Messaging app Telegram saw a large number of Indian users downloading the app post-WhatsApp policy update, recording the highest number of downloads during Jan 5-18, 2021
Interestingly, the company already collects device, connection and location data by default. In fact, it can collect location info with the help of multiple indicators even when the location access is turned off. Besides, it automatically collects device and usage logs that could reveal WhatsApp status, chat groups and profile photos.
Can Indian Messaging Apps Grab WhatsApp India Users?
Due to privacy concerns, both experts and critics are now urging consumers and businesses to migrate to other instant messaging apps which are more secure and claim to offer superior encryption. Whether this will result in the biggest app exodus in history remains to be seen.
WhatsApp’s all-or-nothing approach has triggered the search for some of the best alternatives, although there are very few homegrown apps in this space. Hike Sticker Chat has already shut down its operations, and Arattai (recently launched by Zoho), JioChat, Namaste Bharat and Indian Messenger are the few names currently present in the market.
Hike Sticker Chat, a popular Indian messaging app, announced its shutdown on Jan 6 and discontinued its services from Jan 14. However, this will be replaced by two new apps called Vibe (previously known as Hikeland) and Rush, both developed by Hike.
Given this scenario, Indian users of WhatsApp have to opt for more popular global alternatives such as Telegram, Signal, Discord, Line, Viber and others.
Who Is Attracting Indian Users?
Inc42 partnered with AppTweak to understand how the various WhatsApp alternatives have performed in the past few days in terms of downloads, app power and other parameters. Here are a few takeaways:
Signal And Telegram Poaching WhatsApp’s Indian Consumers
WhatsApp saw a decline of 15.7% in daily downloads during this period. The messaging app recorded 1.4 Mn new downloads between Jan 6 and 10, down from 2 Mn between Jan 1 and 5.
Signal witnessed a massive peak in daily downloads on Jan 9 but saw a decline of 82.5% in daily downloads during Jan 9-18.
Meanwhile, Telegram led in total downloads with 4.3 Mn during Jan 5-18, which surpassed WhatsApp downloads (4 Mn) for the same period.
WhatsApp India’s category ranking was also affected. It dropped to the third spot in the communications category on Jan 10, 2021, while Signal raced to the top slot in the same category from its previous rank of 208 on Jan 5.
Telegram also moved up from No. 4 to No. 2 during Jan 5-18. It shows that Telegram was performing well in the category and just got the right push after WhatsApp’s privacy debacle.
WhatsApp Remains Powerful Even After India Debacle
According to AppTweak, app power is a key performance indicator, or KPI, for an app’s overall performance in the store. It considers various factors such as the app’s competitiveness by category and the overall app store region.
Interestingly, both WhatsApp and Telegram had the highest app power (100) throughout Jan 5-18, 2021. Signal’s app power also increased from 19.2 on Jan 5 to 74.2 on Jan 18 due to its growing popularity and rising number of downloads. Meanwhile, US-based Discord had the second-highest app power, and it had been consistent in its ranking throughout this period
Will WhatsApp Fight Back?
It has clarified that the proposed update regarding data-sharing with Facebook will not affect personal chats or profile information and will only involve business chats if a user converses with a company’s customer service platform on WhatsApp.
It has also extended the date of implementation to May 15 to ensure that users have plenty of time to review and understand the new terms. But several users have already migrated to other platforms due to rumours and misconceptions. Now that the government is taking a decisive step and the company’s data policies are under the MeitY scanner, this may turn out to be a long and hard battle.