WeChat emerges as the fastest growing messaging application in India and the leader in APAC. WhatsApp is currently the top messaging app in India.

GlobalWebIndex ResearchResearch by GlobalWebIndex (GWI), the world’s largest multi-market research company specialising in online consumer behaviour, covering 32 markets and representing 90% of the global Internet audience, unveils that conversations are now moving from traditional social networks towards mobile networking. The mobile messaging app audience continues to steadily grow, with 46% in the APAC region using these services (which means that two thirds of the world’s mobile instant messengers are located in Asia).

According to GWI, the top reasons for this surge in usage includes messaging apps being free (45%), being quicker than using social networks or text messages to speak to people (41%) and lots of friends using them (41%). GWI revealed the top messaging apps include WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Skype.

“Mobile messaging tools have experienced substantial growth during this recent period, particularly amongst the younger generation. Social networks are now being treated more passively, meaning the number of people messaging friends on social networks is now declining. People see mobile messaging apps as an efficient way to communicate. We are expecting the number of mobile messaging users to continue to grow in the coming quarters,” stated Jason Mander, Head of Trends at GlobalWebIndex.

Other key GWI Q3 2014 research findings include

  • Mobile networking is booming: 40% of global Internet users are now using mobile messaging apps, rising to 46% in the APAC region.
  • Free is still attractive: Top reasons for using messaging apps include them being free (45%); enabling direct messaging on one-to-one basis (31%); and fun to use (27%).

The rise of messaging apps in India

In India there has been a 113% increase in the number of people utilizing mobile messaging tools since 2013. According to GWI’s study, smartphones are vital to Internet users in India, where 79% of the online population own a smartphone. Furthermore, users of mobile messengers are young, affluent and highly active online.

In Q3 2014, 83% of online Indians accessed the Internet via a mobile, resulting in the increased popularity of mobile messaging apps. Top mobile messaging apps in India include WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger. Among these, WeChat has experienced significant growth with an active user base increase of 2364% in India, and 156% globally, between Q1 2013 to Q3 2014. Even though WhatsApp currently remains the top messaging app in India, WeChat has quickly become a dominant messaging app globally, used by nearly a quarter (23%) of the world’s Internet users, along with an impressive 39% users within the APAC region actively using the app.