WhatsApp is undeniably one of the most popular social media apps in the world. Whether it qualifies as social media or not, I’ve talked about it in another article. Be sure to check that one out.
But to really understand how popular WhatsApp is, I’ll give you the total number of mobile messages sent daily on the app from 2016 to 2020:
- 50 billion messages sent daily in Q4 2016
- 50 billion messages sent daily in Q2 2017
- 60 billion messages sent daily in Q4 2017
- 100 billion messages sent daily in Q3 2020
This means that, as of Q3 2020, there are over 30 trillion messages sent monthly on WhatsApp, amounting to 360 trillion messages per year. Yeah, it’s quite a mouthful.
That’s not all, though. Before I get into more details, I’ll give you a few general stats about WhatsApp to really put this into perspective:
- Currently, WhatsApp has more than 2.24 billion monthly active users
- WhatsApp is the single most used messaging app in the world, bar none
- Between 2016 and 2020, WhatsApp gained more than a billion active users
- WhatsApp is the most popular app in 100+ nations around the world
- As of Q4 2021, Hong Kong had a 93.9% increase in WhatsApp downloads from the Apple App Store compared to the same period last year
- India is the country with the most WhatsApp downloads, amounting to 291.58 million. There are more than 487.5 million WhatsApp users in the country
- WhatsApp is the third most popular app in the world based on user count (2.4 billion users), behind YouTube (2.6 billion users) and Facebook (2.9 billion users)
- Not taking China into account, WhatsApp is used by about 69% of all internet users
- WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion
- Your average Android WhatsApp user generally spends about 19 hours on the app every month
- 54.5% of all WhatsApp users are male while 45.5% are female
- Over 30% of all WhatsApp users are aged 30-49
- About 33% of all WhatsApp users are college graduates
- WhatsApp is used in over 180 countries around the globe
- 50% of all American WhatsApp users will use the app daily while 28% use it at least weekly
- WhatsApp is most popular for users aged 26-35
Alright, that’s about enough for general statistics. Below, I’ll talk about WhatsApp’s year-over-year monthly active users, the rate of userbase growth, list out the countries with the highest WhatsApp penetration, and more.
So, if you’re interested, keep reading!
Monthly Active Users from 2010 to 2021
WhatsApp has seen some astounding user growth over the years, and the company had never lost users until now. But take a look below to see the MAU (monthly active users) from 2010 until 2021:
|Period||Number of Monthly Active Users||% User Growth|
|October 2010||10 million|
|December 2011||50 million||400% increase from last year|
|July 2012||75 million||50% increase from last year|
|October 2012||100 million||33.3% increase from last year|
|January 2013||133 million||33% increase from last year|
|March 2013||166 million||24.81% increase from last year|
|April 2013||200 million||20.48% increase from last year|
|June 2013||250 million||25% increase from last year|
|August 2013||300 million||20% increase from last year|
|October 2013||350 million||16.66% increase from last year|
|December 2013||400 million||14.28% increase from last year|
|January 2014||430 million||7.5% increase from last year|
|February 2014||465 million||8.13% increase from last year|
|April 2014||500 million||7.52% increase from last year|
|August 2014||600 million||20% increase from last year|
|January 2015||700 million||16.66% increase from last year|
|April 2015||800 million||14.28% increase from last year|
|September 2015||900 million||12.5% increase from last year|
|February 2016||1 billion||11.11% increase from last year|
|January 2017||1.2 billion||20% increase from last year|
|July 2017||1.3 billion||8.33% increase from last year|
|December 2017||1.5 billion||15.38% increase from last year|
|February 2020||2 billion||33.33% increase from last year|
|September 2021||2.16 billion||8% increase from last year|
|April 2022||2.24 billion||3.7% increase from last year|
Other than the 400% increase in users on December 2011, there have been no notable increases in WhatsApp’s user base throughout the years. It seems the app has gone through steady growth for the longest time.
However, recently, that growth has slowly diminished, reaching a 3.7% year-over-year increase on April 2022. But, again, that’s to be expected when an app goes over 2 billion users. It’s the dreaded plateau effect causing this.
I estimate that WhatsApp’s user growth may diminish further or halt to a full stop if Zuckerberg decides to monetize the platform. Users may even stop using WhatsApp if that happens. But that’s a story for another time.
Unique WhatsApp Users Worldwide (2020-2022)
It might also be worth it to look at WhatsApp’s number of unique mobile users worldwide as this can tell us the total number of users on the platform. See below:
|Period||Number of Unique WhatsApp Users||% Increase|
|January 2020||1.813 billion|
|February 2020||1.836 billion||1.26% increase from last month|
|March 2020||1.859 billion||1.25% increase from last month|
|April 2020||1.881 billion||1.18% increase from last month|
|May 2020||1.904 billion||1.22% increase from last month|
|June 2020||1.927 billion||1.20% increase from last month|
|July 2020||1.950 billion||1.19% increase from last month|
|August 2020||1.972 billion||1.12% increase from last month|
|September 2020||1.995 billion||1.16% increase from last month|
|October 2020||2.018 billion||1.15% increase from last month|
|November 2020||2.041 billion||1.14% increase from last month|
|December 2020||2.063 billion||1.07% increase from last month|
|January 2021||2.075 billion||0.58% increase from last month|
|February 2021||2.086 billion||0.53% increase from last month|
|March 2021||2.097 billion||0.52% increase from last month|
|April 2021||2.109 billion||0.57% increase from last month|
|May 2021||2.120 billion||0.52% increase from last month|
|June 2021||2.131 billion||0.51% increase from last month|
|July 2021||2.143 billion||0.56% increase from last month|
|August 2021||2.154 billion||0.51% increase from last month|
|September 2021||2.165 billion||0.51% increase from last month|
|October 2021||2.176 billion||0.5% increase from last month|
|November 2021||2.188 billion||0.55% increase from last month|
|December 2021||2.199 billion||0.5% increase from last month|
|January 2022||2.210 billion||0.5% increase from last month|
|February 2022||2.221 billion||0.49% increase from last month|
|March 2022||2.233 billion||0.54% increase from last month|
|April 2022||2.244 billion||0.49% increase from last month|
|May 2022||2.255 billion||0.49% increase from last month|
|June 2022||2.266 billion||0.48% increase from last month|
While I don’t have data pre-2020 about the number of unique WhatsApp users on the platform, we can, again, see a slow but steady growth that eventually settles at around 0.5% every month. The trend seems to be downward bit by bit, though.
In the following years, we may see the growth going down to 0.4-0.3% or even lower, depending on Zuckerberg’s next moves with WhatsApp. Monetization will have a significant impact on the platform, in my opinion.
WhatsApp Users Per Country & Market Penetration
WhatsApp is not only used by billions of people around the world, but its market penetration is the highest I’ve ever seen in some of the countries I’m about to list.
I’ll also look at the percentage of people from those countries that are using WhatsApp, which will be an interesting find.
Just have a look at the chart below (ordered by Market Penetration), with thanks to DemandSage for some of the information.
|Country||User Count||Market Penetration||% of the Total Population Using WhatsApp|
|Finland||Unknown||95.6%||Estimated at 88% according to a 2021 survey|
|Austria||94.4%||~88% according to a 2022 survey|
|United Kingdom||40.41 million||71.3%||~58.71%|
|United States||79.6 million||41.2%||~23.68%|
Brazil has taken to WhatsApp the most out of every country in the world, with a penetration rate of 98.9%. However, the entire picture changes when talking about the percentage of the population using WhatsApp. Brazil doesn’t take the top spot there.
Instead, Finland and Austria take the crown, both with around 88% of the total population using WhatsApp. Remember, this data is an approximation from 2021 (in Finland) and 2022 (in Austria). I can’t know for sure what those numbers are now.
But it’s unlikely that a large majority of their population have stopped using WhatsApp in 1-2 years. So, the numbers above should be pretty accurate still.
Age & Gender of WhatsApp Users in 2023
WhatsApp is not just for young or old people. Different demographics make use of the app daily, and below, I’ll give you a general rundown of the age and gender of WhatsApp users as of 2023.
|Age||% of WhatsApp Users|
It seems that the 26-25 and 36-45 age category uses WhatsApp the most, with older people having less interest in the app.
Regarding gender, I couldn’t find detailed stats for every age category but what I do know is that, on average, 54.5% of all WhatsApp users are male and 45.5% are female.
This isn’t something surprising since most of the other social media apps are male-dominated as well. Differences may appear, however, when looking at specific age categories and analyzing gender disparities in the use of the app.
For instance, we may find out that in the 46-55 age category, there may be more female users than male users. This is the case with Facebook where some age categories will see more females using the app than males.
This is likely caused by different interests between men and women of varied ages. If we had these stats for WhatsApp, I’m pretty sure we’d be seeing this phenomenon occur.
If you hadn’t guessed already, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world. But exactly how far is it ahead of the competition?
Well, take a look at the chart below:
|Number of Users||2 billion users||1.3 billion users||1.213 billion users||617 million users||500 million users|
|Time Spent||18.6 hours per month||3 hours per month||66 minutes per day||Less than 30 minutes per day||2.9 hours per month|
The difference between WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which takes second place, is 700 million users. WhatsApp has 700 million users more than Messenger.
And even in terms of time spent on the app, WhatsApp is undeniably king if we ignore the monstrous phenomenon that is WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app. But anything Chinese-related is in a world of its own, so there’s that. They even have their own version of TikTok called Douyin.
WhatsApp is defined by simplicity, smoothness, crisp responsiveness, and ease of use. The app rarely, if ever, experiences server issues and those are usually fixed within a matter of hours.
It’s no wonder that it’s the most popular messaging app in the world. From personal experience, I can say that WhatsApp can easily replace a more conventional social media app if you’re thinking of limiting your social interactions and remaining close to a smaller circle of friends.
Regarding its growing userbase, I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – Zuckerberg’s next actions regarding the platform’s monetization will determine WhatsApp’s future. The app’s user base has gotten really used to no monetization and no ads on the platform.
How do I think most users will react when ads will start popping up or premium subscriptions? Badly, very badly. They may simply opt for a different messaging app like Messenger or Telegram.
If WhatsApp were left alone and operated the same as it has for so many years, the platform’s user base would likely continue growing slowly but steadily. It’s true that the month-over-month growth has steadily decreased recently, but the year-over-year increase is still acceptable.
For instance, WhatsApp’s user base grew by about 6.35% from June 2021 to June 2022, amounting to approximately 135 million new users in a year. That’s not too shabby, I’d say. It remains to be seen what happens next!
- Statista – Number of Mobile Messages Sent Through WhatsApp as of 3rd Quarter 2020
- 2. Backlinko – WhatsApp 2022 User Statistics: How Many People Use WhatsApp?
- Statista – Number of Unique WhatsApp Mobile Users Worldwide from January 2020 to June 2022
- Statista – WhatsApp: Penetration Rate Among Global Messaging App users as of April 2022, by Country
- Statista – Distribution of WhatsApp users Worldwide as of 3rd Quarter 2022, by Gender
- DemandSage – WhatsApp Statistics 2023 – How Many People Use WhatsApp
- Whizcase – 2023 WhatsApp Statistics – User Data, Financials & Features
- FinancesOnline – 70 Intriguing WhatsApp Statistics: 2023 Usage Facts & Insights