Industry report

Telegram Statistics And Facts For 2020

Telegram is an instant messaging service application that is available in both mobile and desktop versions. It is a cloud-based service and is available for download on both App Store and PlayStore as well as Windows phones. The app allows the exchange of audio, videos, photos, and documents and files across the platform. Creator brothers Nikolai Durov and Pavel Durov launched Telegram in 2013. Apart from this, the app is an open-source software on the client-side. This feature provides APIs to developers who can customize the app as per their requirements further.


Overview of Telegram Revenue and Usage Statistics 2020 report

Although the end-to-end encryption is optional for chats and messages, the app provides this encryption when it comes to voice calls.

The app is ranked at the 7th spot globally in the category of communication apps. It only has the likes of Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp above it, which have been around much longer.

Growth in Monthly Users:

Telegram has seen steady growth in the number of users on its platform.

  • After its launch in August 2013, the app had 100,000 users within the first three months.
  • Between the period of November 2013 and March 2014, the app garnered 35 million active users, which grew to 50 million by the end of the year in December.
  • The next year, the app saw a gradual increase in the number of monthly active users with 60 million users by October 2015.
  • However, in February 2016, the app rapidly picked pace with 100 million users, which increased further to 160 million users in January 2018.
  • At the end of the year, Telegram reached 180 million active users monthly in December 2017.
  • In a blog post in March 2018, founder Pavel Durov himself stated that Telegram had crossed 200 million active users.
  • In March 2019 as well, Telegram saw active 3 million sign-ups on the app within 24 hours.
  • As of two quarters ago, Telegram has 365 million lifetime downloads.
  • Owing to its messaging freedom and user privacy assurance, Telegram hopes to cross 1 billion users by 2022.

Telegram by the Numbers

  • The app is available in 13 languages
  • 85% of the users of the app are on Android Platforms
  • From 8 billion messages received for 30 days in March 2014, the number of messages sent on Telegram daily increased to 1 billion a day in December 2014. By May 2015, Telegram was able to exchange 2 billion messages on a daily basis, which escalated to more than 12 billion messages sent on Telegram daily as of September 2015. By February 2016, the number of daily messages sent on the app increased further to 15 billion.
  • Telegram is one of the few apps that has spent 0$ on advertising.
  • As per the latest reports of August 2019, 9 million Telegram downloads carried out on the Android platform, and 3 million more used on the iOS platform.

Unique Features of the App

  • Telegram boasts of providing high security and doesn’t leak any data of its users by selling advertisements, making it one of the most trusted networking apps available.
  • It allows for substantial file uploads and doesn’t consume much of the device space since it allows everything to upload on the cloud directly.
  • Due to its multi-data center functioning, users can edit items across all devices linked to their account.
  • Telegram makes message searching across millions of messages convenient with keyword searching as well as filtering through the sender.
  • Group admins and moderators allow for mass deletion of messages and even pin messages important for everyone that appears at the top of the chat screen.
  • Telegram also has channels that users can subscribe to, making it easy for businesses to stay connected with their consumers. Although channels are mostly one-way communication, they have bot features that can integrate for better consumer experience.
  • It also offers the unique feature of creating large groups, thus facilitating significant online community build-up.
  • The app is an entirely ad-free platform.
  • It allows for custom tools to be created by bots to interact with followers in the channels or mass communication in groups.
  • Telegram also allows individuals to add contacts without using contact numbers, which offers an additional level of data security.
  • The app allows messages to delete up to 48 hours after it sent, which is higher than the permitted time in other competitor apps.

Global Popularity

  • Ethiopian users prefer Telegram over other communication apps due to its lower data usage, affordability for businesses to market their products on the app, and frequency of social media app block-outs by the governments.
  • Germany has 7.8 million active daily users of Telegram as recorded in November 2019, making Germany one of the countries with the highest Telegram popularity. Telegram ranks 5th in Germany based on its user base. Although WhatsApp has 8 times the active user base there.
  • The USA, which is a significant market for competitors of Telegram, such as WhatsApp and Messenger, has less than 2% of the penetration across market audiences for Telegram.
  • China, Russia, and Pakistan have banned Telegram.
  • Russia was a prime platform for Telegram usage; however, after its ban, the popularity of the app reduced in Russia, and WhatsApp overtook it in terms of daily active users. Although the ban didn’t affect individual users of the app because it required the app developers to store information key of the communication on the app instead of users having them, it didn’t comply with the law, which is why it was banned.
  • Iran has also banned Telegram, yet it is the most popular messaging app in Iran. In 2016, Iran reported 20 million Telegram users. By April 2018, as per the estimates, this number expected to increase by 50 million despite the ban on the app. As opposed to Russia, prohibitions on the usage of Telegram in Iran didn’t lead to migration to other apps. Instead, users continued to make use of Telegram through VPNs and other methods.
  • Uzbekistan is the leading country that has the highest popularity of Telegram users, and it is ranked 2nd on the list of most downloaded apps in Uzbekistan, falling right after Instagram.

Major Download Spikes

  • In 2014, when the app was less than a year old, after South Korea’s popular messenger app- Kakao Talk was put under scrutiny, users shifted to Telegram. Within 7 days, 1.5 million users from South Korea signed up on Telegram, being assured privacy and freedom of speech on the messaging platform.
  • Similarly, when Brazil banned WhatsApp multiple times in 2015 for short spans, users migrated to rival app Telegram. Within 48 hours, 5.7 million users flocked to Telegram in Brazil during the ban.
  • Precisely in the same conditions in the following year, a 72-hour WhatsApp ban helped Telegram gain 7 million new Brazilian users. However, despite such huge download trends, Telegram was only able to secure 18% of the market.
  • In March 2019, when Facebook and its subsidiaries- Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, all experienced an outage, 3 million users downloaded Telegram within 24 hours of the outage.
  • Hong Kong joined this mass download action amidst civil protests in July 2019. There was a 323% increase in Telegram installs that month. 110,000 new users downloaded the app in Hong Kong that month. Subsequently, 41,000 more users joined for two consecutive months despite an official ban on the app.

Channels on Telegram

Channels are a medium on Telegram where there is an only one-way communication from the owner or author of the channel.

  • Hindi HD Movies is the most popular channel on Telegram, with 4.2 million subscribers followed by Telegram’s news channel-Telegram News at 3.1 million subscribers.
  • Other top channels on the app include Hollywood English, Telugu movies, Bollywood Hindi movies, Netflix movies, etc. Video and movie channels are the top 10 dominating channels in Telegram.
  • The top 10 channels across Telegram also have a combined subscriber base of more than 120 million subscribers.
  • In terms of the customer reach, as of September 2019, Telegram News channel has 1600 million visits, which is the highest, and the second-highest reach of a channel is far behind this number, i.e., 611 million of Hindi HD movies.

The statistics for some of the most popular countries:

  • In Russia, the most subscribed channel is a humor and entertainment channel Telegra4ch, which has over 1.1 million subscribers. The top 10 Russian Telegram channels have a combined subscriber base of 6.7 million and are a mix of categories from entertainment to politics to the news.
  • In Uzbekistan, it is Kanallani Dodasi, with a subscriber base of 1 million followers as well. The top 10 channels are in the field of music and entertainment as well. Together they garnered a whopping 6.6 million subscribers.
  • Even though the app faces a ban in Iran, the popularity of Iranian channels is higher than any of the other countries where Telegram is functional. The top Iranian channel is a music channel- dtaraneh, which has over 4.5 million subscribers. A majority of the top channels are news channels in Iran. The combined number of subscribers of the top ten channels reaches over 28 million subscribers. This value is higher than the subscription to any other channel in any of the countries.

Telegram vs. Competitor Apps:


Telegram considers WhatsApp is its primary competitor, but the latter has 600 million monthly users, whereas Telegram has only 200 million.

Other competitors who rank further and higher than Telegram in terms of global popularity include according to the number of monthly active users include:

  • Facebook Messenger: 1300 million users
  • WeChat: 1110 million users
  • QQ Mobile: 823 million users
  • SnapChat: 294 million users
  • Viber: 260 million users
  • Discord: 250 million users

In a comparative study of leading networking apps in 2017, downloading and using Telegram used 49 MBs as compared to 103 MB for WhatsApp and 125 MB for Messenger.

While files of 160 MB size can be sent on WhatsApp, on Telegram, up to 1.5 GB size files can be shared.

Advantages over Competitor Apps

  • Users over multiple devices can access the Telegram app as opposed to single instruments as allowed by many of its rivals. This model establishes higher data security and encryption for users of Telegram.
  • A major USP of the app is the facility of ‘secret chats’ and ‘self-destruct’ options for messages. Secret chats enable users to store messages on the devices they use and not on the cloud. Moreover, customers can schedule a particular date and time when they want messages to get automatically deleted.
  • The app has a feature that allows users to subscribe to ‘channels’ on Telegram through which they can get regular updates from the accounts that they are following. This way, channel owners can keep in touch with their subscribers, which makes it a lucrative model for business owners using the app.
  • The app is relatively faster than competitors as it aims to deliver messages in the lowest bytes possible.
  • The app allows creating online communities with maximum members of upto 200,000.
  • Telegram does not cap the size of media and messages shared on its platform. Users can share files that are as large as 1 GB, in words.

Disadvantages of the Platform

  • The primary reason why Telegram criticized over and over again is its failure to provide end to end encryption on an automated basis. While other messaging apps have this set up on default, Telegram has failed to share its coding for investigation of secure data handling of its users.
  • Telegram for PC is not a reality. It lacks the main feature of secret chats against its claim as one of the unique features.
  • Telegram doesn’t offer status updates for its users which most other competitors do.

Revenue Model:

Telegram has two significant features that act as USP of the app: data privacy and security. Moreover, the founders have time and again emphasized that they wish to provide quick messaging that is 100% free. So, the revenue model currently is not established in a profitable standing. However, possible revenue-generating channels are as follows:

  • Since its launch in 2013, the app does not make any money. In 2018, Telegram raised more than 1.7 billion dollars in ICO (Initial Coin Offering), but that was halted in 2019 after Telegram failed to justify the nuances of the investment for investors. The ICO sold almost 2.9 billion ‘Grams’- Telegram’s cryptocurrency for the funding. Out of these 1 billion shares sold to 39 buyers in the USA. The Grams were to be delivered to the buyers in 2019 when Telegram’s blockchain- Telegram Open Network (TON) is all set to launch. However, still, there is no clarification on the matter or registered with SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). So, the launch faced a temporary halt.
  • Gram was initially offered at 1.33 $ in March 2018 which increased to 4$ value in offering by July 2019. However, if the current ICO plan goes through, if 80% of the app users switch to Grams, Telegram will be able to gain profits of 3.72 billion USD. The projection relies on 4 billion dollars in revenue in 2022 and 280 million dollars of costs incurred.
  • If the app fails to sustain itself financially, the developers aim to introduce paid features in the app that will not affect its current functioning in any manner and would instead serve as additional features.
  • A September 2019 research by Juniper Threat Labs questioned the security claims of Telegram when they discovered an operational malware Masad Clipper and Stealer sold through Telegram at $85. This malware compromised the user’s personal details and their crypto wallets and provided their access to hackers.
  • Since the client-side of the app is free for developers to use that API to create their customized apps, Telegram may also charge them in the future to generate revenues.


Telegram is an app that has relied on the claims of security and the trust in its founders. On several occasions, the company has encountered issues with governments when it has denied leaking any public data of its users. The policy has made the app a favorite among users and has led to its popularity. However, it is surviving solely on donations right now as the plans of launching its blockchain and cryptocurrency have taken a backseat. The company requires significant funding for the next 3-4 years to sustain its user growth over the next few years.

Reference Links

Researched by Brian and SaaS Scout team
Researched by Brian and SaaS Scout team

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