US adults are spending more time with messaging apps on their mobile devices than ever before, and it doesn’t look like they will be slowing down any time soon. This is per new data from Insider Intelligence (formerly Business Insider Intelligence and eMarketer).
In the past few years, time spent with mobile messaging apps has been slowly increasing among US adults, rising from a per-day average of 18 minutes in 2018 to 20 minutes in 2019. That’s expected to jump this year to an average of 24 minutes per day, a 20% relative rise, likely fueled in some part by the pandemic. US adults are then expected to maintain this amount of time with messaging apps for the next couple of years, as well.
The use of mobile messaging has been affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic, with Insider Intelligence quoting April survey data from GlobalWebIndex that shows 19% of US internet users have spent more time on messaging apps due to the crisis.
However the pandemic is not solely responsible for the increase in time spent with mobile messaging this year. Insider Intelligence found that engagement on apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp was already on the rise prior to the pandemic.
The firm also reports a shift away from traditional texting to these messaging apps. This can be seen with the increased use of WhatsApp in recent years. Pew Research data shows that WhatsApp was only used by about one-fifth of US adults in 2019. However, more recent data from Edison Research and Triton Digital shows that usage of the messaging service has increased this year, at least among 12-34-year-olds.
Although adults are spending more time messaging through apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, there are indications that these are potentially being underutilized by social media marketers.
The rest of the analysis can be viewed online here.
About the Data: Results include all time spent with mobile messaging apps regardless of multitasking.