WhatsApp vs BBM vs Mxit vs 2go in South Africa

The popular mobile instant messaging service Mxit is facing stiff competition from newer entrants to the South African market, the 2013 Social Media Landscape report from World Wide Worx and Fuseware has revealed.

Previously, even when Mxit’s numbers were compared to those of large social networks such as Facebook, it was the largest social service in South Africa.

In 2012 that picture changed, with Facebook growing to 9.4-million users and Mxit seeming to shrink to 7.4-million active users in South Africa.

Mxit has disputed that its user numbers have shrunk, explaining to MyBroadband that it has changed its active user measuring metric from a 90-day period to 30 days.

To provide a basis of comparison, Mxit provided revised statistics for August 2012 using the new 30-day measuring period which showed 6.9-million active users as opposed to 9.5-million.

This means that while the initial assessment from World Wide Worx that Mxit’s active userbase shrunk might be inaccurate, the conclusion that Facebook has overtaken Mxit is not.

However, when just looking at instant messengers, Mxit remains the big fish in the pond. Its position there is not certain, though.

“WhatsApp is presently the most popular app in the Android, Apple, and Windows app stores, with Facebook in second place in the Android and Windows stores, while Instagram takes the Apple store runner-up slot,” World Wide Worx and Fuseware said in a press statement.

Unfortunately, statistics of WhatsApp’s South African userbase are not readily available.

When asked about the number of users in South Africa, WhatsApp said that they do not share user numbers in a specific country.

“SA is one of our top 10 countries,” WhatsApp said. “We have more than 300M monthly active users worldwide that send 11 billion messages and receive 20 billion messages per day.”

Rounding out the comparison is relatively recent entrant 2go (which is doing well elsewhere in Africa, but seems to have lost market share in South Africa), and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

As with WhatsApp, BlackBerry doesn’t disclose user numbers in specific countries.

However, there are estimates of the number of BlackBerry devices in South Africa, and BlackBerry has provided the percentage of local BlackBerry users that also use BBM.

“SA has one of the highest BBM penetration rates in the world at 94%,” a spokesperson for BlackBerry South Africa told MyBroadband.

The table below summarises the user numbers from the various sources described in the article:

Messaging service 2013 users 2012 users
Mxit 7.4-million 6.9-million (9.5-million using 90-day metric)
BBM * 4.7-million (94% of users) 3.3-million (97% of users)
2go 1.1-million 1.5-million
WhatsApp N/A (top free app) N/A

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Biggest social networks in South Africa 2012

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WhatsApp vs BBM vs Mxit vs 2go in South Africa