What is popular mobile messenger in USA

Insights: Messenger market USA

Market Development: Mobile Internet & Messaging Spreading in America

At 61%, North America has the second highest cellular network penetration in the world (after East Asia). This is roughly 150% of the global average. As a result, the countries in North America have a very high proportion of mobile Internet users and also social media users. The focus of this article is on the status quo of mobile Internet usage (especially mobile messaging) in the USA.

According to Statista data, the United States has the third largest number of Internet users in the world after China and India. The total number (as of December 2017) was 312 million users. Mobile Internet use is certainly one of the mega trends in the USA as well as globally, which has brought enormous change, but on the other hand creates new markets and potential.

US data: Mobile Internet usage

Almost 70% of Americans have a smartphone, with Statista predicting that number will climb to 73% by 2021. This high prevalence means that smartphone users are basically well represented in all age groups. Americans between the ages of 18 and 54 have the highest smartphone penetration, which is between 89% and 94%.

What does this reach mean for internet usage and e-commerce in the USA? Mobile is essential, and the digital landscape will continue to adapt to become even more mobile over the next few years. In the third quarter of 2018, mobile internet devices accounted for 42.79% of all website traffic and 56% of organic search. (Data from Statista). There is also an impressive number of purely mobile Internet users now: 44.5% only visited the Internet via mobile devices in 2018. Statista predicts that this group will even represent the majority with 52.3% in 2021.

Despite the rapid development and prospects of mobile, the desktop is not dead yet. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the share of mobile e-commerce in the USA was around 24%, so it is still predominantly ordered online via desktop. The next few years will bring interesting developments in terms of mobile vs. desktop Internet use.

Mobile messaging in the USA: WhatsApp is not very relevant!

Now it's about the US landscape of messaging apps and mobile communication. The USA shows a strong contrast to our German market: there is no WhatsApp market there. Although WhatsApp originated in the US, it hasn't really made it into the US market yet. This is in part because the plans for US phones are primarily set up with free unlimited SMS. Most Americans simply send a message or text on any messaging program ("texting") that is natively available on their smartphones. Internet users saw no need to download a separate messaging app, as is typical here in Germany with WhatsApp & Co.

Facebook Messenger is the most widely used messenger in the US

The clear market leader there is Facebook Messenger - which was used by around 50% of Americans in Q2 and Q3 2017. Statistas data shows a much greater prevalence in the age range between 18 and 44 years in 2018: 81% to 89% of Americans are Facebook Messenger users in this age group!

Regarding the most popular messaging services: The top 3 participants (source: Hootsuite: We are social, 2018) are Facebook Messenger (51%), Snapchat (26%) and Skype (18%). But only Facebook Messenger has a really strong user base as Messenger.

Apple has the largest market share for mobile devices

So knowing that most Americans just send messages from their native smartphone apps, the next question is obvious: What smartphones do Americans use? According to Device Atlas' Mobile Web Intelligence Report from August 2018, Apple is currently ahead. The iOS share of operating systems was 63.52% in the US in the second quarter of 2018.

In addition, Apple is the leader in the major US phone companies: Verizon, T-Mobile, At & T, and Sprint. For any phone provider, Apple ranks first with more than 1/3 of the market share, and that number reaches 43.8% for Verizon phones.

Apple's user base is particularly deeply rooted in the younger generations: Digital Trends reports that 82% of American teenagers use iPhones, compared with about 43% of Americans in general. This is incredible reach among younger Internet users, and it will be interesting to see if Apple gains overall market share as these users purchase Apple devices in their later lives.

Mobile messaging opportunities for businesses

What does this mean for companies that want to connect with their American customers via smartphones?
The WhatsApp Business API so may not be the best choice. Unless you have a very international target group with a lot of international communication. An exciting new option (since 2018) is Apple's own customer service solution for businesses: Apple Business Chat.

Apple Business Chat is specifically designed to provide high quality customer service through the iPhone-native iMessage app. This was launched in North America in March 2018 and launched worldwide in 2018. Businesses must pass Apple's quality review before communicating.

What experiences and impressions did you have in the USA? As always, we look forward to your opinions and feedback.