mobile messaging app users in India

The number of mobile messaging app users in India is growing steadily; all thanks to the adoption of Smartphones and mobile Internet. Interestingly, the growth of mobile messaging apps in India has now surpassed the growth of social networking sites. Let’s take a look at the changing landscape of the mobile messaging app market on Indian grounds.

According to a new report from eMarketer, over a quarter of the world’s population is estimated to use mobile messaging apps by 2019. By the end of 2016 itself, user growth is predicted to increase by 16% reaching to almost 1.4 billion users, worldwide.

The report also claims that Asia-Pacific region has now more than 805 million mobile messaging app users, accounting for more than 50% of all mobile messaging app user-base, worldwide. China holds almost half the number of users in this region, with India and Indonesia following suite. Indonesia is predicted to have roughly 52 million users by the end of this year, a YoY increase of 21% from 2015. Thus, the estimated number of messaging app users in Indonesia will rise to 86 million by 2020.

Mobile Internet Users vs. Mobile Messaging App Users

E-marketer’s report also states that the number of mobile messaging app users in India is expected to top the 133 million by the end of 2016, with a YoY growth of around 24.5%. And there will be nearly 231 million people will be using the mobile messaging app in India by 2020.

The numbers make it clear; While the percentage of mobile internet users in India remains between 46-48% of the mobile subscriptions size in the next five year, the gap between mobile internet users and mobile app users will be squeezing constantly with each passing year till 2020.

“One reason mobile messaging apps have taken off is because they are a cheaper alternative to SMS/MMS,” said Cathy Boyle, principal analyst, mobile at eMarketer.

Mobile Messaging Apps vs Social Media Apps

The present generation needs instant messaging, and mobile messaging apps are the way to go! The growing popularity of messaging apps like Whatsapp, SnapChat and Facebook Messenger just goes on to prove the earlier statement.

According to Statista, among the top five social media apps ranked by the number of active users globally, four are mobile messaging apps – Whatsapp, QQ, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

In India, the scenario is no different. WhastApp is more popular than any other social media app. According to a study published by TNS Global, 56% of internet users in India use WhatsApp compared to 28% of those who use Facebook Messenger. The figures are a bit old but the trend has not changed much.

Reasons for Mobile Messaging Popularity

The popularity of messaging apps isn’t surprising. Mobile phones had gained momentum solely due to the ‘messaging’ feature. So, it is evident that people will want to opt for better options that makes communication easy and instant. According to Apptentive, a research firm, this also means avoiding SMS charges and paving the way for easier communication.

Further, the report attributes this shift in trend to social media fatigue, wherein people are tired of too much social interaction and prefer private conversations with loved ones and acquaintances. It also highlights that the end-to-end user encryption security now provided by many messaging apps is also a key factor for the increasing popularity of messaging apps. Encryption means security, and also relief that only the sender and receiver can read the messages they communicate.

Nowadays messaging apps come with a lot of extra features like group videos, music, bill payments, emoticons, appointments, traffic reports and more. These add-ons are good enough to appeal users than social media apps. The best feature of all is the chat bots used for interaction. Further, messaging apps provide a good platform for businesses and marketers to reach out to their customers in an easy environment.

Mobile messaging apps are expected to penetrate the India mobile market deep enough in the next few years. SMS is almost killed by these messaging apps. As the penetration of mobile internet grows in the country, it would be interesting to see if social media apps meet the same fate because of the rise of mobile messaging apps in the future!