Users turning to WeChat, WhatsApp to reach friends: Survey

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New Delhi | Published: November 28, 2014 12:45:11 PM

According to GWI, 83 per cent Internet users had Facebook accounts, but only 47 per cent actively used the website.

According to GWI, 83 per cent Internet users had Facebook accounts, but only 47 per cent actively used the website. (Reuters)According to GWI, 83 per cent Internet users had Facebook accounts, but only 47 per cent actively used the website. (Reuters)

An increasing number of people are now using mobile messaging apps like WeChat and WhatsApp to communicate with their friends rather than using social networking platforms such as Facebook and Google+, according to GlobalWebIndex (GWI) Research.

While social networking is one of the fastest rising online activities — up 187 per cent globally and 242 per cent in Asia Pacific region — the gap between users with accounts and those actively using is significant.

GWI surveyed about 42,000 respondents in the Asia Pacific region, including 5,000 respondents in India during the year.

According to GWI, 83 per cent Internet users had Facebook accounts, but only 47 per cent actively used the website.

In India, 93 per cent said they had a Facebook account but only 48 per cent had active usage.

Also, the number of global users using Facebook to message a friend has continued to decline from 512 million in Q1 2013 to 402 million in Q4 2013 to 313 million in Q3 2014.

About 28 per cent of respondents from India said they “logged in to see what’s happening without posting/commenting on anything myself” on Facebook, Twitter (23 per cent) and Google+ (21 per cent).

At the same time, number of people using mobile messaging services has increased from 446 million in Q1 2013 to 538 million in Q4 2013 and 616 million in Q3 2014.

Respondents said they were not interested in using Facebook like before, they were bored or generally spending less time on social networks as top reasons for using the world’s largest social networking lesser.

According to GWI, the top reasons for this surge in usage includes messaging apps being free (45 per cent), being quicker than using social networks or text messages to speak to people (41 per cent) and lots of friends using them (41 per cent).

In Asia Pacific, WeChat was the dominant messaging app (337 million), WhatsApp led the pack in India.

“Mobile messaging tools have experienced substantial growth during this recent period, particularly amongst the younger generation. Social networks are now being treated more passively, the number of people messaging friends on social networks is now declining,” GlobalWebIndex Head of Trends Jason Mander told reporters here.

People are now seeing mobile messaging apps as a more efficient way to communicate, he added.

“In the last year, the Indian mobile messaging audience grew by 113 per cent, we expect the number of mobile messaging users to continue to grow in the coming quarters,” he said.

He added that smartphones are vital to Internet users in India, where 79 per cent of the online population own a smartphone.

“The users of mobile messengers are young, affluent and highly active online,” Mander said.

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