Number of messaging app users to surpass 3 billion in 2021

The number of monthly messaging app users worldwide is expected to increase by 6.1% Y/Y to 3.09 billion in 2021, according to eMarketer’s latest report.

The company found that there was a direct proportion between the number of mobile internet users and the number of messaging app users in most of the countries it examined for the research, except the United States. 

In 10 of the countries examined, 90% of mobile internet users were found to use messaging apps. In another 12 countries, this rate is approximately 75% or more.

However, only 60.4% of internet users in the United States use messaging apps, probably because of the availability of free & unlimited SMS message packages and widespread use of iPhones. 

Image Source: Insider Intelligence

The research also found that there has been a decline in WhatsApp’s user growth in many countries analyzed for the research and that’s largely because of the controversial privacy policy update the company first announced in January and said those who don’t accept it wouldn’t be able to use the app anymore. 

The update, which would mandate data-sharing with Facebook and Facebook companies, soon came under fire of criticism. Fearing that their personal messages would be shared with Facebook, millions of users deleted WhatsApp and started looking for WhatsApp alternatives such as Telegram and Signal.

Meanwhile, the company also faced legal challenges in many countries such as Germany where it was blocked from applying the policy

In addition to WhatsApp, Facebook’s Messenger app will also experience a decline in user growth, according to eMarketer. The strongest decline will be in Japan and South Korea where the number of Facebook users has fallen sharply in the last few years.

Even in countries like India where the social media giant has a large influence, Messenger’s user growth is expected to decline this year.

Written by Sophie Blake

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