10 bln IM messages exchanged daily

Since its inception in 1996, with the launch of ICQ, instant messaging has become one of the most popular applications on the fixed web. It has in fact become a mass market, with over 10 bln messages being exchanged every day, and involving close to one in two web users in developed countries, in North America, Europe and Asia. IM is gradually nearing a relative saturation point in these countries, while still enjoying a steady rise in other countries, such as China. In Europe, the average time spent using an IM tool already exceeded 3 hours a month, and 5 hours a month for users in the US in 2004, Research and Markets says.