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“Hey, why don’t you send me a text?” said no one ever in 2013. That might not be an accurate, or even true statement, but it’s just a matter of time before it is, if you go by the prevalence of instant messaging apps.
That’s right, text is dead (or dying very quickly), and instant messaging apps are the killer. In 2012 alone, it’s purported that mobile operators lost US$23-billion because teens used instant messaging apps rather than text messages.
For the user, it’s a no-brainer, why pay to send a text message (at hiked prices too) when you can use an internet-based service like Snapchat, Whatsapp or WeChat to do the exact same thing, for free?
The rise of instant messaging apps the world over has created a new market, one as competitive as any in the current tech space (read: Snapchat turning down US$3-billion from Facebook), and there doesn’t seem to be an out-and-out dominant player at this stage of the game. As the emerging markets, and the next one billion people, get connected, which instant messaging service will they be drawn to?
Below’s infographic from visual.ly shows off key elements of the top ten instant messaging apps in the world, and will hopefully illuminate and contextualise the market as it stands today.