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A shift from social networks to mobile messaging: GlobalWebIndex in Malaysia

AvantiKumar | Nov. 19, 2014
GlobalWebIndex’s latest study also notes that WeChat has the youngest demographic among all competing social communication apps.

Jason Mander, Head of Trends, GlobalWebIndex 

Photo - Jason Mander, Head of Trends, GlobalWebIndex Research.


According to new research by GlobalWebIndex (GWI), there are signs that conversations are moving away from traditional social networks to mobile messaging.

During the unveiling of the results of GWI Q3 study in Kuala Lumpur, GlobalWebIndex's head of trends Jason Mander said the younger generation was flocking to mobile messaging such as WeChat, which has the youngest demographic out of all competing social communications apps with a third of its global active user base being 16 - 24 years old, and about 80 percent of users saying it is critical for them to be contactable at all times.

Mander said that in Malaysia, WeChat is most popular with 16 to 34 year olds, with this age group dominating more than 80 percent of the WeChat user base.

"WeChat has experienced significant growth with an active user base increase of 156 percent globally, and 118 percent in Malaysia between Q1 2013 to Q3 2014," he said. "WeChat's dominant position in the messaging app arena is signified by nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the world's Internet users, and a staggering 39 percent within the APAC region, now actively using the app."

"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," said Mander. "We are excited about WeChat's strong growth momentum both globally and throughout Malaysia, and expect to see it adding more users in the coming quarters."

He said the study did reveal a shift from traditional social networks to mobile messaging. "In Malaysia, there has been a 55 percent increase in the numbers using mobile messaging tools since 2013 - with the top reasons for this surge in usage including to stay in touch with what my friends are doing (89 percent) and that they use mobile messaging tools to share photos or video with others (65 percent)."

 Ambitious users

Mander said other key findings include:

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

He said another insight was that WeChat in Malaysia seemed to attract "ambitious users, according to their interests and attitudes". The study found 63 percent of WeChat users said they were open to try new products while 62 percent said they regularly informed friends and family on new products and services.

Multimarket research firm GlobalWebIndex's clients include Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Group M, Omnicom Media Group, Starcom MediaVest, ZenithOptimedia, Digitas, R/GA, AKQA, Sony, Unilever and Nestlé.


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