Messaging Apps: Average Usage Time Around the World

How many minutes a day do you spend on your smartphone? Of those minutes, how many are spent using a messaging app such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Skype, or Viber?

If you’re like the average American Android user, you probably spend around 29 minutes using WhatsApp, 16 minutes on Skype, 9½ minutes on Messenger, and 8 minutes on Hangouts.

In the graph above, we looked at 10 of the top messaging apps in the world and compared their average daily Usage Time in the United States over Q1, 2016. When combining the data for all 10 of these apps, the average Usage Time is 23 minutes, 23 seconds, and KakaoTalk recorded the highest overall time in the US with close to 49 minutes a day. 

Based in South Korea, the free messaging app is installed on less than 1% of US Android devices, but these users are extremely loyal to the app. On average, 37.8% of the app’s users actually use the app on the average day.

Another Asian-based messaging app showing this kind of US app retention is Line, an app which has big plans to IPO in mid June.


In the biggest tech IPO of 2016, Line has is planning to go public, first in New York on July 14th and then in Tokyo on July 15th. The company’s evaluation could be as high as $6.17 billion and they hope to raise over $1 billion. 

With such a large evaluation planned, we decided to take a look at Line separately from the other messaging apps to discover how big their worldwide penetration is. In our recent messaging apps report we discovered that Line is the top messaging app in 4 countries: Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkmenistan, and in the graph below you can find data on the rate of Line installs in almost every country around the world, as of May 2016.

In the map, countries that are blue and green represent countries with lower installs of Line and countries more yellow and orange are where Line installs are at or above 20%. What this means is that over 20% of Android users in the country have installed the app and such is the case with many countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Central Africa. For example, though Telegram is the most used messaging app in Iran, Line has an extremely impressive install rate of almost 35%. 

The map is a good indication of where Line is strongest and where it hopes to grow if it wants to successfully live up to all the hype. Discover the full map below:

(The range was used to show distinct colors and represents a figure that is up to and excluding)

Outside of Line, we also looked at 9 other messaging apps in 10 other countries to discover how long people spend on messaging apps around the world.


Among the 11 countries we looked at, only one had an average Usage Time of over an hour for any single app. Such was the case with WhatsApp’s usage in Brazil where the average Q1 Usage Time was 1 hour, 1 second. Over Q1 2016, the app had an average Android install rate of 92% in Brazil with 74% of WhatsApp users opening the app daily. Brazil is clearly the WhatsApp capital of the world. All of this comes despite the fact that the Brazilian government has tried to ban WhatsApp twice over the last 12 months.

With their heavy reliance on WhatsApp, Brazilian Android users have a very short average Usage Time on Messenger. Over Q1, Messenger was only used for 5 minutes, 43 seconds a day, by far the lowest out of the countries in this study.


Unlike Brazil, Android users in France spent an average of only 23 minutes, 26 seconds on WhatsApp, second shortest in this study. Despite this low Usage Time, WhatsApp in France is still used for 163% longer than Messenger which had an average Q1 Usage Time of just under 9 minutes.

Among other Messaging apps in France, KakaoTalk had the longest average Usage Time of over 44 minutes. Though not exceedingly popular in France, KakaoTalk users in the country are very loyal to app and 41.4% use it on a daily basis, compared to 40.6% for WhatsApp. 


In 7 out of the 10 messaging apps we looked at, Germany had a below average Usage Time compared to the other countries in the study with Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber being the exceptions. German Android users actually showed the second longest Usage Time of Skype, with a Q1 average of 16 minutes, 10 seconds a day.


Of all the countries in this study, India had the second lowest overall combined average Usage Time of the 10 messaging apps with an average of 16 minutes, 12 seconds a day. On both Skype and Viber, Indian Android users showed the lowest Q1 Usage Time of only 9 minutes, 22 for Skype, and 11 minutes, 30 seconds for Viber.

Furthermore, though messaging app Line has a substantial amount of installs in India, the app hasn’t caught on in a big way and showed a Q1 usage time of only 9 minutes, 52 seconds, and an Active App User base of 14.5%. The app also showed a below average retention rate in India, and if Line want’s to expand their global reach they can look to India as a country with lots of downloads but few actual users.


In 8 out of the 11 countries we looked at, KakaoTalk was the messaging app with the highest Q1 Usage Time, the exceptions being Line in Japan, WhatsApp in Brazil, and WhatsApp in Israel. With a Q1 install rate of almost 90%, Israeli WhatsApp users had an average Usage Time of almost 38 minutes.


Taking into account all Android apps, Line was the number 1 ranked app in Japan in Q1 2016, based on SimilarWeb’s Usage Rank. Over 80% of Japanese Android users have installed Line on their phones and 66.6% use it on a daily basis. Unsurprisingly, Line also had the highest Usage Time out of the 10 apps we looked at with the average user spending 42 minutes, 24 seconds a day using Line. In short, Japan is addicted to Line.

When looking at app retention metrics, Line outperforms its biggest competitors in Japan and showed a 30 day retention rate of 69% compared to 26% for WhatsApp, 23% for KakaoTalk, and 13% for Messenger.


Though KakaoTalk and Whatsapp are the 2 leaders in terms of Q1 Usage Time, Kik, showed a high level of popularity in the Netherlands. With an Android install rate of 2.6%, Kik users spent an average of 29 minutes, 26 seconds a day within the app and made the app rise to 91st place when looking at all Netherlands apps according to Usage Rank.


On 3 different apps, Android users in the Philippines showed the lowest average Usage Time out of the 11 countries looked at. Those apps were KakaoTalk, WhatsApp, and Line.  On KakaoTalk, Usage Time was 34.1% below average, WhatsApp was 53.8% below average, and Line was 62.8% below the average. Line’s Q1 Usage Time in Philippines was only 7 minutes, 47 seconds, far below the average of all 11 countries which came to 20 minutes, 54 seconds. This comes despite the fact that Line enjoys a high rate of installs in the country and was installed on 19% of all Android devices in the country.


Want to get in touch with someone from Russia? Don’t try messaging them on Hangouts, an app barely used among Russian Android users. Though the app comes pre-installed, the amount of Active App Users in Russia was only 5.2% in Q1, and the average Usage Time was less than 2 minutes a day, the lowest in this study.

Overall, WhatsApp is the most used messaging app in the country, though Viber isn’t far behind. In Q1 2016, Viber had an install rate of 45.8% compared to 51.6% for WhatsApp. However, on Usage Time, the difference becomes more stark as WhatsApp almost doubles Viber with 28 minutes, 18 seconds, compared to 14 minutes 52 seconds.


Similar to most other countries, KakaoTalk showed the highest average Q1 Usage Time in the UK, with 46 minutes, 2 seconds. Looking at other UK messaging apps, WhatsApp ranks 1st overall among communication apps, but its Messenger who showed an above average Usage Time. Among the 11 countries examined, the average Usage Time for Messenger was 9 minutes, 36 seconds, and in the UK that figure is just over 30 seconds higher.

Furthermore, Line, despite being the 38th ranked app in the UK, had an Active App User base comparable to Messenger, Viber, and Snapchat. An average of 30.8% of Line’s Android users in the UK open the app daily, compared to 32.4% for Messenger, 25.6% for Viber, and 33.1% for Snapchat. Though Line installs in the country are low (2.7%) UK users of the app are extremely loyal and the app beat out the likes of Snapchat, Skype, and WeChat on retention metrics. 

To learn more about app retention and to discover data on app uninstalls download our recent App Uninstalls Report.


                                  Click here to download the report


About the Author -

Joseph is a Digital Insights and Content Manager at SimilarWeb. He has experience in content writing, social media, and analytics. When not tracking digital trends and creating online content, Joseph enjoys hiking, basketball, pickling, and Canadian alternative music.

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