despite this, it is Malaysia that has emerged as the most active country in the usage of instant messaging services. 77% of internet users in the country use Instant messaging services on a daily basis compared with 69% and 38% in China and India, respectively. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the favourite messaging apps of Malaysian internet users. Four out of every five internet users in the country use WhatsApp, followed by Facebook Messenger with 41%.
Once again, China and India fail to impress when it comes to social media usage as well. Thailand tops the chart of social media usage as 78% of the country’s internet population – 23.71 million by June 2015 – engage with social media networks on a daily basis. Facebook is the undisputed king of the social network in the country, with 78% of the internet population using it on a daily basis. The immediate second network Instagram is used by a mere 20% of users.
The world’s top two countries by the number of internet users, China and India, fail to impress, especially in social media usage. While in China, a modest 69% of internet users make communicate using instant messaging services on a daily basis, only half of it (39%) use the instant messaging service on a daily basis. The scenario is equally disappointing in both countries when it comes to social media usage; only 41% and 39% of internet users log in to social media networks in China and India, respectively, on a daily basis.
Japan stood last on the list, with only 16% of internet users using instant messaging services on a daily basis.
Global Market: Instant Messaging Beats Social Media
The report clearly pinpoints the rising popularity of instant messaging apps and social media, especially in Asia Pacific markets. In contrast, the western markets fail to engage a substantial number of internet users. Only one-third – not a substantial market, though – of the region’s internet users make use of instant messaging services on a daily basis. While in the UK, only 39% of the internet population uses instant messaging services, the percentage disappointingly decline further to 35% in the US.
Globally instant messaging services are used by 55% of internet users every day, while less than half (48%) use social networks. WeChat and WhatsApp are the most popular instant messaging service, while Facebook and Moments rule when it comes to social media.
Instant Messaging: A New Hub of Communication
The Connected Life study shows instant messaging services are the new wave of action. As internet users are preferring to spend more time on instant messaging services, brands and marketers define their strategies focused on engaging users on the platform as much as possible.
However, unlike social media networks like Facebook or LinkedIn, showcasing the business on instant messaging services is a bit tricky due to the nature of the service. Graphic content brings a greater amount of engagement to a catchy piece of the message. However, the unprecedented adoption and usage of instant messaging services have created a new platform for everyone to communicate, broadcast and market in a secure environment.