Research: GlobalWebIndex finds mobile networking booming with WeChat users

WeChat has the youngest demographic out of all competing social communications apps, with one third of its global users aged 16 to 24. Andrew Ng attended the media brief for tech4tea.com.

Jason Mander, Head of Trends, GlobalWebIndex, briefing on major trends of the social media scene. To the left is Jowie Law, Director of Global Communications at Tencent, the parent company of WeChat. Photo credit: Andrew Ng.

Jason Mander, Head of Trends, GlobalWebIndex, briefing on major trends of the social media scene. To the left is Jowie Law, Director of Global Communications at Tencent, the parent company of WeChat. Photo credit: Andrew Ng.

A recent research by GlobalWebIndex (GWI), a market research company specialising in online consumer behaviour claims that 80% of WeChat’s young users said it was critical for them to be contactable at all times.

“WeChat has witnessed a remarkable growth rate during this period especially among the youth generation, with WeChat’s efficient and entertaining platform continuing to attract users on a massive scale. We are excited about WeChat’s strong growth momentum both globally and throughout Singapore, and expect to see it adding more users in the coming quarters,” said Jason Mander, Head of Trends at GlobalWebIndex.

GWI is a multi-market research company, covering 32 markets and representing 89% of the global Internet population.

Focusing on Singapore specifically, WeChat is most popular with 16 to 34 year olds, with this age group dominating nearly half of the WeChat user base.

According to GWI, WeChat had experienced significant growth with an active user base increase of 156% globally, and a staggering 499% in Singapore between Q1 2013 to Q3 2014.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of the world’s Internet users and 39% within the APAC region now actively use the app.

GWI’s study also revealed that conversations are now moving away from traditional social networks towards mobile messaging apps.

“WeChat has garnered almost a fifth of the Singapore messaging app market, with a growth rate of almost 500% over last year. It dominates APAC at nearly 40% of the online population, and is the leader across GlobalWebIndex’s 32 markets,” recalled Andrew Ng on the key takeaways from the media brief.

Among the reasons people like WeChat, Jason Mander highlighted two interesting ones: it’s a more private way to chat to my friends compared to social networks like Facebook, and they’re fun to use.

In Singapore, there has been a slight increase in the numbers using mobile messaging tools since 2013.

The top reasons for this surge in usage include the desire to stay in touch with what their friends were doing (83%) and the use of mobile messaging tools to share photos or video with others (55%).

Other key GWI Q3 2014 research findings include:

  • Mobile networking is booming: 40% of global Internet users are now using mobile messaging apps, rising to 46% in APAC.
  • Free is still attractive:Top reasons for using messaging apps include being free (45%); enable direct messaging on one-to-one basis (31%); and fun to use (27%).

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