Skip to main content

WhatsApp's user base saw a huge uptick in Q1 2022, but competition is growing

WhatsApp splash screen on mobile
WhatsApp splash screen (Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp has seen a significant increase in user engagement during the first quarter of 2022.
  • According to a new report, its user base increased by 41% in Q1.
  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict may have contributed to this increase, as people are using the app more than ever before to communicate in a secure environment.

WhatsApp's user engagement has increased significantly in the first quarter of this year, a new study reveals. MoneyTransfers.com, which compares various money transfer providers for sending money online, reports a 41% increase in user engagement during that time period for the Meta-owned messaging app.

WhatsApp's latest growth is due in large part to the massive volume of "power users" who use the platform every day. The study shows this classification of users accounts for 55% of WhatsApp’s monthly average users (MAUs) in Q1.

According to the study, users between the ages of 18 and 34 accounted for a large portion of that growth. This cohort increased their use of the core Facebook and Instagram apps in addition to WhatsApp.

"Among the top apps evaluated, WhatsApp had the highest percentage of power users," MoneyTransfers.com says (opens in new tab). "Moreover, it had the highest year-over-year growth in this category."

The Russia-Ukraine conflict may also have played a role in this uptick, as people are using the app more often than before to securely communicate. By the same token, Telegram also saw 15.5% of its MAUs open the app every day during the first quarter.

Line, a Japanese messaging platform, ranked second with 45% of MAUs in the first quarter of 2022, up from 35% during the year-ago quarter. Messenger came in third, with 16.4% of MAUs during Q1, up from approximately 12% in the same period last year.

According to the research, some of Meta's best messaging apps (opens in new tab), such as WhatsApp and Messenger, currently have the largest market share in the United States. As a result, Meta's apps accounted for 78% of usage during the period.

That said, Meta is facing growing competition from other social platforms like Telegram, which regularly rolls out major improvements to its app almost on a monthly basis. Over the last two years, rival apps have captured 22% of the market share, up from 14% in Q1 2020.

Meta does not appear to be resting on its laurels, though. The company has been hard at work in recent months to provide significant updates and new features to WhatsApp users. This includes the launch of the Communities tab (opens in new tab) to bring together various groups under one roof. WhatsApp also recently gained emoji reactions (opens in new tab) and a larger file sharing limit.

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.