Millennials Love Kik, Snapchat and Other Messaging Apps: Pew

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Keith Wagstaff

Traditional text messaging isn't dead, but it's facing stiff competition from messaging apps like WhatsApp and Kik.

Overall, 36 percent of smartphone owners use messaging apps, according to a new Pew Research report. Among young people, ages 18 to 29, they're even more popular -- 49 percent of those with smartphones said they use messaging apps.

WhatsApp, Kik, iMessage and other apps let people communicate without using up the data in their texting plans. Instead, the apps use up mobile data or connect through Wi-Fi. There are no extra charges to communicate across international borders, making them popular for messaging friends and family in other countries.

Related: Facebook's WhatsApp Plan to Conquer the World

The report also looked at ephemeral messaging apps like Snapchat and Wickr, which let users see a message for a short time before deleting it.

Only 17 percent of overall smartphone owners used them -- but that number jumped to 41 percent when it came to people ages 18 to 29, pretty much confirming that millennials can't stop Snapchatting selfies to each other.

Overall, the survey of 1,907 people in the United States found that 67 percent of adults use smartphones and 85 percent of them use the Internet. This is the first time Pew has ever asked people about messaging apps, so it's hard to say how popular they are in 2015 compared to previous years, but it's clear that a large number of people are using them as an alternative to texting.