According to a new study by comScore Networks, 82 million people – that’s nearly half of the European online population – used IM applications to chat online during February.
Although impressive, Europe’s IM usage is dwarfed by messaging-crazy Latin America, where a massive 64 percent of the online population used IM during the same period.
Unusually, North Americans – a nation of people not exactly noted for their reluctance to chat incessantly – only registered 37 percent of the online population using IM.
MSN Messenger was revealed to be the king of the IM applications, scooping up 61 percent of worldwide IM users.
In Latin America and Europe, Messenger ruled supreme, registering usage rates of 90 percent and 70 percent (respectively) of IM users.
Messenger also scored highly in Asia Pacific, grabbing 70 percent of IM users.
Things are a lot tighter in the highly competitive North American market, where MSN Messenger, AOL/Aim and Yahoo! Messenger battled it out to each grab between 27 percent and 37 percent of IM users in February.
Skype is seen as a growing contender (it’s our IM tool of choice), with the program now being used by 14 percent of IM users worldwide.
The VoIP/IM client application is proving to be a real hit in the Asia Pacific, where it has already garnered 26 percent of IM users, although it’s a different story in North America, where Skype can only claim 3 percent of the online population.
We love messaging
The study suggests that instant messaging has now become an integral part of people’s lives, with the 313 million worldwide users
wasting away precious work hours increasing their productivity by staying online an average of about 6.3 hours a day.