Adrian Peter Tse
Oct 6, 2015

Instant messaging use soars globally, Asia leads

ASIA-PACIFIC - Instant messaging (IM) usage has increased by 12 per cent globally in the last year as more people opt for closed messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

Instant messaging use soars globally, Asia leads

According to Connected Life, a study of over 60,000 internet users worldwide from global research consultancy TNS, approximately three out of five internet users in Asia-Pacific are now using instant messaging every day, while 82 per cent are doing so on a weekly basis.

Despite this, social platforms are still rising in popularity with a 6 per cent growth in daily usage globally since 2014.

Instant messaging has achieved high numbers of daily users across much of Asia-Pacific, with 77 per cent of those in Malaysia, 73 per cent in Hong Kong and 69 per cent in China using an IM platform daily. By contrast, the UK (39 per cent) and the US (35 per cent) are lagging behind.

According to the study, Facebook has maintained its position as the world’s most popular social platform. Almost one third of global internet users say they use it every day.

However, many Asia-Pacific markets see far greater use, with 78 per cent of people in Thailand, 75 per cent in Taiwan and 72 per cent in Hong Kong using Facebook daily. WeChat and QQ Space are the most popular social networks in China, with 69 per cent and 37 per cent respectively using them daily.

While IM popularity is rising, traditional social media platforms are still holding strong.

Instant messenger vs. daily social-network usage: 

Country Daily IM use Daily social network use
Global 55% 48%
APAC 61% 43%
Australia 40% 50%
China 69% 41%
Hong Kong 73% 67%
India 38% 38%
Indonesia 48% 54%
Japan 16% 24%
Malaysia 77% 75%
New Zealand 46% 56%
Philippines 35% 28%
Singapore 76% 64%
South Korea 61% 47%
Taiwan 69% 69%
Thailand 74% 78%
Vietnam 49% 67%

Although the newer platforms attract a smaller audience overall, the study shows that these users are often far more active.  

For example, 40 per cent of Vine users and 44 per cent of Snapchat users globally say they watch branded content on those platforms every week, while 43 per cent of WeChat’s user base use it to access information and services about a company. 

“Apps like Snapchat, WeChat, Line and WhatsApp are sweeping up new users every day,” said Joseph Webb, global director of Connected Life. “Particularly younger consumers who want to share experiences with a smaller, specific group, rather than using public, mainstream platforms like Facebook or Twitter.”

Webb said that brands need to tap into the growing popularity of IM and other emerging platforms as people’s online habits become more fragmented. He cautioned that brands also need to be very careful when doing this.

“Instant messaging is a more closed medium, meaning it is essential to share limited content that is genuinely relevant and valuable,” said Webb. Further research from TNS showed that although IM users are wary of brands interrupting them, they are more concerned with how content they share impacts their own image.

Whilst IM is becoming a part of daily life, the study also indicated there are still no clear leaders and that a wide range of platforms take the lead in different markets.

“Marketers need to be constantly alert to where their consumer is spending time and ensure that they engage meaningfully and appropriately with them on the most used platforms,” Webb added.   

Top instant messaging and social networks by region and country:

Country

Top three social networks (daily use by all internet users)

Top instant messaging platforms (daily use by all internet users)

Global

1. Facebook 30%
2. Moments (WeChat) 20%
3. QQ Space 15%
1. WeChat 29%
2. WhatsApp 17%
3. Facebook Messenger 15%

APAC

1. Moments (WeChat) 33%
2. QQ Space 25%
3. Facebook 16%
1. WeChat 48%
2. QQ 40%
3. Facebook messenger 9%

Australia

1. Facebook 53%
2. Instagram 16%
3. Twitter 11%
1. Facebook Messenger 23%
2. iMessage 10%
3. Whatsapp 10%

China

1. Moments (WeChat) 49%
2. QQ Space 37%
3. Weibo 21%
1. WeChat 69%
2. QQ 60%
3. Sina UC 6%

Hong Kong

1. Facebook 72%
2. Google+25%
3. Instagram 19%
1. WhatsApp 81%
2. WeChat 31%
3. Facebook Messenger 29%

India

1. Facebook 51%
2. LinkedIn 3%
3. Snapchat 1%
1. WhatsApp 56%
2. Facebook Messenger 28%
3. Yahoo! Messenger 4%

Indonesia

1. Facebook 53%
2. Twitter 20%
3. Google+ 18%
1. Blackberry Messenger 64%
2. WhatsApp 33%
3. Facebook Messenger 18%

Japan

1. Facebook 15%
2. Twitter 15%
3. Instagram 4%
1. Line 16%
2. Facebook Messenger 3%
3. Skype 2%

Malaysia

1. Facebook 73%
2. Google+36%
3. Instagram 25%
1. WhatsApp 81%
2. Facebook Messenger 41%
3. WeChat 33%

New Zealand

1. Facebook 59%
2. Google+ 11%
3. Snapchat 9%
1. Facebook Messenger 23%
2. WhatsApp 5%
3. Viber 5%

Philippines

1. Facebook 45%
2. Google+ 14%
3. Instagram 6%
1. Facebook Messenger 37%
2. Yahoo! Messenger 8%
3. Skype 7%

Singapore

1. Facebook 64%
2. Instagram 25%
3. Twitter 17%
1. WhatsApp 79%
2. Facebook Messenger 19%
3. Line 14%

South Korea

1. Facebook 33%
2. Kakao Story 30%
3. Kakao Group 21%
1. Kakao Talk 73%
2. Nateon 9%
3. Facebook Messenger 9%

Taiwan

1. Facebook 75%
2. Google+22%
3. Instagram 8%
1. Line 76%
2. Facebook Messenger 37%
3. Skype 12%

Thailand

1. Facebook 78%
2. Instagram 20%
3. Google+ 16%
1. Line 79%
2. Facebook Messenger 48%
3. BeeTalk 3%

Vietnam

1. Facebook 66%
2. Google+24%
3. Instagram 2%
1. Facebook Messenger 48%
2. Zalo 40%
3. Viber 8%

 

Related Articles

Just Published

4 hours ago

Creative Minds: Ariel Chen takes the 'road of no ...

We get to know the group creative director at BBDO Shanghai through her answers to 11 questions. Learn about how she got into advertising, why she ascribes to the 'Underachiever's Manifesto', and the secret talent that helps her stay happy.

4 hours ago

LG Signature takes inspiration from Sydney Dance ...

INSPIRATION STATION: Who wouldn't be awed by these amazing photos of dancers in action? LG's new pact not only supports the company but gives select customers the chance to learn from the best.

7 hours ago

Spikes Asia announces 2022 jury presidents

Fourteen industry leaders from across APAC, evenly split male-female, will help set the region’s benchmark in creative excellence and effectiveness.

7 hours ago

Campaign Creation Stories: How Pocari Sweat and ...

Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Dentsu wanted to revitalise Pocari Sweat's brand message for young people in a post-pandemic world. See the astonishing, dreamlike film they came up with and hear the inside story of its creation directly from the brand and agency.