Which Messaging Apps Are Most Popular – And Most Used?

October 28, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Europe & Middle East | Mobile Phone | Privacy & Security | Social Media | Youth & Gen X

metrixlab-most-installed-messaging-apps-smartphones-oct2016The US differs from some European countries when it comes to the popularity of various messaging apps, according to new survey results from MetrixLab. Based on a survey of more than 4,000 smartphone users in the US, UK, France and Netherlands, the study indicates that WhatsApp is less popular in US than in Europe, while Snapchat has more popularity stateside.

Specifically, just 31% of respondents in the US reported having installed WhatsApp on their smartphone, about half the 4-country average of 61%. By contrast, 27% of smartphone users in the US have installed Snapchat, a rate 50% higher than the multi-country average (18%).

Those results are largely supported by recent research from the Mobile Ecosystem Forum, in which the US drastically trailed the global average in WhatsApp preference, but was ahead in favoring Snapchat.

There is much less variety in install rates for the other messaging apps detailed in the MetrixLab survey: Facebook Messenger is installed on 55-71% of respondents’ devices; Skype on 32-44%; iMessage on 22-30%; and Viber on 9-14%.

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Installation on a device doesn’t always correspond with frequent usage, though. WhatsApp boasts the heaviest usage: 62% of respondents with the app installed on their devices claim to use it on a daily basis. The next-most commonly used app is iMessage, with half of its users reporting daily usage. Interestingly, while Facebook Messenger is the most-installed app (63% of respondents), only about one-quarter (27%) of those claim to use it on a daily basis.


In other results from the survey:

  • Almost 6 in 10 Gen Y respondents say they know WhatsApp “really well” (compared to 47% of respondents overall), and 54% feel the same way about Facebook Messenger (versus 42% of respondents overall);
  • WhatsApp is clearly the preferred app if consumers need to send a message immediately, and it’s also the most highly recommended app by those with it installed;
  • Snapchat is considered to be the least secure app, with only about one-quarter agreeing that their data is secure, compared to 48% for WhatsApp; and
  • Gen Y respondents would be the most likely (30%) to pay for an ad-free version of their favorite messaging app were it to use in-app advertising.

About the Data: The results are based on a MetrixLab survey of more than 4,000 smartphone users aged 18-70. The survey was fielded from August 1-14, 2016. Gen Y respondents are defined as “the generation born in the 1980s to late 1990s.”


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