Mark Zuckerberg did one thing right over the past few years, and that thing was buying WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion. Amid so many scandals today in 2019, WhatsApp is pulling its weight for Facebook – and then some. It was a good move to shell out that much cash for the instant messenger.

WhatsApp and Facebook widgets
© quka /

According to App Annie's analysis, WhatsApp has overtaken Facebook to be the social giant's top app on smartphones. In a news brief by, WhatsApp surpassed Facebook due to high usage in emerging markets. In places like Singapore, Russia, Hong Kong and Malaysia, where the cost of using a mobile device is high compared to the average income, WhatsApp is the most used app. In the United States, the Facebook and Messenger apps took the top spots, with WhatsApp not even cracking the top ten.

App Store Spending

Spending at the App Store is forecast to grow by at least 19% from 2018 on – that's $120 billion worldwide. From 2016-2018, consumer spending in app stores exploded 75% to $101 billion globally from 2016-2018, and that doesn't include in-app ad sales or transactions (like payments for Amazon, DoorDash, Starbucks or Uber).

Between An App And A Hard Place

The news that WhatsApp is Facebook's #1 app came during a year when the social networking giant faced even greater criticism for its user-data-sharing practices. WhatsApp utilises end-to-end encryption, but with Facebook developing a monetization strategy that connects business with consumers (as well as introducing ad sales later this year), WhatsApp's great user interface will be shot full of holes (adverts).

WhatsApp has less than 20 million users in the US among its global base of round about 1.5 billion users. Over the next couple of years, more and more apps will introduce monetization strategies, because more and more users choose their smartphones as their "first screen of choice".