Exclusive New BBM Download Data
The most surprising aspect of BBM’s success is probably its strong showing in Asia, where it is competing head to head against powerhouse messaging apps like LINE, WeChat and KakaoTalk. Brand new data from Distimo shows download shares of leading messaging apps across a broad spectrum of Asian countries. This data was gathered over the month of November, so it does not include the first week spike of BBM downloads that yielded 10 Million new users across Apple's and Google's Android devices.
This is a market share snapshot from a period when the first wave of BlackBerry loyalists had already downloaded the app. It is fascinating that BBM managed to beat both LINE and Tencent’s WeChat in Indonesia with a towering 39% share. But it may be even more impressive that BBM hit 26% share in Malaysia, which has become the ground zero of Asian messaging app wars. This is 12 points below WeChat, but 9 points ahead of LINE. Both of these Asian rivals have poured a ton of marketing resources into Malaysia in 2013 in a bid to bind it to their sphere of influence.
BBM also manages to beat LINE and WeChat in Philippines, where Viber eked out a surprise win. Viber has turned into something of a black horse in the global messaging battles – few would have expected it to edge out giants like LINE and WeChat in markets like India and Philippines.
BBM obviously has three big headaches: China, Japan and Korea, where it is making no impact. What makes LINE so impressive is its ability to eke out 15-16% download share in China and Korea, territories utterly dominated by WeChat and KakaoTalk. LINE is really the only messaging system with genuine pan-Asian appeal. But for BBM, its early success in the populous markets of India, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia is more than anyone expected. If sustained, this traction should be enough to buoy the global BBM user base to 200 Million by the end of 2014. That is enough to turn the system into a major content delivery platform.
Exclusive New Survey Shows BlackBerry's BBM Beating WhatsApp And SnapChat In Key Markets
Distimo‘s brand new messaging app survey shows fascinating patterns from the period following BBM’s launch for Apple's -0.26% iOS platform. During the first month of availability, BBM was the most downloaded messaging app in UK and India – and only two percentage points behind WhatsApp in South Africa. In the hotly contested US market, BBM was eight points behind Snapchat, but well ahead of WhatsApp, Kik and Viber.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in Distimo’s survey was BBM’s phenomenal strength in UK and India. BlackBerry never really broke out in India and it has suffered a steep slide in the British smartphone market. It’s also interesting to note that despite its fantastic popularity in America, Snapchat still looks notably soft in emerging markets like India and South Africa.
WhatsApp’s relative weakness in the US market is also a bit of a shocker. It looks like Kik has pulled even with the global messaging behemoth in America, while even Viber is now within striking distance. WhatsApp has clearly started fading in affluent markets like USA and UK, where competition for the teen market is heating up rapidly. For BBM, getting within two percentage points of WhatsApp in both India and South Africa during November is little short of a triumph. It would be fascinating to get this same data from Google's +0.51% Android platform at some point.