Facebook Messenger is the most installed app on consumers’ smartphones, with 63 per cent of consumers polled in a survey by MetrixLab saying they had the app installed. It is closely followed by WhatsApp at 61 per cent. Skype is in third place at 39 per cent, with iMessage in fourth (27 per cent) and Snapchat fifth (18 per cent).
When it comes to usage, however, WhatsApp leads the way, with 62 per cent of users saying they use the app daily, compared to just 27 per cent of Facebook Messenger users.
MetrixLab surveyed more than 4,000 smartphone users in the UK, US, France and The Netherlands. The study also found that messaging apps are replacing paid-for texts and calls, with 63 per cent of Baby Boomers saying they used their messaging apps as a replacement for paid text messages. This rises to 67 per cent among Generation Y users. Messaging apps are replacing paid-for phone calls too – 67 per cent of Generation X and 66 per cent of Generation Y respondents agreed that they use messaging apps as a replacement for calling.
Whatsapp is also the most preferred choice if consumers need to send a message immediately, favoured by 42 per cent of consumers who have heard of the brand. Facebook Messenger ranks second at 21 per cent, followed by iMessage at 11 per cent.
The study also questioned respondents about security and advertising and revealed significant concerns over the security of users’ personal data. When respondents familiar with WhatsApp were questioned, less than half (48 per cent) said that they thought their personal data was secure with the brand, while 37 per cent agreed for Facebook Messenger. With just 26 per cent agreeing that their data is secure with the app, Snapchat is currently perceived by consumers as the least secure app.
On advertising, 30 per cent of Generation Y consumers said they would be prepared to pay for an ad-free version of their favourite messaging app if the free version came with ads. This compared to 20 per cent of Generation X respondents and 13 per cent of Baby Boomers.
“Our international study throws new light on how smartphone users of all ages are communicating via messaging apps today,” said Michelle de Montigny, global SVP consultancy at MetrixLab. “While Facebook Messenger takes the top spot for installed apps, WhatsApp wins the most daily users. We’ve also seen that personal data security is still a worrying issue for consumers, highlighting the need for brands to instil more confidence in customers who use these apps or risk being overtaken by the next messaging trends.”