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Why Hike Messenger Failed in India?

Hike Messenger was once a popular messaging app in India, with over 100 million users. However, it ultimately failed to compete with other messaging apps such as WhatsApp, and fell out of favor with users.

Rise of Hike Messenger

The app was developed by Kavin Bharti Mittal, the son of Sunil Bharti Mittal, the founder of Bharti Enterprises. Hike quickly gained popularity in India due to its unique features, such as the ability to send messages even without an internet connection, and its focus on privacy.

In 2016, Hike reached 100 million users and was valued at $1.4 billion. The company received funding from major investors such as Tencent and Foxconn. Hike also launched several successful initiatives, such as Hike Sticker Chat, which allowed users to send personalized stickers, and Hike Wallet, a digital wallet that allowed users to make payments and transfer money.

However, despite its initial success, Hike struggled to compete with other messaging apps such as WhatsApp owned by Facebook. Hike's user base began to decline, and the company was unable to monetize its services effectively. In 2018, Hike announced that it was laying off a significant portion of its workforce and refocusing on its core messaging business.

Hike's Revenue in FY2017
Hike's Revenue in FY2017 (Credits: Tofler)

There were several reasons for this failure, including hiring mistakes, a lack of a unique selling proposition, fast evolution in the market, and low user retention.

Ease of Use

One major mistake that the company made it tried to offer too many features in its app. While it may have seemed like a good idea at the time, this ultimately led to a cluttered and confusing user experience. Users were overwhelmed by the sheer number of options and found it difficult to use the app effectively.

hike messenger ui
Hike Messenger UI

WhatsApp UI
WhatsApp UI

On the other hand, What's App UI was extremely easy to use and requires very little technical knowledge. All you need is a smartphone and an internet connection to get started.

This made it particularly appealing to users in India who may not be as technically savvy.

The fast evolution of the messaging app market also played a role in Hike's failure. New apps and updates were being released at a rapid pace, and Hike struggled to keep up. As a result, it fell behind in terms of features and functionality, making it less appealing to users.

Finally, Hike suffered from low user retention. Despite initially attracting a large user base, the company struggled to keep those users engaged and coming back to the app. This, combined with the domination of WhatsApp in the market, ultimately led to Hike's downfall.

In conclusion, Hike Messenger failed in India due to a combination of hiring mistakes, a lack of a unique selling proposition, fast evolution in the market, and low user retention. These factors ultimately led to the company's inability to compete with other messaging apps and forced it to shut down.

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