The recent success of messenger apps has been aided by a focus on regional growth and differentiating features, according to App Annie.
The analyst firm noted that the likes of LINE, WhatsApp, KakaoTalk, Viber and WeChat have targeted particular regions to drive global usage.
LINE has grown significantly in India after running a TV advertising campaign in the country, attracting a claimed five million users just three weeks after launch.
KakaoTalk has seen strong revenue growth in Japan while WeChat, the international version of Chinese app Weixin, saw huge user growth outside its home market, recently passing 100 million international users.
Messenger apps have evolved to differentiate themselves with different functionality, such as group messaging, giving users the option to avoid advertising and offering the ability to send stickers and play games using the platforms.
WhatsApp’s evolution has recently seen it increase its group chat limit, improve media file integration and use a Google Maps API to allow users to share their location.
“The messenger app space is bubbling over right now, and each publisher is trying to differentiate itself, target an untapped emerging market, and create unique experiences that make users feel like they could never live without their app or the friends they’ve convinced to join them,” said App Annie in its analysis.
The popularity of messenger apps continues to increase with six of the top 10 downloaded apps on Google Play in July falling into the category. WhatsApp was in second place, followed by LINE (3), Facebook Messenger (4), WeChat (7) and Viber (9).
In contrast, just two messenger apps appeared in the most downloaded App Store top 10, with WeChat in fourth and SnapChat eighth.
LINE generated the most revenue of any app in Google Play in July, with KakaoTalk in third, and WhatsApp in eighth place. In the App Store, LINE was second in terms of revenue, with Skype in fifth and WhatsApp tenth.
LINE and KakaoTalk generated the majority of their revenue from a single app in a single market, according to App Annie. 80 per cent of LINE’s revenue came from 47 million users Japan, while KakaoTalk performed most strongly in South Korea.