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Business use of WhatsApp set to explode worldwide as global users head for 3bn, study says

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There is set to be an explosion in business use of WhatsApp, with the messaging platform set to be used for customer care, updates, alerts and even marketing.

So finds the latest research by Mobilesquared, which suggests that there is set to be unprecedented growth of more than 5,400% among medium and large businesses looking to use its API from just 992 at the end of 2019 to almost 55,000 by 2024. 

In its latest data book and report, WhatsApp Business Messaging Traffic & Spend Forecasts, by country & region (2019-24), Mobilesquared predicts the majority of the business messaging traffic generated over WhatsApp will be inbound traffic (also referred to as P2A or person-2-application), making WhatsApp Business the go-to messaging channel for customer care. 

Total enterprise spend on WhatsApp Business by medium and large businesses is forecast to grow from $38.7 million in 2019 to $3.6 billion by 2024, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 151%. 

The 10 markets with the largest spend – India, Brazil, Germany, South Africa, Mexico, USA, Argentina, UK, Russia and Italy – together accounted for 68% of the total spend in 2019.

Report findings are based on research involving all the major omni-channel messaging providers. “What we are starting to identify from our research across SMS, RCS and now WhatsApp is that different messaging channels will be used for particular use cases and services,” says Gavin Patterson, chief data analyst at Mobilesquared.

“WhatsApp is the only rich messaging channel businesses currently want to know about, but that is in the context of P2A communications between a consumer and a brand,” he adds. 

Patterson concludes: “What we expect to emerge in the coming years is that outbound A2P traffic will centre on SMS and RCS, with inbound P2A traffic split between WhatsApp, ABC and RCS – with WhatsApp likely to become a dominant force.”

Mobilesquared believes there were 5.25 million small and micro businesses using the free WhatsApp Business App at the end of 2019, and this number will rise to almost 7 million by the end of the period. 

What makes WhatsApp so attractive to businesses is its scale. Mobilesquared forecasts the total number of WhatsApp users will grow from 1.96 billion to 3.1 billion over  the forecast period

As of end-2019, India was the largest WhatsApp market with 432 million users, followed by Indonesia, Brazil, Russia and the USA. These markets combined accounted for 41% of total global users.

“By the end of this year, WhatsApp users will account for almost 1 in every 2 smartphones worldwide and, by 2024, that figure will be almost 3 in every 5,” adds Patterson.

Latin America will have the highest WhatsApp users as percentage of total smartphones rising from around 80% now to almost 95% in 2024. Following Latin America, the regions with the highest penetration of WhatsApp users as a percentage of smartphone users in 2024 will be West Europe, Africa, and East Europe.

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