Despite its recent popularity, WeChat doesn’t have as strong of a presence as other social media platforms. But based on the most recent WeChat statistics available, there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic about it.
WeChat has evolved over the years. It’s no longer a simple messaging app. You can use its features to process payments as well. And while some of those in the US may not have heard of it, it’s definitely huge in other parts of the world, especially in China.
In this post, we’re rounding up the most recent WeChat stats available so you can get a better idea of its potential — even more so for business owners.
Let’s take a look at how people around the world use WeChat as part of their everyday lives.
WeChat’s meteoric rise is simply mind-blowing. From having roughly 2.8 million monthly active users back in Q2 of 2011, it now generates 1.24 billion users every month on average in 2021.
WeChat users like features like Moments, voice and text messaging, group messaging, payments, and games. People can also follow other users. On average, a WeChat user will follow 10 to 20 people.
WeChat is huge in China. It’s so in-demand that users of the platform end up sending more than 45 billion messages per day. And that’s not even taking into account WeChat Pay which has 800 million users.
The app’s integration into the daily life of Chinese people is partly the reason for the growing number of WeChat users. They use it to book cabs, restaurants, and even movie tickets. It also helps that Facebook and Google are not allowed to operate in the country.
Source: Harvard Business Review
WeChat is the top choice for Chinese web users for daily work communication. Of the 20,000 users surveyed, an overwhelming majority (90%) said that they prefer WeChat over other workplace communication tools.
Tencent’s research arm, Penguin Intelligence, said that 87.7% of WeChat users rely on the app for work communication. Only 59.5% use phones, text, and fax machines. Emails only count for 22.6% of those surveyed.
Source: South China Morning Post
A whopping 80% of WeChat users have an official account. However, only 73% of WeChat’s total users follow official accounts. 10% follow fewer than 10.
Users will spend 10 to 30 minutes a day going through official accounts. This is on the low side considering that the average WeChat user will spend an average of 77 minutes per day on the platform.
41% of users will follow official accounts based on the recommendations of their friends and acquaintances.
Source: China Internet Watch
As of January 2020, WeChat ranks as the 5th most-used social media platform in the world. It’s just behind Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.
It has over a billion users. By comparison, Facebook has more than 2 billion users globally.
WeChat surpassed other popular social platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.
The ranking is based on monthly active users, active user accounts, advertising audiences, or unique monthly visitors.
Source: We Are Social
While most countries still use other messaging platforms, WeChat has completely taken over China as its top app for messaging.
The rest of the world uses WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber among other options. This data is as recent as 2019.
Source: We Are Social
This might come as a surprise to some, but WeChat Pay has more users than Apple Pay. The former took 84.3% of the market share in the mobile payment sector in China. That makes it number one in that country.
By comparison, Apple Pay only has 127 million active monthly users. And that’s taking into account that the app comes bundled with the iPhone.
WeChat Pay has over 900 million active users. And in China, there are over 40 million stores that can process transactions through WeChat Pay.
Source: Dragon Social
China chose WeChat for its digital health certificate program for vaccinated travelers. The goal of the certification is to promote world economic recovery and facilitate cross-border travel. However, the health certificate is only available to Chinese citizens.
This was essentially the world’s first vaccination passport.
Just as 2020 ended, at least 100 million users said that they used WeChat Mini Programs to make at least one purchase. This is the reason why the number of Mini Programs used per capita rose by 25% compared to the 2019 numbers.
The average value of transactions surged to nearly two-thirds.
These mini programs are also responsible for the prevention and control of Covid-19 in China since people used the Health Code Mini Program to check the health status of customers as they entered a public space.
Source: China Daily
Who uses WeChat? In this section, we’ll give you all the answers.
A report from Tencent says that internet users that are over 50 years old like using WeChat. Even at their age, 98.5% of the surveyed users reported having no problems using the messaging feature.
83% said that they are able to send and receive hongbao, a digital version of the red envelope that Chinese people use to exchange monetary gifts.
The survey sample size was 800. 62.3% of them were aged 50 to 60, 29.9% were anywhere between 61 and 70. 7.9% of those surveyed were 71 to 80.
Male WeChat users will focus on finance-themed official accounts. By contrast, women will spend more time on shopping-related accounts and children’s education.
The same source mentions that women are more likely to be influenced by official account recommendations. On average, women will follow 20 official accounts. Men, on the other hand, will follow fewer than 20.
Source: China Internet Watch
Statista reported in 2019 that 25% of WeChat users are between 25 and 30 years old. 19% of users are over 41 years old.
The biggest age group is the 24-and-under demographic which makes up 33.5% of WeChat users.
According to The New York Times, WeChat has been downloaded in the United States nearly 22 million times since 2014. It accounts for 7% of downloads outside of China.
This information is as recent as October 2020.
Source: The New York Times
Just before WeChat was supposed to get banned from the United States, there was an uptick in WeChat downloads. This was according to Sensor Tower, an analytics platform. The US saw the week-over-week installs of the WeChat app rise by up to 800%.
This was just before the order to ban TikTok and WeChat downloads was blocked by a federal judge.
Source: The Verge
The analytics firm Apptopia said that the United States has an average of 19 million daily active users. That’s just from July to September 2020 alone.
Also, the order to block American users from downloading the app back in 2020 meant that up to 6 million Chinese people that live in the US will get cut off if the ban took effect. If Chinese users lose their access to WeChat, they’ll likely have to resort to using VPN connections to access other messaging apps that are banned in their home country.
How can WeChat help your business? And what are some of the things that entrepreneurs should keep in mind if they’re thinking of using WeChat to promote their products or services? Let’s take a look.
WeChat’s website gets around 2.4 million total visits a month as of 2021. As of July of the same year, it received 2.55 million visits. With the site mainly promoting the app, the average visit duration is just 2 minutes and 44 seconds on average.
These numbers are for both mobile and desktop devices. 53.25% of traffic is direct while 40.37% comes from search engines.
Mini Programs give users quick access to enterprise-level services for WeChat’s merchant and service providers. It’s been so helpful—especially in light of the pandemic—that it managed to exceed 400 million daily active users.
Both the number of Mini Programs used per user and the average transaction value increased by 25% and 67% respectively.
Mini Programs is responsible for helping entrepreneurs digitize and give access to millions of WeChat users during government-imposed lockdowns.
If you’re planning on entering the Chinese market using WeChat, you should know that there are three types of WeChat business accounts. There’s the Subscription account, the Service account, and the Enterprise account (also referred to as WeChat Work).
The important thing to note is that foreign companies are only allowed to register a Service account.
A Subscription account is meant for communicating with the community. A Service account helps with marketing products and services. An Enterprise account is a digital ecosystem that brings companies, services, and consumers together.
Source: Tenba Group
Burberry launched a social retail store in China through WeChat’s Mini Program. It used an interesting concept that rewards customers for engaging with the brand offline and online.
The store is a 5,800-square-foot facility in Shenzhen and was built in partnership with Tencent Technology. Chinese consumers account for a third of the world’s luxury sales. It represents 40% of Burberry’s business. Even during the pandemic, sales in China remained strong with sales growing by 30% in June 2020.
Source: Vogue Business
Here, we’ll discuss the business philosophy of WeChat and take a closer look at how it’s performing as far as revenue is concerned.
The developers of WeChat used the “grand design” logic instead of design thinking when building the app. Design thinking is where you integrate practical, user-oriented solutions that are technologically feasible and economically viable.
WeChat went the opposite route. The team treated the app as a piece of art — focusing on the aesthetics to make it simpler for end-users. This philosophy extends to the presence of advertisers on the platform. Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, WeChat users only see a maximum of two ads per day via the Moments feature.
Source: Harvard Business Review
WeChat Pay is the model that Asean countries use to set up QR code payments. The technology has already been used in China for around a decade. Now it’s slowly making its way to neighboring countries like Thailand.
The QR code payment system is so popular in China that WeChat generated 8.58 trillion yuan from its users in 2019. Revenue is expected to grow thanks to the strong growth of Chinese outbound tourism.
Source: Bangkok Post
Tencent, WeChat’s parent company, had a $60.602 billion revenue in 2020. This is a 21.67% increase from the previous year.
2020 was another great year for the company. Since 2017, the company has been on an upward trajectory — earning more than it did the previous year.
In 2017, the revenue was $35.1888 billion. That increased to $47.248 billion in 2018. By 2019, the revenue was $54.594 billion.
To compete with TikTok, Tencent increased its advertising efforts. However, the ad growth rate dropped from 38% in Q4 2018 to 16% in Q2 2019. That’s why WeChat is seeing more revamps to its advertising features to make them more beneficial and affordable.
Some of the changes include improvements to the banners ads to be more precise, the introduction of interstitial ads between transitions in Mini Programs, and the inclusion of video ads within Mini Programs.
Source: Sekkei Studio
Unfortunately, WeChat’s performance in the US as a mobile messaging app isn’t as strong as in Southeast Asia. As of 2019, WeChat only has 1.48 million users in the United States according to Statista.
Leading the mobile messaging service in the US is Facebook (Messenger) followed by Snapchat, WhatsApp, Messenger by Google, Discord, Google Hangouts, GroupMe, Kik, Skype, Telegram, and Line.
Some US-based WeChat users use the platform to communicate with family, friends, or co-workers in China.
According to a survey of 142 respondents, 88% expected a negative on US operations if users can’t access WeChat for communication. Of the group, 56.3% said they’d anticipate a loss of competitiveness if the 2020 WeChat ban pushed through.
More than 40% predicted a negative impact on their revenue — a third of which said they expected a loss of global revenue.
However, if the order was limited to transactions in the United States, 46.5% said that the impact would be limited. A quarter said that there would have been no impact at all.
WeChat’s new feature called Mini Shop makes it easier for online businesses to set up an online store. This marks another attempt by the company to grow its online shopping division.
This move will also make it easier for WeChat users to earn commissions by working with third-party e-commerce sites to sell their products. Tencent would then earn a small payment for processing the transactions.
Source: Nikkei Asia
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he wants to provide ways for users to communicate privately across all of his company’s apps.
This is the same strategy that WeChat used to become the giant that it is today. WeChat combines functions and services and puts them all under one roof. In countries like the US, people have to download different apps to do different things.
It appears that Facebook is about to head in a different direction — using WeChat’s approach to gaining more users.
Source: AP News
WeChat statistics sources
There you have it. These are the most recent statistics available for WeChat. By now, you’ll realize how crucial it is to invest in this platform especially if you’re planning on doing business in China. It’s now a part of their daily lives.
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