UK communications regulator Ofcom has published a report looking at the use of online communication services (OCS), comparing their usage with conventional mobile phone calls and text messages. The report reveals that WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app among UK adults, with 76% of respondents having used it in the past three months. Facebook Messenger and Instagram were the second and third most popular messaging apps, with 53% (Messenger) and 22% (Instagram) of respondents using them in the past three months.
Between 2012 and 2022, the total number of text messages sent annually in the UK fell from 151 billion to 36 billion (SMS and MMS). Over the same period, the number of online messages sent in the UK rose from 100 billion a year to over 1.3 trillion.
Around two thirds of UK adults (65%) say WhatsApp is their main online communication service, followed by Facebook Messenger (18%) and Apple iMessage (6%).
58% of UK adults said they would rather go without mobile phone calls for 24 hours than go without their favourite messaging apps.
However, mobile phone voice calls remain a popular way to keep in touch. Between 2012 and 2022, the amount of time spent making mobile phone calls increased from 132 billion minutes to 170 billion minutes, with 83% of UK adults having made a mobile call in the last three months.
[Ofcom news release