The rise of messaging apps is the most explosive tech growth story in recent memory.
Between March 2013 and March 2014, the messaging app market — as represented by the top seven apps — expanded by 148%, adding 900 million users. While photo-sharing and Instagram also saw explosive growth at around the same time, messaging is a much wider and more international category, with many players finding success and ways to monetise their services.
The chart and data are from a new report from BI Intelligence, which takes a deep dive into the messaging wars with exclusive estimates for monthly active users for all the top global messaging platforms — including some like Snapchat and LINE, which do not release MAU numbers. The chart above and the data behind it are downloadable exclusively for BI Intelligence subscribers.
There’s a few other dynamics that are worth noting, too:
- WhatsApp blew past all the messaging app competition in mid-2013 and never looked back.
- By February of this year, WhatsApp already had 100 million more monthly active users than its nearest competitor, China-based WeChat.
- Facebook Messenger is still several times smaller than the top three messaging apps. Despite its global footprint and deep integration with Facebook, it’s smaller than Japan-based LINE, which is most popular in East and Southeast Asia and a handful of other countries.
- Snapchat, which only recently incorporated video calls, is running neck-and-neck with messaging and voice calling app, Tango.