WhatsApp dominates in South Africa

A new report shows which of the world’s mobile chat apps are most favoured by users – with WhatsApp dominating in South Africa.

Global Web Index has released its 2014 Mobile Messaging report, showing that use of messaging apps have increased by 30% since 2012, adding pressure to text messages as a mode of communication.

The findings are based on the usage of instant messaging tools by 600 million adults aged 16-64 across 32 markets.

Excluding China, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Skype were rated the most-used chat apps, globally.

WhatsApp is currently being acquired by Facebook for a record $19 billion – making the top-two most used apps outside of China fall under the same banner.

Top messaging apps
Top messaging apps

“Outside of China, WhatsApp has now overtaken Facebook’s own Messenger service to become the top global chat app – being used by nearly 40% of the mobile internet audience each month,” GWI said.

However taking all markets into account, the group noted that there’s no single service that has achieved a completely global reach.

GWI found that WhatsApp was most popular amongst South Africans, with 78% of users making use of the app within a month period.

This was the highest rate across all regions measured.

At last measure, in February, research firm World Wide Worx’s SA Social Media Landscape 2014 report pegged the the total number of SA WhatsApp users at 10.6 million, at least. Other industry information puts the number closer to 15 million users.

Around 45% of South Africans used Facebook Messenger in the same period, while WeChat garnered the third largest support from South Africans with 18% of the tracked population using the app.

Total Facebook use in South Africa was at about 11-million at the end of 2013 (not necessarily reflecting Facebook Messenger users).

Top messaging apps in SA
Top messaging apps in SA

The survey showed that mobile chat apps are quite heavily localised, with Line proving to far outweigh any other chat app in markets such as Taiwan, while Tencent’s WeChat dominated China.

SnapChat was most popular in the the UK and US markets – while Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp were the top two apps in most of the markets.

In a survey conducted amongst 500 WhatsApp users, GWI found that instant messaging outweighed text messaging in popularity due to its ease of use (particularly in sharing images and videos) as well as low cost.

However, text messages were still popular because they could be sent without an internet connection, and because a lot of contracts and mobile plans offer unlimited amounts, for free.

Instant messaging on mobile
Instant messaging on mobile

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WhatsApp dominates in South Africa