A few days before its global launch, WhatsApp’s revamped Status feature—which closely resembles Snapchat and Instagram Stories—was available as a test in a handful of countries. The Netherlands was one of them.
Why the Netherlands?
It’s likely because consumers there are among the most avid WhatsApp users in the world.
Based on data from Newcom Research & Consultancy, the Facebook-owned messaging app had 10.9 million users in the Netherlands as of January. That’s nearly two-thirds of the country’s population of 17.1 million, according to Statistics Netherlands.
It’s also significantly more than Facebook itself, which had 10.4 million users as of January.
Among some age groups, WhatsApp usage is nearly ubiquitous. Newcom’s January 2017 survey found that more than nine out of 10 internet users ages 15 to 39 in the Netherlands used the chat app, as did 85% of those ages 40 to 64.
What’s more, over a third (36%) of internet users ages 80 and older also used WhatsApp—up from 17% in January 2016.
According a June 2016 Deloitte survey of mobile phone owners in the Netherlands, 75% of respondents who used email, IM or social networks via mobile were WhatsApp users. The platform was vastly more popular than Facebook Messenger, which was used by 18% of respondents. More people reported using WhatsApp on their mobile device than used email or any other social or messaging platform.
Other test countries for the WhatsApp Status update included France, Israel, Spain, Saudi Arabia and the UK.