79% consumers re-considering their WhatsApp usage: Survey



Due to the recently updated WhatsApp Privacy Policy announcement, Indians are reconsidering their WhatsApp usage and moving to new platforms before the implementation of the new terms of service, according to a survey conducted by CyberMedia Research (CMR). According to the survey, 76% of those surveyed are aware of the new WhatsApp Privacy Policy. An overwhelming 79% are reconsidering using WhatsApp, with 28% of those even planning to leave WhatsApp after implementation of its new policy in May 2021. In response to the WhatsApp take it or leave it policy, consumers ascribed a range of emotions ranging from feeling angry (49%), to not trusting WhatsApp ever again (45%), to feeling a breach of trust (35%). A mere 10% of consumers remained indifferent to the new policy announcement as per the survey. As per the study results, 41% of those surveyed indicated planning to shift to Telegram, whereas 35% preferred Signal. Telegram scores over Signal in terms of awareness (55%) and actual usage (39%). Over the past one year, 37% of users have actually used Telegram, compared to a mere 10% for Signal, a rather nascent messaging app that is enjoying a spike in downloads in recent days. Satya Mohanty, head, industry Consulting Group (ICG), CMR, said WhatsApp has been the default choice when it comes to messaging with loved ones, or communicating with the world. However, as our study findings point out, the current debate goes much beyond privacy-oriented consumers, with some even contemplating stopping their WhatsApp usage, and considering alternatives, such as Telegram or Signal. Consumer preference is being driven by word of mouth, as well as by the array of features the platform offers. Prabhu Ram, head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR said we are at the cusp of a potential seminal shift in consumer’s understanding and perspectives around privacy, security and most importantly, brand trust. For consumers, WhatsApp was their own, free and intimate messaging platform. As WhatsApp eventually moves into a much closer integration with the Facebook ecosystem from hereon, it risks an erosion in brand trust and brand loyalty both key determinants for enduring competitive market advantage. The emerging privacy-focused messaging alternatives can swiftly gain enduring traction. Our research points out that Telegram, in particular, has gained traction amongst users over the past year, much before the recent WhatsApp PR fiasco. While Signal has enjoyed a recent burst in its popularity, it has not been able to scale swiftly enough, and users have faced challenges with it. CMR said its Social Safe study is based on an extensive primary consumer survey covering 1500 consumers spread across the top eight cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune.

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