A Day in the Life of Messaging Apps: Usage Demographics

Bridges are a study in structure and design; their parallels to messaging apps can’t be denied. Just as a bridge links location from point A to point B, messaging apps connect one person to another, and both are part of a user’s unique journey. Here at Verto, we took a closer look at the demographic data that drives a day in the life of messaging apps and builds bridges among users.

Snapchat Usage Peaks at Night

Messaging app usage varies depending on both the app and time of day. Email apps’ usage starts earlier in the morning than other messaging apps while Facebook Messenger and iOS and Android messaging apps usage starts later in the morning. However, all three see a gradual decline in users in the late afternoon and early evening hours. Not all apps see a decline in the evening, however, as Twitter and Snapchat peak at 9:00 p.m.

Notably, there are a large number of alternative messaging apps and a lot of competition for users and their time. Our data showed a complexity within usage trends, as many users also used multiple messaging apps in parallel. This parallel usage paints a picture where consumers’ messaging app choices vary depending on work, leisure time or an individual’s needs throughout the day.

Men Prefer WhatsApp, Women Instagram

Our data showed messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Skype, Google Hangouts, and Outlook messaging are preferred more by men. Google Hangouts and Microsoft Outlook alone accounted for 60 percent of the male users within the respective messaging apps.

Alternately, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, and Yahoo Mail are popular among women. Instagram grabs the highest percentage of female users among the four at 63 percent. There is a further divide too within native iOS messaging apps (Mail and Messages) as those are used more by women — a fact partly driven by the higher share of women using iOS (62 percent and 64 percent, respectively).

Email for Older, Snapchat for Younger Users

Demographics of age and income are important in understanding the complexities within messaging apps. Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram are used primarily by younger people, with Snapchat being particularly popular among users between 21 to 29-years-old (51 percent). Older people tend to use email messaging apps to stay in touch with family and friends.

Income also plays a role as native iOS messaging apps and Microsoft Outlook are used more by higher-income people. Messages (for iOS) claim the highest percentage of users (27%) of those who make between 100-150K annually. Messaging app usage overall is diverse and varies depending on the app in lower income ranges.

The most notable point when looking at this data is that fragmentation of messaging to multiple apps exists within the market, and different types of people select different subsets of available messaging apps to use. Additionally, people typically use many apps in parallel, which accounts for similarities within different demographics. What is clear is that people will continue to use messaging apps to bridge together and communicate while usage and demographics continue to change as time evolves.