Messaging app differentiation becomes more challenging: Mobile Market Monitor Q4 2016

March 17, 2017  | Subscribers Only

Jun Wen Woo Jun Wen Woo Senior Research Analyst, Online Video
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The top mobile messaging apps tracked by IHS Markit reached a combined active user base of approximately 5.2 billion monthly users by the end of 2016. This is up 18% year-on-year from the 4.5 billion achieved in 2015. However, the overall growth rate is slowing as the market matures. Major Asian apps Line and KakaoTalk reported a decrease in monthly active users in the fourth quarter of 2016.

When OTT messaging apps first launched, many had their own special or unique features. For instance: Tango focused on video calling; Line had stickers and games; Viber used voice calling; and Snapchat had disappearing messages. This has changed over time. Almost all major messaging apps have now enabled broader communications functions ranging from sending photos, videos, stickers to making voice, video and often group calls. Messaging apps are now offering new features alongside communications that match wider market trends in order to stay competitive.     


  • Messaging user growth slows down as the market matures
  • The changing landscape of messaging market: differentiation is more difficult
  • Tencent’s messaging share declined in 2016, Facebook maintained its share
  • Core market focus helps LINE and Kakao grow revenue despite user decline
  • Loen music acquisition, platform expansion and games recovery helped Kakao in 2016
  • Advertising and commerce were key to Line's 2016 revenue growth

In this report:

  • 2016 Q4 Messaging App MAUs
  • 2016 Q4 Social & Communications app funding and M&A activity

List of tables and charts:

  • Select messaging apps monthly active users (m)
  • Facebook and Tencent messaging app user market share (%)
  • LINE and Kakao: messaging app monthly active users (m)
  • LINE and Kakao: company revenue (USDm)
  • Kakao: revenues by category (KRWm)
  • LINE: revenues by category (JPYm)
  • Social and Communications funding deals and disclosed values (USDm)
  • Social and Communications M&A deals
  • Select funding deals in Q4 2016
  • Select M&A deals in Q4 2016

Number of pages: 10

Number of tables and charts: 10

Jun Wen Woo

Senior Research Analyst, Online Video

Jun Wen Woo is a senior research analyst for Online Video at Omdia.

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Research by Market
Mobile & Telecom
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