Top 5 WhatsApp Alternatives in 2021

We used our app intelligence solutions to analyze the top five alternatives to WhatsApp following Facebook’s October 2021 outages.

On Monday, October 4th, 2021, the tech giant Facebook suffered a global outage that lasted approximately six hours. Effected were Facebook’s eponymous social networking site, along with Instagram, Oculus, Messenger, and, relevant to this article, WhatsApp.

Suffice it to say, these outages caused quite a stir. Pundits — seemingly without a hint of irony — took to sites like Twitter, MySpace, and TikTok to lambast the effects of Facebook’s allegedly monopolistic behavior.

Now, our skepticism aside, critics make a number of fair points. For instance, millions of people do, in fact, rely on apps like WhatsApp and Messenger to communicate with friends and family. Likewise, many businesses use these solutions to keep their employees connected and to engage with customers.

So, having acknowledged this, we decided to leverage our app intelligence solutions to analyze the top five WhatsApp alternatives in 2021. We then compared these apps using our analytics tools, focusing on their download histories, ratings, top chart rankings, and more!

Here’s what we cover (click the links below to jump to the relevant sections):

Top 5 WhatsApp Alternatives in 2021

Top Five WhatsApp Alternatives in 2021.

1. Telegram by Telegram FZ-LLC

  • Short Description: Telegram is a messaging app with a focus on speed and security.
  • Total Downloads: 500,000,000+
  • Downloads Over the Last 30 Days: 39,045,969

2. Messages by Google LLC

  • Short Description: Simple, helpful messaging by Google.
  • Total Downloads: 1,000,000,000+
  • Downloads Over the Last 30 Days: 29,621,709

3. Viber Messenger - Free Video Calls & Group Chats by Viber Media S.à r.l.

  • Short Description: Enjoy secure messaging free video and audio calls no matter where you’re calling.
  • Total Downloads: 1,000,000,000+
  • Downloads Over the Last 30 Days: 4,212,268

4. Signal Private Messenger by Signal Foundation

  • Short Description: Easy shopping, easy payments.
  • Total Downloads: 50,000,000+
  • Downloads Over the Last 30 Days: 2,108,060

5. Wire • Secure Messenger by Wire Swiss GmbH

  • Short Description: The most secure collaboration platform. For work and personal use.
  • Total Downloads: 1,000,000+
  • Downloads Over the Last 30 Days: 13,541

For more mobile messaging app insights, set up a meeting with one of our experts!

Analysis of the Top 5 WhatsApp Alternatives in 2021

30-Day Performance Summary (September 6, 2021 - October 6, 2021)

30 day performance summary.

This chart offers a snapshot of how the top five WhatsApp alternatives have performed over the last 30 days. It includes estimated downloads, overall growth trends, top chart rankings, the number of new ratings, top countries, the date of the most recent update, and the number of changelog updates.

With an astonishing one billion total downloads, Google’s Messages is easily the top performing of these apps historically. However, Telegram has actually had the most success over the last 30 days, notching just under 10 million more downloads than Messages in the period between September 6th, 2021 and October 6th, 2021.

What’s more, while Messages is currently trending downwards, Telegram is on the up and up. It’s currently ranked among the top 100 Android ‘Communications’ apps in 143 countries, with 331.5K new ratings over the last month. 

Now, we’ll leave you to absorb the rest of the chart on your own time. But we would like to point out just a couple more interesting points. First, while Messages boasts far more downloads than Viber or Signal, it’s not ranked in nearly as many countries (107 versus 139 and 130, respectively). Second, Wire is actually categorized as a ‘Business’ app, not a ‘Communications’ app.

For more data on Android ‘Communications’ apps, set up a demo!

Historical Downloads (October 6, 2020 - October 6, 2021)

Historical downloads of WhatsApp competitors.

Next up, historical downloads. This graph depicts daily downloads for each of the top five WhatsApp alternatives over the last year.

Again, Messages is the most remarkable performer here, clocking in at 890,883,921 downloads from October 2020 to October 2021. Notably, Messages received a dizzying 11,945,780 downloads on August 10th, 2021 alone. This happens to be right around when Google announced they would be revamping the Wear OS version of the Messages app.

Rating Insights

Rating insights for WhatsApp competitors.

Moving on to average ratings. Each of the top WhatsApp alternatives are rated above four stars on Google Play, except for Wire. However, it should be noted that while Signal, Telegram, Viber, and Messages are largely messaging-specific, Wire offers a number of premium business collaboration features that may be impacting the overall perception of the app. 

That said, as far as ratings go, Signal (4.431) and Viber (4.403) currently lead the pack, with Telegram (4.387) and Messages (4.370) falling just behind them. Again, Wire (3.518) sits well below the others.

Top Chart Rankings

WhatsApp competitors top chart rankings.

Last, but not least, top chart rankings. As it stands, Telegram (3), Messages (15), Signal (18), and Viber (25) rank in the top 100 ‘Communications’ apps in the United States. Wire, unsurprisingly, is the lone outlier. It’s currently ranked 284th on the list of top ‘Business’ apps.

To learn more about WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal, set up a meeting!

Final Thoughts

WhatsApp is a popular app. It’s been downloaded over five billion times worldwide, including 42,835,611 times over the last 30 days. So, the consternation when Facebook and all their subsidiaries suddenly, simultaneously, and unceremoniously went kaput this past Monday was understandable.

Indeed, hundreds of thousands of businesses — if not millions — rely on Instagram and Facebook for advertising. Millions of families and individuals benefit from the affordable communications capabilities of WhatsApp and Messenger. The fact that these apps have become invaluable for so many people across the globe should not be dismissed.

Still, before we entertain the notion that Facebook should be broken up, it’s worth looking at whether or not claims of monopoly are justified. In the messaging space, startups like Telegram and Signal throw a wrench into such accusations. Moreover, with companies as large as Google and Rakuten (Viber’s parent company) firmly in the mix, it seems that reports of Facebook’s monopolistic behavior are greatly exaggerated.

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