The popularity of instant messaging (IM) has soared over the past year, with 12% point uplift in daily usage as more people opt for closed messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber. Over half of internet users worldwide (55%) are now using instant messaging every day, while 76% are using it on a weekly basis, according to Connected Life, a study of over 60,000 internet users worldwide from global research consultancy TNS. Despite this, social platforms are still rising in popularity with 6% uplift in daily usage.
“The new social frontier: Instant messaging usage jumps 12% globally as more people opt for closed platforms,” said the study, whose participants were in the age group of 16-65. The sample size of the study in India was 5,306.
The report further states, “Instant Messaging is particularly dominant in emerging ‘mobile-first’ markets, with daily usage rising even higher in China (69%), Brazil (73%), Malaysia (77%) and South Africa (64%). By contrast, some Western markets are lagging behind, including the UK (39%) and the US (35%).”
Indian Internet users show the same trends, WhatsApp owned by Facebook is the dominant messaging app in the country and Facebook bears the torch of the most popular social network. While 56% of Internet users in India use WhatsApp every day, 51% use Facebook, says the study.
“This new-found excitement of largely new mobile-Internet users has made India one of the highest globally in average daily number of messages exchanged,” said Parijat Chakraborty, executive director, TNS India to LiveMint.
The TNS findings echo the same data sentiment that was also released by Pew Research Center’s 2015 Mobile Messaging and Social Media Report. The report tracked the social media and mobile messaging usage of adults living in the US. While Facebook has been dominant but growth has slowed and has only grown 5 percentage points since 2012.
The drop in active usage of Facebook also emerged into GlobalWebIndex’s state of major social networks in Q1 2015. Yet Facebook has the most members and active users; it is the only major network to have seen a drop in active usage during the last year (-9%). And, on a monthly basis, more people are visiting YouTube (81%) than Facebook (73%) said GlobalWebIndex.
However, Simon Kemp wrote on We Are Social blog at the release of Global Digital Statshot, August 2015 that Facebook is still adding around half a million new users every day, or almost 6 new users every second. “The world’s favourite social platform shows little sign of losing its grip either, with 180 million new users joining the community over the past 12 months, up 13.7% year-on-year.”
In India the dominance of Facebook and WhatsApp was also reflected by We Are Social August findings. While Facebook and WhatsApp has kept dominating the space, growth of Google+ has been interesting, especially at a time when it is dismantling itself. Additionally, the report also stated that men dominate the Facebook horizon. While Facebook remains the most popular social network in the 20-29 age bracket, teens are really not that keen on the network.
The dominance of Facebook and WhatsApp are clearly led by the growth of mobile in the country. More than 89 million users access Facebook via smartphone followed by feature phone which stands at 17 million.
Ironically, despite India being the biggest market for Facebook after US, the social network still has a revenue problem in the country. Facebook earns 15 cents per user in India every quarter, compared to the $7 to $8 it makes on each U.S. user.