WhatsApp Usage Increases by 40 Percent Due to Coronavirus Pandemic
After cases of Covid-19 spiked in India, the Government has announced a 21-day lockdown. Quarantined at home, people have now become dependable on social media platform like WhatsApp to stay connected with their family and friends. WhatsApp has seen a 40 percent increase in usage due to the COVID-19 spread, according to a report based on a market survey, compared to the previous period. The instant messaging app is found to have received the “greatest gains” in usage among other social media apps, with a 27 percent increase in the early phase of the pandemic. Usage of overall social media engagement also increased by 61 percent over normal usage rates during the coronavirus outbreak. However, Web browsing increased by a whopping 70 percent, followed by traditional TV viewing growing by 63 percent.
A survey conducted by the consulting firm, Kantar found out that 25,000 consumers across 30 markets between March 14 and 24 that shows the success of WhatsApp during Coronavirus outbreak. Usage of the app grew from 27 percent initially in the early phase to 41 percent in the mid-phase of the pandemic. For countries that were in the later phase of the outbreak, WhatsApp usage has grown by 51 percent. The time spent on WhatsApp is also found to have increased remarkably in some markets. The report highlights Spain where a 76 percent increase of time spent on the app was noticed during the pandemic.
Other than WhatsApp, Facebook increased 37 percent. The growth in usage across all messaging apps has been the largest in the 18-34 age group, the survey revealed. It has also been noticed that WhatsApp, Facebook, as well as Instagram have all witnessed an over 50 percent increase in usage from under-35-year-olds. Moreover, China, from where the coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated, experienced a 58 percent increase in usage of local social media apps including WeChat and Weibo.
The survey also highlighted that despite being popular, social media apps are still not a trusted source for getting latest news and updates for many users. Instead, traditional news channels and newspapers were still identified as a “trustworthy” source for 52 percent of people, while only 11 percent of the survey size found social media platforms as a source of trustworthy information.
The survey further added, “Government agency websites are regarded as trustworthy by only 48 percent of people, suggesting that government measures are not providing citizens around the world with assurances and security.”