Malaysian youngsters just want to WeChat

BY JENNIFER GOMEZ

Market researcher GlobalWebIndex (GWI) presented its findings on social media use in 32 countries today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 18, 2014.

Published: 18 November 2014

Market researcher GlobalWebIndex (GWI) presented its findings on social media use in 32 countries today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 18, 2014.
Market researcher GlobalWebIndex (GWI) presented its findings on social media use in 32 countries today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 18, 2014.
Users of mobile messaging app WeChat in Malaysia grew by a whopping 1,187% between the first quarter of last year and the third quarter of 2014, which is more than 10 times the global growth rate.

Worldwide, WeChat’s user base increased by 156% over the corresponding seven quarters, a survey by market research GlobalWebIndex (GWI) in 32 countries revealed today.

In comparison, messaging app WhatsApp’s user base in Malaysia only grew by 202% while Facebook messenger grew by 192% during the same review period.

The survey also found that in Malaysia, WeChat was most popular among 16 to 34-year-olds, which dominated more than 80% of the user base in the country.
GWI also found the app had the youngest demographic out of all competing social communications apps, with a third of its global active user base aged between 16 and 24.

Of this group, 80% of them said it was critical for them to be contactable at all times.

“We are excited about WeChat’s strong growth momentum both globally and throughout Malaysia, and expect to see it adding more users in the coming quarters,” GWI head of trends Jason Mander told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur today.

While Facebook still dominates in Malaysia – with 96% of Internet users in the country having a Facebook account – global trend reveals that people are using social networks more passively with a consistent quarter-on-quarter decline.

According to Mander, in certain countries, WeChat also benefits from not being a Facebook product, where the younger generation views the social network as not being the coolest choice.

“Teenagers feel strongly about using the same messaging platform as their parents, who would typically be using Facebook, as such, they prefer WeChat over Facebook,” Mander said.

He added that another general trend in Malaysia was that WeChat users were younger and more affluent than Facebook users.

The research also found that three-quarters of WeChat users in Malaysia were strongly interested in travel and films while two-thirds were into food and music.

More than 15% were also likely to have a strong interest in fashion.

A study on the country’s WeChat user behaviour revealed that half said that having the latest tech products was important.

GWI also found that the app was popular among the ambitious generation in Malaysia, where the study found that 63% of WeChat users in the country saying they liked to try new products while 62% said that they regularly informed friends and family about new products and services.

Another 57% users said the app was critical for them to be contactable at all times.

WeChat’s dominant position in the messaging app arena is signified by nearly a quarter of the global Internet users and is even higher in the Asia-Pacific region at 39%.

More than half of WeChat users in Malaysia also say that they feel more insecure without their mobile phones than their wallets.

The study also revealed that conversations are now moving away from traditional social networks towards mobile messaging apps, where in Malaysia, there has been a 55% increase in the numbers using mobile messaging tools since 2013.

The top reasons for this surge include: staying in touch with what friends (89%) and using mobile messaging tools to share photos or videos with others (65%).

And free apps are still attractive.

The GWI study polled users in 32 countries, which represents 89% of the world’s Internet population. – November 18, 2014.

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