Study by the network agency: Pandemic strengthens messenger services

Status: 01/27/2022 12:41 p.m

Messenger services continue to grow in popularity. The market leaders WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are losing market share to competitors such as Signal, Discord and Telegram. This is shown by a study by the Federal Network Agency.

Online communication services are becoming increasingly popular. As can be seen from the latest figures from a consumer survey by the Federal Network Agency, 88 percent of Germans were regularly using messenger services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Signal at the time of the survey in August 2021. In 2019 it was 83 percent.

The services of the Meta group (formerly Facebook), WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct Messenger suffered losses compared to the 2019 survey. With WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, the minus was three percent each, with Instagram Direct Messenger five percent. However, WhatsApp is still the most popular service with a usage share of 93 percent, followed by Facebook and Instagram.

In contrast, the services Signal, Discord and Telegram achieved growth. The increase was nine percent for Signal, eight percent for Discord and six percent for Telegram. “The Meta Group’s competitors in particular were able to benefit from the positive overall development. While we are seeing a slight decline in WhatsApp and Co, almost all other services have gained usage shares,” explains Jochen Homann, President of the Federal Network Agency.

Online communication services in Germany
providers Share of use 2021 Comparison with 2019
WhatsApp 93% -3%
Facebook Messenger 39% -3%
Instagram Direct Messages 25% -5%
Skype/Skype for Business 20% +2%
Zoom 18% +18%
Telegram 16% +6%
Microsoft Teams 14% +14%
Snapchat 14% +2%
Signal 13% +9%
FaceTime 12% +3%
iMessage 10% +2%
Discord 8% +8%
Google Messages 7% +3%
Threema 5% +1%

“Multihoming” very popular

In addition, more and more people are using different services at the same time, reports Homann: “Almost three quarters of all users are now using so-called multihoming.” On average, three different messenger services are used in parallel. “So multihoming is increasingly becoming the standard case.” However, it is usually about the services of a provider, because 60 percent of those surveyed do not want to be contacted by users of other services.

In particular, the ongoing pandemic situation, in which work and private life were largely shifted to digital, contributed to a significant increase in usage. 39 percent of all those surveyed stated that they had communicated more frequently since then. In particular, the use of the video telephony function has increased significantly. The video conferencing services Zoom and Microsoft Teams achieved particularly strong growth with usage shares of 18 percent and 14 percent respectively. In the 2019 survey, both services were hardly present from a consumer perspective.

However, by no means only online services played a role in the survey: Compared to internet telephony, the classic telephone call via landline and mobile phone connections remains significantly more popular. Around 80 percent of all mobile phone users surveyed cannot imagine doing without it in the future. More calls are also being made via landline connections than before the pandemic.

Federal Network Agency: Consumer survey on online communication services

Anne Burghard, WDR, 27.1.2022 10:39 a.m

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