The Evolution of Chat: WeChat Statistics for a New Era

你好,西方间谍!欢迎来到我们辉煌的选择惊人的微信统计!

If you didn’t catch any of that, chances are you are not the primary target demographic contributing to the rapid rise of one of the world’s biggest social networking ecosystems. Or my Chinese needs a serious brush-up. Either way, you’re here already, so we might as well get started. Here are some WeChat Statistics for your reading pleasure.

Key WeChat Statistics for 2020

  • WeChat is the fifth most popular social network in the world with over 1.1 billion monthly active users.
  • 45 billion messages are sent through WeChat every day.
  • WeChat accounts for over a third of all data information traffic in China.
  • 53.4% of people using WeChat are aged between 25 and 35.
  • WeChat’s parent company TenCent made 13.7 billion in total revenues during Q3 of 2019.

WeChat General Statistics

1. With more than 1.1 billion monthly active users, WeChat ranks fifth among the world’s most popular social networks.

(Statista)

Although the majority of WeChat active users come from one country, the popular Chinese social network managed to outrank Instagram, Reddit and Twitter. The global leader is still Facebook with 2.4 billion users worldwide. YouTube comes in second with around 2 billion users, followed by WhatsApp with 1.6 billion. Facebook Messenger is fourth with 1.3 billion users, ahead of WeChat, which is followed by Instagram with 1 billion and Tencent’s other social network QQ with 808 million users worldwide.

One thing to note though is that WhatsApp, Instagram and FB Messenger are popular around the globe, while WeChat gets the vast majority of its users from China. WeChat statistics in the US account for less than 10% of the overall user and usage volume globally.


2. 79% of internet users in China use WeChat/Weixin.

(We Are Social)

We already established that the Chinese market is by far the biggest contributor to WeChat stats globally. So how are things looking over there? According to WeAreSocial’s research, WeChat’s chinese client Weixin is used by nearly three quarters of the population.

It’s followed by Baidu Tieba and QQ that 72% and 68% of the survey respondents mentioned using. Other popular social platforms include Sina Weibo (60%), Youku (59%) and QZone (56%).


3. 45 billion messages are sent through WeChat every day.

(PHD Media)

To be fair, the vast majority of messages are sent through the Chinese version of the software, Weixin. Nevertheless, for our purposes, whether WeChat or Weixin, we’ll be considering all of the stats for both versions of the app under the umbrella of the name used on the international market. WeChat usage statistics in 2019 show a constant growth trend from 2017. If we compare WeChat vs WhatsApp, though, WhatsApp still has a sizeable lead, with around 55 billion messages sent each day.


4. 410 million audio and video calls are made on WeChat daily.

(PHD Media)

Here’s another impressive WeChat statistic from QuestMobile’s research. According to their WeChat statistics from 2018, each day over 400 million calls were made through WeChat. That represents a 570% increase since 2015, which shows just how quickly the app’s popularity soared during the past few years.


5. WeChat accounts for over a third of all data information traffic in China.

(CAICT)

Statistics about WeChat show that 34% of all data traffic in China is generated by WeChat and its massive network of related products such as WePay and Micro Programs. Compare this to Facebook, the world’s largest social network – it accounts for 23.6% of data information traffic in Latin America and only 14.1% in the United States.


6. 81.1% of smartphone users in China were projected to use WeChat in 2019.

(eMarketer) (We Are Social)

EMarketer’s WeChat predictions from 2017 turned out pretty accurate when it comes to the number of mobile WeChat users in 2019. EMarketer predicts that the number will keep growing, and that by 2021 market penetration will reach 82.8% of smartphone users and 90.4% of those using mobile messaging apps.

WeChat Chinese user statistics by WeAreSocial paint a similar picture. The app is a dominant force among mobile users, ahead of Tencent’s other big property QQ, AliBaba’s AliPay and Taobao, Unksure’s Wifi Master Key, Baidu’s Baidu and Tencent’s third top ten app – Tencent Video.


7. WeChat was the fifth most downloaded mobile app in China in 2018.

(We Are Social)

According to WeAreSocial’s WeChat mobile statistics, TikTok was in the lead in 2018, which is no surprise considering the app exploded last year and saw millions of downloads across both Google Play and the App Store. It was followed by Pinduoduo, Iqiyi and Tencent Video. We can attribute the lower WeChat download numbers on the list to the fact that it’s already installed on millions of devices, with a market penetration of around four-fifths among smartphone users. The same is true of Tencent’s other big messaging service, QQ, which placed ninth in WeAreSocial’s survey. There are also a lot of users on WeChat for web, the browser-based version of WeChat which doesn’t require any downloads.


8. Chat (88%) and Moments (76%) are the most-used WeChat functions.

(PHD Media)

QuestMobile’s stats on WeChat show that the chat function is still the most popular use of the app, but Moments, a function for sharing pictures with captions and websites has been gaining popularity ever since it launched back in 2012. Some other popular aspects of WeChat’s digital ecosystem are WeChat public accounts with 66% usage and mini Programs that 34% of the WeChat user base make use of on a regular basis. It’s interesting to note that that Entertainment function is used regularly by only 20% of WeChat’s online population.


9. 80% of China’s top 500 companies use WeChat Work.

(PHD Media)

Another important aspect of WeChat statistics is the stellar performance of their work-related platform WeChat Work. Not only are more than 1.5 million companies from 50 different industries signed up to the platform, but the list also includes local major players such as JD and Pinduoduo, as well as international giants like Pepsi. In addition to WeChat Work there are plenty of other ways to reach target audiences, including WeChat Subscription Accounts, WeChat Service Accounts, mini Programs, and various forms of in-app advertising.


10. WeChat’s parent company, TenCent made $13.7 billion in total revenues during the third quarter of 2019.

(Tencent) (YCharts)

According to the latest report from Tencent, it earned nearly $14 billion during the third quarter of 2019, a year-over-year increase of 21% compared to the same quarter in 2018. The company’s WeChat ecosystem of products and services as well as their other social platform, QQ, are traditionally major contributors to the figures. However, Tencent doesn’t release separate WeChat revenue statistics so we can only speculate about percentages.

As of December 2019, the Tencent market cap was around $403 billion, a massive increase in five years from $135 billion in 2014, but also a lot lower than the company’s best – 579 billion at the beginning of 2018. The company had big losses in 2018, but has managed to consolidate in 2019 and is slowly making up for the lost ground.


11. WeChat Moments is used by 750 million people daily.

(WeChat)

WeChat Moments is basically a social-network-lite function of WeChat (as opposed to a WeChat public account, which is basically a WeChat version of a social network such as Facebook). The name in Chinese translates to “Friends’ circle” and the idea is that people can get access to as well as share personal information, pictures and so on. The most common usage ends up looking a bit like Reddit threads, though, as a lot of people spend their time in Moments sharing captioned pictures and memes. You can also share statuses and interesting websites.


12. WeChat Pay has a 38.9% mobile-payment market share in China.

(Yahoo!)

According to Yahoo Finance’s WeChat Pay statistics for 2019, Tencent’s WeChat Pay holds nearly 40% of the mobile market share. The dominant force in this market segment is still Alibaba, whose Alipay holds over 50% of the market. Combined, the two giants dwarf China UnionPay’s efforts, as the state-backed company only launched its mobile banking platform in 2017, too late to pose serious competition to Alipay (2009) and WeChat Pay (2013).


13. There are around 300 million active daily users using WeChat mini Programs.

(WeChat Wiki)

One of WeChat’s many useful features for businesses was the introduction of mini Programs, basically sub-apps within the WeChat interface, which could be used by companies to help advertise or provide useful features for their users. Examples you can find at the WeChat store include everything from Tencent’s own mini apps for streaming video and music, to hugely popular apps by eCommerce titans such as Pinduoduo.


14. With 891 million daily active users, eCommerce is the most popular category for WeChat user traffic.

(PHD Media)

Despite the large investments that eCommerce companies make to have a presence in WeChat mini Programs, users still interact with them much more through the app. According to QuestMobile’s WeChat ecommerce statistics, there are 639 million daily active users across eCommerce apps and 252 million DAU in mini programs. The Lifestyle section follows with 528 million DAU across apps and 264 in the mini Programs.

Video game apps are also huge, with 525 million DAU, however mini Programs are not really a very developed category here, so it has only 175 million daily users. When it comes to user traffic, WeChat trends show that travel is the most balanced category in terms of the split between apps (360 DAU) and mini Programs (234 DAU). Finally, regardless of popular Tencent products such as Tencent Video, most of the user traffic (550 DAU) comes from apps, while only 42 million daily active users make use of mini Programs.

WeChat User Statistics

15. 53.4% of people using WeChat are aged between 25 and 35.

(Statista) (WalktheChat)

According to Statista, the age group of 25-30 is the most prominent with 28.30%, followed by the 31-35 bracket with 25.10% and those aged 19-24 with 19%. Another 20% or so is people aged 36-45, while those under 18 and over 46 account for only 6.50% of the WeChat user base. These statistics seem identical to the ones by WalkTheChat, so I’d take them with a grain of salt. The reason is because WalkTheChat used them to refer only to people following WeChat Official Accounts, and that is only 80% of all WeChat account owners. Still, they line up with earlier estimates, and show statistics similar to most other social networks. People between 25 and 35 are the most frequent users, while usage drops sharply after 35 and again after 45.


16. 63 million WeChat users are over 55 years old.

(PHD Media) (XINHUANET)

Whether they are using the WeChat web app or public accounts, the 55+ demographic is on the rise. People in this age bracket also tend to use WeChat for the majority of their time spent on the internet, and they spend most of their internet traffic looking up information and reading articles about health issues or food. According to Tencent’s WeChat statistics, they have over 100 friends and spend just over an hour and a half on WeChat every day.


17. 53.3% of WeChat app accounts and 57.2% of followers on WeChat Official Accounts are male.

(WalktheChat) (Statista)

WeChat usage statistics show that there are slightly more men on WeChat compared to women (53.3% vs 46.7%). Another WeChat trend is that men tend to follow Official Accounts more than women do (57.2% vs 42.8%).

The differences are not all that significant, though, showing a fairly balanced gender distribution across the board. Facebook, on the other hand, is skewed more towards the female population (55.4% vs 44.6%).


18. The average WeChat user has 110% more friends on their contact list now compared to 2015.

(PHD Media)

WeChat’s rapid expansion in Asia can best be illustrated by looking at the number of friends an average user has on their WeChat friends list. These days even seniors have over 100 friends on their list, and the majority of WeChat users tend to have over 200.   Although the number of monthly WeChat downloads netted it only the fifth spot on WeAreSocial’s list for January 2019, this can be explained by the fact that the user base has already been significant in China for years now, and many people have the app installed already.


19. The average WeChat user spends 63 minutes per month using WeChat mini program apps.

(WeChat Wiki)

Ever since their launch in 2017, WeChat’s mini programs have been evolving constantly.

There are over 2.3 million mini programs as of January 2019, and usage has shot up as well, from around 50 minutes to over an hour per month.

It’s still a fairly small number compared to WeChat usage statistics across some other fields, but the growth trend shows that WeChat is onto something here, and the mini programs are helping more and more businesses interact with their clients on a somewhat regular basis.


20. 43% of mini-program shoppers prefer shopping on the platform because they don’t want to download apps.

(PHD Media)

Mini programs come in many forms. Some are handy tools such as video and music streaming services, directions and translation services, but most are eCommerce related that help companies stay in touch with their user base and advertise/sell their products in a simple and intuitive manner. They are a major factor contributing to the WeChat revenue of big Chinese online retailers such as Pinduoduo, but some major Western brands such as Burberry and Michael Kors have also jumped on the bandwagon.

Nearly half of mini-program shoppers find this to be a preferable method of shopping compared to downloading separate apps, while 40% mentioned group discounts often offered when you and your friends on WeChat make an order through a company’s mini program. Friend recommendations were mentioned by 34% of people and sign-in incentives by 27%. Targeted products and bargains accounted for only 21% and 17% of answers in QuestMobile’s survey, though.


21. 47.8% of users would purchase a product recommended by a KOL influencer on WeChat directly.

(WalktheChat)

A KOL, or key opinion leader is a connoisseur and recognized expert in a certain field. When it comes to lifestyle and fashion, they are often celebrities, famous musicians and actors. This makes them excellent influencers and in China they are in hot demand as their WeChat valuation carries extra weight and can bring in a truckload of new customers.

The latest WeChat statistics show that nearly half of the app’s users are ready to buy a product on a recommendation from their favorite key opinion leader. The market is also maturing, as other stats show that KOL campaign budgets are on the rise each year. Beauty and clothing categories dominate in terms of KOL sales, however internet companies tend to have the biggest budgets for their KOL campaigns.


22. 40.3% of WeChat users donated to charity in 2017.

(CAICT)

The WeChat community tends to get involved in social welfare programs and charity work promoted across the platform. According to statistics for WeChat  from 2017, two-fifths of users donated at least a small amount to charity, which is nearly twice the number from 2015.

WeChat Official Account Statistics

23. 80% of WeChat users interact with WeChat official accounts.

(China Internet Watch)

According to QuestMobile, most WeChat users in 2018 had some sort of interaction with companies via the “official account” feature. Despite other forms of advertising, such as banner ads and key opinion leader campaigns, most WeChat users interact with brands through the “official accounts” feature. These are basically like public accounts but for companies, and they serve as a tool for customer outreach and advertising.


24. Almost half of users (49.3%) follow between 10 and 20 WeChat Official Accounts.

(WalktheChat)

When it comes to statistics for WeChat official accounts, nearly half of WeChat users follow a moderate number of accounts, while nearly a quarter (24%) follow fewer than ten. Another 19.7% keep up with between 20 and 30 businesses and those following more than 30 account for about 7% of users. Women tend to be “power followers,” with a third following more than 30 accounts, compared to just 23.3% of men.


25. 53.7% of WeChat users spend between 10 and 30 minutes per day browsing official accounts.

(WalktheChat)

If you are considering getting a WeChat subscription for your business, consider this: While the majority of users spend a certain amount of time interacting with the content on official accounts, the time spent there represents only a fraction of their overall daily time on WeChat. People prefer getting short and concise messages and figures they can use to compare different retailers when making purchasing decisions.

If we consider that, depending on your account type, you’ll only get either four messages per month or one push notification per day, you have a limited platform to get the most out of WeChat customer outreach in this way.


26. 62.4% of users prefer hearing from brands through WeChat official accounts.

(WalktheChat)

Despite the fact that users don’t spend too much of their time on WeChat interacting with brands online, they still prefer to do so through official accounts above the other options. Mini programs have been gaining in popularity during the last couple of years but according to WeChat stats from WalkTheChat, only 35.8% of consumers mentioned them in the survey. When it comes to communication channels that people prefer to follow,  groups and private accounts are also significantly less popular than official accounts, with 27.4% and 24.5% of the votes, respectively.


27. 57% of users that unfollow a brand’s official account say it’s because they receive too many messages.

(WalktheChat)

A lot of official accounts get unfollowed by customers, as well. The two main reasons people mention for unfollowing a brand show how tricky managing audiences can be – 57% of people cited “too many messages” and overly aggressive campaign tactics, while 47% mentioned that it’s because a brand hasn’t been active for a while. “Not useful” was a factor mentioned 42% of the time and “bad quality content” 40.6%, showing that a lot of brands aren’t delivering content that’s up to the standards of the WeChat user base.

Other reasons mentioned for unfollowing a brand were that they don’t answer questions (34%), the user is not interested in the content (32%) and that the user has lost interest in the brand (24%). In other words, quality content and appropriate user engagement is needed in order to stay relevant to your customers over time.


28. Most WeChat users discover new WeChat official accounts through recommendations from other such accounts (57.3%) or by searching (45%).

(WalktheChat)

Here is another interesting WeChat statistic – when it comes to reaching new audiences through WeChat’s official accounts, collaborating with brands in your own niche is the best way to get noticed by new prospects. This is especially useful for new and upcoming brands that have yet to reach wider audiences, but can be a good way for established businesses to get more followers/potential customers, as well.

Friend recommendations are also a good way to get noticed, as WeChat trends show that 41% of people discover new official accounts through friend recommendations on WeChat.


29. 67.3% of people “like” an article after reading it on a WeChat official account.

(WalktheChat)

According to WalkTheChat and QuestMobile’s WeChat usage statistics, the most common reaction that people have after reading a post on a WeChat official account is to leave a “like.” More than half of the respondents in QuestMobile’s survey (51.7%) also said that they share articles with their friends. 40.3% will do the same but through WeChat Moments, while 20% will add it to their collection. Finally, 6% mentioned that they would give tips and feedback on the article.


30. Only 3% of articles have 10k views or more, but they account for 49.8% of all article views on official account pages.

(WalktheChat)

Although the number of articles that get significant amounts of views is a negligible percentage of the overall articles posted, people tend to go over those articles and re-read them several times.

WeChat trends show that popular brands and their content get followed almost religiously, while the majority of other content and brands have trouble getting people’s attention and staying relevant.

FAQ:

  • Is WeChat free?

Yes. WeChat is absolutely free to download or use on your browser (WeChat for Web) but if you have a business that wants to advertise and interact with customers you have to make an official account, which costs money to maintain.

  • Does WeChat use a lot of data?

No, it’s a fairly light app according to our test. WeChat support claims that the average voice call consumes between 0.9 and 1.2 kb/s of data, 1000 text messages use about 1 megabyte, compressed images, around 50-200kb, and videos, around 20-30kb/s.

  • What are WeChat official accounts?

They are pages for businesses used to find followers, send them push notifications and redirect them towards the company’s website/eCommerce platform. Official accounts are simply pages that function like public accounts, but for businesses instead of individuals, and are thus focused on customer outreach.

  • What is the difference between service and subscription accounts?

The difference is in how many messages your brand can send, and what other features your business account has access to. When you do a Weixin/WeChat sign up, you can pick what kind of public account you want to make (user or business) and if it’s a business account, you can decide what type of business account you want. Service accounts appear in WeChat Messenger’s friends feed and they have additional options such as WeChat payment, but are limited to posting four messages per month.

Subscription accounts, on the other hand, have the ability to send one notification per day to their followers, but they appear in a separate folder alongside a bunch of other advertisers, separate from other people on a person’s friends list. They also don’t get access to some bonus features such as geo-localization and WeChat payment.

  • Can I recover deleted WeChat messages?

Usually the answer is yes. It’s a fairly easy and straightforward process, but it doesn’t always work. All you need to do is go into the settings tab within WeChat, select chat and then go into chat history. From here you can backup and restore your chat history. However, if you’ve never made a backup, all is not lost – Apple backs up data from IOS apps and all you need to do is install a data recovery program that will go through your internally backed up files and find your deleted or lost messages.

  • How do I unfreeze my WeChat account?

Simply go into the WeChat app, select “more options,” then go into the WeChat security center, select the “unfreeze account” option. If, for whatever reason, you decide to freeze your account again, the procedure is the same except that this time you select “freeze” in the unfreeze-account menu. Freezing an account can be useful in order to temporarily suspend it without actually cancelling or deleting it.

  • Is Weixin and WeChat the same?

Functionally yes, but there are some differences. As we already mentioned, those using WeChat in China call it Weixin. Although it is essentially the same app, the Chinese version gives you access to more features, such as the wallet, cards, and offers functionalities. These allow for quick payments and cash transfers, including those to other Weixin users. Which one you get depends on whether you register your account for the first time using a Chinese number (+86) or an international one.

Although the two programs are not the same, people talking about WeChat statistics generally mean both the international app version (WeChat) and Weixin statistics generated in mainland China. The latter account for the vast majority of the statistics that we’ve discussed, as most of WeChat/Weixin’s 1.1 billion users come from China and Asia in general.

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