New Delhi: India is the second-largest market for messaging apps and is the fastest growing market for mobile messaging apps, according to a new report by eMarketer. In India, chat app users are expected to grow by more than 24% this year and to top 133 million, said the report.

eMarketer predicts that by 2019, more than one-quarter of the world’s population will be using mobile messaging apps. Mobile phone messaging apps will be used by more than 1.4 billion people in 2016, an increase of almost 16%.

The Asia-Pacific region is home to more than 50% of all chat app users worldwide, with more than 805 million consumers in 2016. China accounts for more than half of the region’s users. In Indonesia, more than 52 million people will use chat apps this year—an increase of more than 21% on 2015.

Strong growth in India and Indonesia is predicted to continue throughout the forecast period. By 2020, there will be more than 230 million mobile messaging app users in India and roughly 86 million in Indonesia.

Nevertheless, for both India and Indonesia, eMarketer has decreased its projections for chat app users. This is in part because eMarketer revised its numbers for Facebook usage, reducing the number of social network users, which in turn drives mobile messaging adoption.

“One reason mobile messaging apps have taken off is because they are a cheaper alternative to SMS/MMS," said Cathy Boyle, principal analyst, mobile, eMarketer. “Brand marketers are eager to follow consumers to these apps, but injecting themselves into users’ conversations is not easy, and it’s often unwelcome. However, the expansion of messaging apps into platforms that include chat bots and editorial content is providing marketers with more natural places to engage messaging app users," said Boyle.