WhatsApp has been getting more attention in the US

iMessage is certainly one of the most popular messaging platforms in the US, which has resulted in long-standing discussion about its interoperability with non-Apple devices. While some users are waiting for the iPhone to get RCS support later this year, it seems that Meta has been taking advantage of this situation as WhatsApp’s daily active user base has grown in the U.S. But will it ever overtake iMessage?

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WhatsApp’s daily active user base grows in the U.S.

According to analytics firm Apptopia, WhatsApp was one of the most downloaded apps in the U.S. in 2023, along with Theads, TikTok, and Instagram. It had 5% more downloads than last year, while the daily active user base in the US grew by 9% last year. More interestingly, Apptopia says that WhatsApp is becoming more popular among iPhone users.

But why is WhatsApp getting more attention from users in the US? Journalist Alex Kantrowitz believes that the iMessage versus SMS and RCS fight is one of the reasons behind this. And here’s why.

As the iPhone dominates the smartphone market share in the U.S., it’s no surprise that many people use iMessage every day – especially as it comes activated and built into the SMS app of every new iPhone. However, iMessage is not available for Android devices (or any other platform), which leads to the blue and green bubbles discussion.

Because Android users don’t have iMessage and iPhone users are limited to SMS when using the Messages app, the exchange of messages between these two platforms is quite limited. Support for group chats is quite basic, you can’t write long texts, and there’s a limit to sending media files such as photos and videos.

Apple has always argued that Android users should buy an iPhone if they want the best messaging experience. However, not everyone is willing to buy a new phone because of that. And as noted by Kantrowitz, WhatsApp is becoming the go-to choice for large group chats, such as school parent groups or even work-related chats.

With WhatsApp, each group can have up to 1,024 people. But more importantly, the app is cross-platform, so both iOS and Android users can join a group chat and have access to the same features.

WhatsApp’s business solutions, which are already very popular around the world, have also been getting a lot of attention in the US recently. The app’s daily business users increased by 80% in the U.S. in 2023. “Outside the U.S., people buy cars, reserve tables at restaurants, and inquire about products and services through WhatsApp. Now, businesses in the U.S. are adopting that functionality,” Kantrowitz said.

There’s also another potential reason why more smartphone users in the US have been downloading WhatsApp recently, and that’s the increase in international travel.

There was a record number of Americans traveling to other countries in 2023 after the pandemic. Since WhatsApp is the number one app in many other regions, travelers had to download the app to survive abroad – and some of them continued to use the app daily even after returning to the U.S.

Apple RCS bubbles iMessage Android messages

Will it ever overtake iMessage?

The fact that more people in the US have been using WhatsApp recently is definitely intriguing. However, at least for now, it’s hard to see WhatsApp as a threat to iMessage in the US. Plus, Apple has already confirmed that it will be adding RCS support to iOS soon, which will considerably improve messaging between iPhone and Android users.

As a result, those who felt the need to download WhatsApp may end up switching back to the Messages app once RCS becomes available on the iPhone.

What about you? Do you use WhatsApp regularly or have you downloaded the app recently? Let us know in the comments section below.

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