WhatsApp's Multi-Year Download Decline Finally Stopped

Ariel Ariel
8/4/23

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - July Was a Big Month.... Check out the full article for more insights.


Meta's WhatsApp, the messenger that's so popular outside of the US some governments rely on it to communicate, has been on a serious downloads slump in the last few years.

Which makes sense - so many people have WhatsApp already + the app comes preinstalled on many Android devices new downloads dropping isn't a serious surprise.

Well, that seems to be changing now.

Since 2020, WhatsApp's monthly downloads dropped by 50%. Our estimates show 63M downloads in January of 2020 and just 31M in January of 2023.

"Everyone has WhatsApp" doesn't really cover such a drop...

Competition from Telegram and Signal, which was co-founded by WhatsApp's co-founder, has taken chunks of users away users at a constant pace in 2020 and 2021 after a mistake by WhatApp and calls from many leading figures in the privacy space to switch away.

Although both competitors are smaller in scale overall, their downloads grew when WhatsApp's shrunk indicating enough potential users decided not to try WhatsApp but instead to go with a competitor.

That loss could amount to as many as 50M new users that didn't go with WhatsApp!

Downloads eventually normalized for all three, but this summer, all three are now on the rise.

WhatsApp's downloads rose 34% since April and Telegram's 14%. In more absolute numbers, that's 43M for WhatsApp and 25M for Telegram. Signal also grew, but its downloads are an order of magnitude smaller that it's less relevant.

And fun fact, even though WhatApps isn't as popular in the US as it is outside of the US, on the App Store, the US is WhatsApp's biggest driver of downloads. That isn't the case on Google Play, where India dominates. The downloads there are also 5x those of the App Store.

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

Tagged: #communication

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