A quick look at the top download charts on the App Store or Play Store clearly shows that messaging apps are the most downloaded and commonly used apps by today's smartphone owners. To understand what's happening within this exciting space, therefore, we're going to look at the numbers generated both by our own research and by that of others.
As you can see from the screenshots above, apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are always in the App Store's top five or six, regardless of where users are based. This makes perfect sense; the number of smartphone users is growing every day; use of chatbots is growing and mobile carriers in some parts of the world still charge a lot for traditional text messaging, leaving many keen to take advantage of the free text services offered by such platforms. Given the prevalence of WiFi, sparked by the rise of smart devices, they are also able to do so without eating into their data allowance.
To understand such users better, we conducted a survey among our social media followers. Through this, we identified that WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the messaging apps most commonly used by smartphone owners around the world. This was confirmed by secondary research, including that by Statista, a statistics, market research and business intelligence portal.
The popularity of these two apps, compared to similar platforms, appears to be down to two main factors: ease of use and the fact that most users' contacts will be using them already. As one of our survey respondents said regarding Facebook Messenger:
"The majority of my contacts use it. Gif sending is easy along with other features. (location sharing etc). It's OS agnostic also."
Looking at the screenshots of the App Store's top apps, and the number of individuals using different messaging platforms, we can clearly see that the market for, and usage of, such platforms is very high indeed. A further set of statistics likewise shows around half of smartphone users use messaging apps on a monthly basis.
Even with this large install base, and with about 1 billion people using apps like WhatsApp every day, we still think there are huge opportunities for innovative disruptors in this sector.
As those who have worked for the same company for any length of time will know, colleagues often turn into friends, which is no bad thing at all. It does, however, mean that WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger users can end up discussing business instead of sticking to personal chats. Conversely, platforms such as Slack, designed for business use, get flooded with friendly banter that distracts from the task at hand.
Thankfully, one of our recent apps, Dooey, provides the perfect solution by letting users toggle quickly between social and business chats. This means they can switch between two types of conversation with the same contact, keeping each distinct and never losing focus on whatever's being discussed.
Another amazing feature of the app is that it allows users to 'branch' out from any point in a conversation to start a separate discussion on it. This is incredibly helpful, since it can often prove challenging to remain focused on one topic during lengthy conversations. Rather, people tend to jump from one subject to another, meaning important points - or the context in which they were made - can be lost. This is particularly so when multiple people are involved.
We were really excited to work on Dooey, a unique platform that we ourselves would love to use every day. It's ability to switch quickly between social and business conversations makes it an amazing tool that works brilliantly in daily use.
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