By 2019 a quarter of the world’s population will be using chat apps, according to fresh eMarketer data, and Asia Pacific is currently driving a large part of the growth.
Currently there are 1.4bn mobile chat app users in the world, of which 805m are based in Asia Pacific. Usage of chat apps has grown 16% this year, according to the report.
eMarketer says this is largely driven by Chinese consumers, who account for almost half the number, but it also driven by fast-growing markets such as India and Indonesia.
Surpassing the global growth rate, India is set to grow more than 24% this year to top 133 million chat app users, and Indonesia chat app users will grow 21% to top 52 million.
Chat apps present brands with an opportunity, but also a challenge, because using chat apps requires a different strategy to the social networks before them. Many brands are turning to chatbots to help automate and scale their activity, in a platform that otherwise requires heavy-lifting for moderation and a more one-to-one conversation style. CNN has been experimenting with chatbots for almost six months and Ogilvy is betting big on chatbots as a tool in its digital services, a direct result of the surge in popularity in messaging apps.