Data and forecasts contained in this report are based on the two use cases of WhatsApp for Business.
- The first is predominantly micro and small businesses which have downloaded and are using the WhatsApp for Business App.
- The second is based on predominantly medium and large enterprises which are using APIs provided by WhatsApp Business partners.
Mobilesquared researched and found business-size information for 127 of the 195 countries covered by WhatsApp in this report – split between micro (1-9), small (10-49), medium (50-249) and large (>250).
Where business-size information was unavailable, we estimated the total number of businesses based on regional averages per head of population and then split by the average percentages for micro, small, medium and large businesses.
The total number of businesses which have downloaded and are using the WhatsApp for Business App is based on various public announcements dating back to January 2018.
By mid-2019, around 8 million small businesses were believed to have downloaded the WhatsApp for Business app and, as of January 25th 2020, Google Play stated that the app had been downloaded over 100 million times.
However, it was also announced that only 3 million businesses were actually using the app as of August 2018, rising to 5 million at the end of 2018. When we asked WhatsApp for an update on the number of businesses actually using the app as of end-2019, we were told “over 5 million”.
Our forecasts have, therefore, assumed relatively low growth in the number of businesses using the WhatsApp for Business app, although this can be revised up in future given the current 95% under-utilisation rate.
The total number of businesses which are using WhatsApp Partner APIs is based on a survey of the 50+ Partners over the first quarter of 2020.
By the end of 2019, we estimate less than 1,000 companies had engaged with partners, representing just 0.05% of the available medium and large enterprises worldwide.
We have also assumed that this number will rise to 2.5% of the available medium and large enterprises by the end of 2024, representing a total of almost 55,000 organisations.
Mobilesquared averaged the number of businesses using the WhatsApp for Business app and WhatsApp Partner API in each country weighted against the relevant WhatsApp user penetration per market.
Total WhatsApp user numbers, and total WhatsApp user forecasts, are based on various public announcements dating back to December 2013 – most recently crossing 1.5 billion in February 2018, and 2 billion in February 2020.
Historical WhatsApp users were calculated for each year-end and benchmarked against total smartphone penetration to assess actual, and smartphone-penetration, growth trends.
WhatsApp user and penetration numbers were then researched and collated for the individual countries and regions contained in our forecasts.
Where country information was not available, estimates were benchmarked against regional WhatsApp smartphone penetration.
Country and regional users were then aligned with the global total, and forecast throughout the period based on actual user, and smartphone-penetration, growth trends.
WhatsApp conversations and traffic
Mobilesquared applied enterprise survey data conducted during xxxx 2019, to ascertain the average size of the customer database for micro, small, medium and large enterprises.
We also applied consumer survey data conducted during xxx 2019, to ascertain the average number of times a consumer would message a brand each year.
Taken together, the enterprise and consumer survey data together formed the basis of calculations for all P2A engagement, as well as A2P broadcasts sent by WhatsApp for Business app users, and A2P templates sent by Partner API users.
We have assumed an average of six messages will be exchanged in P2A-driven conversations – three each from consumer and enterprise.
We have assumed A2P broadcasts sent by WhatsApp for Business app users average one per month.
Our survey of the 50+ WhatsApp Partners indicated that approximately 10% of total API traffic constituted A2P templates at the end of 2019.
We have assumed this will rise to around 12.5% by the end of the forecast period due to the apparent interest from enterprise in sending updates and reminders verified by WhatsApp.
Currently, all business messaging via the WhatsApp for Business app is free. Furthermore, WhatsApp does not charge for messages sent via APIs as part of a P2A-driven conversation, only for A2P template messages sent by enterprise.
However, the WhatsApp Partners all appear to have different pricing strategies and price points for both P2A and A2P messaging.
Some WhatsApp Partners charge a flat monthly admin fee, some do not. Some include a P2A message volume within the fee, some do not. Some charge per user, some per message, and most seem to charge differing message rates – although their rates apply to both P2A conversations and A2P templates.
Mobilesquared has modelled the following:-
- An average fee of US$300 per brand per month – payable to the WhatsApp Partner
- An average rate of US$0.005 per A2P message sent by enterprise – payable to the WhatsApp Partner
- The advertised WhatsApp template fee per country – payable to WhatsApp
- An average rate of US$0.005 per template message sent by enterprise – payable to the WhatsApp Partner.