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New research by GlobalWebIndex reveals the major effect that the growth of mobile instant messaging (IM) users are having on other forms of mobile communications.

In its Q2 Mobile Messaging Report, GlobalWebIndex found that many of the conversations and behaviors that used to take place on “traditional” social networks like Facebook are being absorbed by the likes of Snapchat, WhatsApp and WeChat.

The full research report is downloadable on request via [email protected] with some of the key findings given below:

  • Drop in usage by 11% for SMS and 17% for MMS
  • Hundreds of millions are still sending them, but they are no longer the default go-to choices they once were.

WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger knocked from top spot in 8/33 countries surveyed, with the heaviest losses occurring in the APAC region

  • LINE is the fastest growing app of all over the last year, displacing WhatsApp and Messenger in three of the countries surveyed.
  • LINE takes the top spot in its home nation of Japan, as well as Taiwan and Thailand.
    Kakao Talk is the clear number one in South Korea.
  • BBM is ahead in Indonesia.
  • WeChat is dominant in China.
  • Zalo is popular in Vietnam

16-34s dominate instant messaging, and teens love Snapchat:

  • Likelihood of engaging with mobile IM services decreases in line with age.
  • Snapchat has the youngest audience, with 84% of users being under 35. It is now more popular than Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp among US teens.
  • 25-34s post the highest figures of all as they are most likely to own smartphones
  • 16-24s spend the most time each day on the mobile web.

Facebook Messenger & WhatsApp dominate, outside of China

  • Although WhatsApp has the biggest registered audience, Facebook Messenger came out top as the most popular app of all by actively engaging the greater number of users on a regular basis. WhatsApp’s official numbers are being inflated because many people have it installed on multiple phones, but have to register each one separately
  • Boost for Messenger due to users being forced by Facebook into using the app rather than the main Facebook app.

Of all the social networks, Instagrammers are the most likely to use chat apps

  • Still, 80% of Facebook users are active, showing just how many users of all social networks are using IM tools.
  • People are using Facebook in more passive ways, without actively posting or interacting with other users.

WeChat clear leader in the Chinese market

  • 3 in 5 online adults in China are active users of WeChat.
  • QQ Messenger following behind on 56%.
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By Josh Robert Nay

Josh Robert Nay is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TruTower. He has worked in the telecommunications industry since 2003 and specializes in GSM based technology. He also uses (too many) VoIP apps and is a long-time user of BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phone. He adores anything having to do with space exploration and writing. In addition to the links below, he can be found on LinkedIn and can also be found on his website at