WhatsApp Statistics: Revenue, Usage, and History

ByJulija A.
March 04, 2021
WhatsApp Statistics: Revenue, Usage, and History Image

Text messages, voice calls, recorded voice messages, video calls - how do you want to communicate? WhatsApp gives you all the tools you need to stay in touch. And with more active users than any other messaging tool, it surpasses even Facebook’s own marquee app when it comes to popularity.

WhatsApp was the first app of its kind on the market, and one of the biggest reasons people favor it is the simple, beautiful interface coupled with the fact that this program is completely ad-free.

So, how does WhatsApp earn its money, and why exactly is it so successful?

Our WhatsApp statistics can answer those questions and more.

WhatsApp Stats - Highlights

  • WhatsApp is currently the world’s most popular messaging app, with over two billion active monthly users.
  • WhatsApp is used in over 180 countries.
  • 54% of millennials and just over a third of baby boomers (36%) use WhatsApp daily.
  • In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, people spent a total of 15 billion minutes on WhatsApp calls each day.
  • Before the pandemic, WhatsApp users spent an average of 195 minutes using the app each week.
  • Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014.
  • Half a billion people use WhatsApp Status every day.
  • <27% of all selfies are shared through Whatsapp or text messaging.

What’s the Big Deal About WhatsApp?

WhatsApp was founded in 2009 by two former Yahoo employees, Brian Acton and Jan Koum.

(Forbes)

We’ve got lots of WhatsApp statistics for the web, but before we get into the numbers, here’s a little history.

After leaving their Yahoo positions in 2007, Acton and Koum applied for jobs at Facebook but were rejected. They wandered around the job market, trying to figure out what they wanted to do. Their inspiration came once they purchased their first iPhones. They quickly grasped the potential of Apple’s app store, and they developed an idea — they wanted to make a messaging app that would show people’s status next to their names. WhatsApp was launched in 2009, and a new era of instant messaging began.

(Statista)

The active number of monthly Whatsapp users is higher than that of Facebook Messenger (1.3 billion), WeChat (1.2 billion), QQ (617 million), and Telegram (500 million). However, the recent changes in WhatsApp’s privacy policy are expected to drive more users away from the popular app in favor of Telegram and other software. The extent of the migration is yet to be seen.

WhatsApp has more than one billion daily active users.

(WhatsApp Blog)

WhatsApp is definitely not one of those apps you install and forget. With over a billion users logging in each day, it has become an irreplaceable tool for communication.

54% of millennials and just over a third of baby boomers (36%) use WhatsApp on a daily basis.

(GlobalWebIndex)

Millennials make up the highest concentration and the biggest number of WhatsApp users. The software isn’t as popular among baby boomers and older generations. Despite the massive popularity of newer and flashier messaging apps, WhatsApp is still very popular with the younger Gen Z crowd (51%). Rounding off our list are Gen X users. 48% of them use WhatsApp to communicate with friends, family, and coworkers on a daily basis.

The number of WhatsApp users in the US is expected to hit 85.8 million by 2023.

(Statista)

WhatsApp user numbers are steadily growing in the US, although the recent controversy regarding information sharing with Facebook may put a damper on these forecasts. It remains to be seen whether WhatsApp and Facebook are going to roll back their decision, which is already fuelling a considerable user migration to competitors like Telegram.

500 million people use WhatsApp Status daily.

(Statista)

If you use Snapchat Stories or Instagram Stories, WhatsApp Status will make you feel right at home. This feature allows you to post a status update that disappears 24 hours after you upload it. WhatsApp user statistics show that this is one of the most popular ways people tell their loved ones what they’re up to.

WhatsApp Business was launched in January 2018.

(TechCrunch)

Aimed at small businesses, WhatsApp Business was an immediate hit. It helped companies connect with customers more easily in order to build brand loyalty. Three million firms are already using it. One of the best parts is WhatsApp Business Statistics, a handy little feature that allows you to see statistics on how the messages you send to your consumers are sent, delivered, read, and received.

You can track user engagement and experience, then modify your business strategy accordingly. This is a great way to build a bond with people who shop from you and make them feel like they are a part of your team.

100 billion messages are sent through WhatsApp every day.

(TechCrunch)

People are really chatty on WhatsApp! And how could they not be, when it gives them an easy way to reach whoever they want, whenever they want. Relatives and friends that you just don’t have the time to see become instantly available. Programs like these are the very pinnacle of human technology because they let us stay close to those who matter the most.

WhatsApp Revenue and Finance Statistics

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014.

(Wikipedia)

Instagram, Chainspace, Oculus VR, OneChat…the list of Facebook acquisitions just keeps growing. WhatsApp statistics improved after Facebook acquired it, but one of the co-founders, Brian Acton, has regretted his decision to sell the company. “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit,” Acton said to Forbes. “I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”

WhatsApp used to charge a $1 yearly subscription fee.

(Investopedia)

In some countries, WhatsApp used to charge $1 a year, one year after joining. In others, it used to cost $1 just to download the app. At its peak, the subscription model had 700 million users worldwide, as most people didn’t mind paying a single dollar to get a great app they could use to their heart’s content. However, WhatsApp personal statistics show that usage really kicked off once the subscription model was dropped in 2016.

Since WhatsApp was monetized in a very limited manner, the owners decided that it wasn’t generating any kind of meaningful long-term revenue. They dropped subscriptions, and the app became free to use. So the public came rushing in, and a new influx of subscribers flooded the market. This increased market penetration — once a member of a social group downloads the app and starts using it, they inevitably encourage everyone else from the group to use it.

WhatsApp was generating about $12 per user by mid-2017.

(Digital Information World)

According to WhatsApp statistics, a single user made around $12 for WhatsApp in mid-2017. With 1.3 billion users and $15 billion in revenue, this showed an upward path for the company and made it obvious that it could become incredibly profitable.

In 2009, WhatsApp got $250,000 as its first investment.

(Feedough)

Brian Acton managed to persuade five friends and ex-Yahoo employees that WhatsApp is a worthy cause. WhatsApp statistics show that this gave it just enough to keep the project going, even though it wasn’t generating much revenue at that point. All five investors got the status of co-founders of the company.

In 2011, Sequoia Capital invested $8 million in WhatsApp.

(TechCrunch)

Before WhatsApp ever became popular, Sequoia Capital saw its potential. In 2011, the firm invested a hefty sum of cash to help jumpstart it, and they got a 15% share of the company.

In 2014, Sequoia Capital invested $50 million more in WhatsApp.

(New York Times)

WhatsApp revenue and usage statistics show that Sequoia Capital’s investment paid off so much that they decided to invest again in 2014. While the information about the ROI of this move isn’t publicly available, in 2014, the New York Times predicted that they could earn 50 times the money they invested.

WhatsApp Usage Statistics

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, people spent a total of 15 billion minutes on WhatsApp calls each day.

(Business Insider)

According to the latest available WhatsApp user statistics, the numbers are still fluctuating. But the conditions created by the pandemic have relegated a lot of social interactions to the online world. This significantly boosted the overall numbers for all popular chat programs, especially those supporting voice call functionality.

Before the pandemic, WhatsApp users spent an average of 195 minutes using the app.

(Business Insider)

These numbers have surged since the onset of the pandemic, but it’s still indicative of just how much time people spent on WhatsApp even under normal circumstances.

There were more than five million users of WhatsApp Business a year after the launch of this app.

(PYMNTS.com, Business of Apps, Google Play)

Initially launched only in five markets, namely the US, Mexico, UK, Indonesia, and Italy, this Android-based app now has more than 100 million downloads on Google Play Store.

In 2017, 75 billion messages were sent on New Year’s Eve alone.

(We Are Social Media)

Booze, dancing, drunken kisses, and instant messages! WhatsApp statistics show that partying is briefly interrupted to wish our loved ones a happy New Year. Once that duty is done, it’s perfectly fine to get back to your cocktail and dance till dawn.

27% of all selfies are shared through WhatsApp and text messaging.

(Visually)

How are you going to show off your sassy new haircut if you don’t take a selfie and send it to all your friends? Well, sure, you could go and see your friends like people did in the 20th century, but that requires time and planning, and you’re a busy bee! According to the WhatsApp number of users who send selfies, this is one of the easiest ways to show off your pretty face to your whole contact list. In addition to WhatsApp, people also use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat for sharing selfies.

According to the latest available reports, there are more than one billion groups on WhatsApp.

(Facebook)

WhatsApp groups chat statistics show that this is one of the most popular WhatsApp features. You make a group, add all your buddies to it, have fun chatting excessively for the first few days, and then get annoyed when everyone starts spamming the group chat with awkward memes. We all have that one group full of ex-classmates where everyone but you seems to be sending messages 24/7, making your phone ping every few minutes until you finally mute it.

70% of WhatsApp users check it daily.

(Facebook Newsroom)

Too often or not often enough? In truth, it makes complete sense for people to check their messaging apps once a day. After all, they help us stay in touch and easily exchange information with other people, so it’s no wonder that most of us stay up-to-date through WhatsApp.

WhatsApp Countrywise User Statistics

WhatsApp is used in over 180 countries.

(WhatsApp)

Interestingly enough, the US is not among the countries with the largest population or the highest market penetration. Chinese apps are strong contenders on the Chinese market, while WhatsApp rules supreme in Africa and Latin America in terms of nationwide market penetration.

India has the most WhatsApp users — 400 million.

(TechCrunch, Reuters)

WhatsApp is wildly popular in India. WhatsApp users by country stats show us that numbers keep growing each day, especially now that mobile networks are spreading and smartphones are becoming available to more people. Brazil also has a lot of users — 120 million. For a country with more than 211 million people, this is impressive.

The countries with the highest WhatsApp market penetration are Kenya (97%), South Africa (96%), Nigeria (95%), and Argentina (93%)

(Global Web Index)

African and South American markets tend to see the largest percentages of the population using WhatsApp at least once a month. In Malaysia, the number stands at 92%, and in Spain and Turkey, it’s 88%. Several other European countries also have WhatsApp usage numbers well above 80%, while the US sits at just around 20%.

81% of women and 74% of men in Germany use WhatsApp at least once per week.

(ARD 1)

Regardless of their gender, younger generations are much more active on WhatsApp, with 95% of those in the 14 to 29 age group using it at least once per week. The number drops to 87% for those aged 30 to 49, 76% for people between 50 and 69, and just 43% for people older than 70.

More than 73% of people who own smartphones in Saudi Arabia are active WhatsApp users.

(Hootsuite)

According to WhatsApp statistics, Saudi Arabia really loves this app. Most of the country’s residents who own a phone have it installed.

Despite poor overall usage numbers, the US led the world in WhatsApp downloads on Apple’s App Store during Q4 of 2020.

(Statista)

According to recent stats, WhatsApp was downloaded a record 3.56 million times on the US App Store in the fourth quarter of 2020. Brazil came in second with 2.41 million, followed by the UK (2.34 million) and India (2.32 million).

With over 30 million downloads on the Google App Store in Q4 of 2020 alone, India leads the world in WhatsApp popularity on Android phones.

(Statista)

Any Android list, including the most popular messaging apps by country (outside of the US and China, at least), is likely to be headed by WhatsApp. The app also dominated in Indonesia (8.46m), Brazil (7.28m), Mexico (7.06m), Pakistan (4.13m), and Russia (3.42m). The US ranks seventh on this list with 3.36 million unique WhatsApp downloads on Google’s popular app platform during the final quarter of 2020.

Only 2 million people from China use WhatsApp.

(Vox)

According to chat statistics for WhatsApp apk, the Chinese prefer other messaging programs. WeChat, which has more than 490 million users in China alone and 900 million users worldwide, beats WhatsApp fair and square. One of the biggest reasons the Chinese prefer WeChat is because of its end-to-end encryption, which makes it difficult for anyone except the sender and receiver to access messages.

58% of people with smartphones in the UK use WhatsApp.

(Hootsuite)

WhatsApp has been breaking through Britain’s market for several years now, and it’s slowly approaching Facebook Messenger’s 60% penetration rate. They’re neck-and-neck right now, and anything could happen.

WhatsApp is cited in 40% of Italy’s divorce cases as evidence against unfaithful partners.

(The Times of London)

Why do people use Whatsapp in Italy, you ask? According to Gian Ettore Gassani from the Italian Association of Matrimony Lawyers, technology has made it easy for cheaters to communicate without the knowledge of their spouses. “Social media has boosted betrayal in Italy by making it easier, first through texting, Facebook, and now WhatsApp,” said Gassani in an interview with the London Times.

Whether messaging apps make it easier to cheat or make it easier to catch cheaters is unclear, but Italians sure are using WhatsApp to its full potential.

The number of Whatsapp downloads dropped by 17% during the second week of January 2021.

(The Wall Street Journal, Daily Mail)

After the new privacy policy was announced on January 7th, WhatsApp user numbers decreased. Meanwhile, downloads of Signal and Telegram increased sharply. There were 1.2 million downloads of Signal and 1.7 million downloads of Telegram, amid resistance to WhatsApp’s new policy.

Future Predictions

2020 was a difficult year, but the coronavirus pandemic isn’t done messing with all aspects of our social and economic lives just yet. It’s hard to make long-term predictions, but some early 2021 trends are definitely indicative of potential future developments. Namely, the controversy surrounding the upcoming changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy and the implications of that change.

Why is Whatsapp popular in the first place? The reason is simple: strict end-to-end encryption and absolute user data and chat privacy. As such, the proposed changes to the app’s privacy policy that make it mandatory to share user data with Facebook in order to continue using the app haven’t gone over well with the app’s user base. Looking at the early indicators, millions of people are starting to download competitor apps such as Telegram, and Facebook has already postponed the rollout of its amendment from February 8 to May 15, as it gradually tries to warm people up to the idea.

That being said, how does Whatsapp make money for Facebook if not through advertising? It’s going to be a delicate balancing act going forward, as Viber, Telegram, and similar apps have pounced on the opportunity and started seriously endangering WhatsApp’s previous chokehold on the top spot among messaging apps. WhatsApp is still the sovereign leader in mobile messaging worldwide, but if they want to keep that spot in 2021, Facebook will have to think long and hard about its proposed changes to the app.

Frequently Asked Questions
Which country uses WhatsApp the most? +

That would be India. With more than 400 million users, this is the hub of instant messaging. WhatsApp statistics for iPhone show that this app is frequently installed on iOS as well as Android devices in India.

How do I check my WhatsApp stats? +

This handy feature is easy to check for anyone who’s using WhatsApp Business. Simply go to WhatsApp business, tap More Options > Settings > Business Settings > Statistics. You should be able to see them now.

How WhatsApp is making money? +

WhatsApp is an ad-free application because the creators didn’t want to bother users with ads. They initially charged $1 for a yearly subscription, but now the owners mostly earn money from WhatsApp Business. It lets business owners make a profile and use it to stay in contact with their consumers. But how does WhatsApp earn money from this? By charging companies for slow replies.

If they reply in the first 24 hours, it’s free. If they want to send a reply to their customer after that, they get charged. WhatsApp statistics show that’s sufficient revenue to keep the app and its developers afloat.

About author

Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.

Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published.


There are no comments yet