BBM Holding Strong In Fight With Line

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I’m presently writing this from a bar stool in the retirement community of Boquete, Panama, so messaging apps and their popularity is less pronounced. That said, of the 20 customers presently “day drinking” or let’s be honest it’s now happy hour, I was day drinking. Of those 20, five are presently looking into their smartphones and typing, and while I don’t know what they are up to using a messaging app wouldn’t be outside of the realm of possibilities.

Two months ago, I was in the States for a month. It was my first trip “home” for an extended period time, but I was amazed at the sheer number of people whose phones never leave their hands. My guess is that 40% of those I saw with phone in hand, rather than purse or pocket, wake up to a phone in bed with them or at the night stand at its furthest.

BBM gaining market share

The point is messaging apps are everywhere and some are exploding. WhatsApp remains king in most markets, but is giving up market share to companies like Line and BBM now that its a cross platform messenger rather than just available on BlackBerry phones.

Line announced on Monday it has hit 300 million registered users worldwide.This is especially noteworthy given 100 million users were added in the last four months and it took the company 19 months to reach its first 100 million.

Much of this growth is due to its dominance and Japan as well as the inroads it seems to be making in both Thailand and Taiwan. However, it’s in Latin American and my Panama story where Line is exploding. Countries like Mexico, Columbia, and others are loving Line. These were, until recently, BlackBerry country(s).

BBM on iOS

That remains the case in Latin America when it comes to the new BBM for iOS. Those that can afford an iPhone are often upgrading from a BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) but are happy to return to the messaging app with which they are most familiar and have numerous contacts. BBM also holds the top spot in the largest African markets, South Africa and Nigeria where Line has made virtually no inroads at present.

And BBM’s numbers are fairly surprising for a messaging app that has only been available for a couple of months on iOS and Android. Line is the No. 5 app in Germany and BBM is the No. 7 app in the U.K., Europe is firmly in WhatsApp’s pocket.

It looks as though BBM is currently keeping pace remarkably well with an app that is adding 100 million new registered users every four months. One of few things that is going well for BlackBerry these days.

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