Global messaging app trends: 16% rise in one year


An extra 243 million mobile phone users worldwide will start using mobile messaging apps this year, with Facebook Messenger and WeChat leading the way, according to new research.


eMarketer projects that 1.82 billion people across the globe will use apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat in 2017, an increase of 15.5% year over year.

Through at least 2020, this growth will be widespread, occurring in each of the 22 countries included in the estimates.


-Globally, almost a quarter of the world’s population will use a mobile messenger service in 2017, equating to 1.82 billion people according to eMarketer’s latest forecast of worldwide mobile messaging users. Continued growth is expected and by the end of the forecast period in 2021, more than 32.0% of the global population will be using chatapps.

-As expected mobile messaging is particularly prevalent amongst smartphone users – this year more than three-quarters (76.3%) of all smartphone users across the globe will be using a chat apps.


-In France 25.2 million people will use a mobile messaging service in 2017 accounting for 38.2% of the population, and almost 65.0% of smartphone users according to eMarketer’s latest forecast of worldwide mobile messaging users.

-The chat app sector in France will grow by more than 12.0% this year. By 2021 almost half (48.9%) of the population, and more than 72.0% of smartphone users in France will use a mobile messaging app.


-In Germany, 28.8 million people will regularly use a chat app service in 2017 representing more than 35.0% of the population and 55.6% of smartphone users.

-The mobile messaging app sector is expected to grow by 12.5% this year – by 2021 46.0% of the population, and almost two-thirds of smartphone users in Germany will be using a chat app regularly.


-Elsewhere within Western Europe, Norway has the highest penetration rate – with 56.3% of the population. Chat apps will continue to grow in popularity and by the end of 2021 eMarketer expects penetration to reach 64.0% of the population in Norway equating to 3.5 million people.
-Chat apps are currently used by more than 72.0% of smartphone users in Norway and eMarketer expects this to rise to 78.0% by 2021.

Cathy Boyle, eMarketer’s Principal Analyst, Mobile commented: “While the attraction to mobile messaging apps is a global phenomenon, the bulk of the new users (63%) will come from five countries—China, India, US, Indonesia and Brazil. Additionally, these five countries will be home to the largest number of mobile messaging apps users in total.”

Listen to an interview with eMarketer looking at global app messenger trends here:


eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. Each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.

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