SHANGHAI — WeChat, China’s largest and most pervasive social media platform, saw its number of active users this year grow 35 percent to 768 million. Of that total, 50 percent spent an average of 90 minutes per day on the platform.
Unsurprisingly for a smartphone-based social media platform, the user base skews young, with 14 percent of monthly active users between the ages of 17 and 21, with only one percent of monthly active users over the age of 55. WeChat, owned by Tencent, released the data at a press conference in Guangzhou on Thursday.
Also on the increase in 2016 was the amount of communication between WeChat users. The number of messages exchanged on WeChat rose 67 percent year-on-year, while the number of voice and video calls — a newer function on WeChat — grew 180 percent to 100 million this year, WeChat said.
As well as its own embedded payment platform, WeChat Pay, WeChat also features the “Lucky Money” feature, which allows users to send virtual “red envelopes” traditionally given in China on special occasions and festivals.
Users in 2016 sent an average of 514 yuan, or $74 at current exchange, per month in Lucky Money envelopes to friends and connections, which extrapolates out to more than 4.6 trillion yuan, or $644 billion, in Lucky Money being sent over the platform this year.
As reported, WeChat has become a significant part of retailers’ strategy for China. Most recently, Coach decided to shutter its store on Alibaba’s Tmall in favor of selling through WeChat.
Here are some stories WWD has run about the social media platform and its significance for retailers: