- The combined user base of the top messaging apps increased by over 1 billion between 2014 and 2015.
- Facebook and Tencent dominate, but others are evolving and refocusing their strategy to attract new audiences.
- Snapchat will focus on advertising and branded content instead of paid features.
- Blackberry has a 70% active user base in the Middle East and will focus on Indonesia and South Africa in the years ahead.
The top mobile messaging apps covered by IHS reached a combined active user base of approximately 4.2 billion monthly users by the end of 2015. This is up 38% from the 3.1 billion achieved in 2014. However, the overall growth rate is slowing as the market matures.
Facebook and Tencent dominate the global messaging app user base, accounting for over 70% of total selected messaging apps. Both companies have grown their lead over other messaging apps since 2011.
Notably, Facebook Messenger is starting to match WeChat as a platform for services beyond messaging by introducing features such as payments, video calling and transportation into its app.
Snapchat is innovating to attract the strong youth audience. Instead of driving incremental revenues through paid features, Snapchat will focus on advertising, including sponsored lenses and branded content.
South Korea's KakaoTalk is struggling to increase its number of monthly active users and international expansion remains challenging. Domestic dominance has not translated to international success.
Blackberry is actually still going strong in some parts of the world. BBM is still relevant with a very active user base in in South Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia. There are 42 million registered users in the Middle East, and 70% of the monthly active users in the region are active each day. BBM's particular success in Indonesia, prompted it to launch its mobile payment service BBM Money there. Blackberry's growth strategy will be focused on these three areas.
Investor interest in Social & Communications apps slowed down in 2015, the total disclosed funding value for social and communications apps decreased by 7.15% on a year-over-year basis.