WhatsApp has seen a significant increase in usage as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic affects countries worldwide, according to research firm Kantar.
Kantar surveyed more than 25,000 consumers across 30 markets to determine how media habits changed when users were faced with the effects of a global pandemic.
“As countries move deeper into the pandemic, so media consumption increases across all in-home channels,” Kantar said.
“In later stages of the pandemic, web browsing increases by 70%, followed by (traditional) TV viewing increasing by 63% and social media engagement increasing by 61% over normal usage rates.”
Across all stages of the pandemic, however, WhatsApp experiences the biggest increase in usage out of any social media application. The messaging app saw a 40% increase in usage since the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“Overall, WhatsApp has seen a 40% increase in usage; in the early phase of the pandemic usage increases 27%, in mid-phase 41% and countries in the late phase of the pandemic see an increase of 51%.”
Usage of all messaging and social media apps – including Facebook and Instagram – increases as people become more physically isolated due to the outbreak, the research firm added.
WhatsApp COVID-19 updates
In addition to enabling communication between isolated users, WhatsApp has also partnered with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to launch a free-to-use chatbot that provides updates on the coronavirus.
This service aims to keep the public informed about the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and it can also answer questions from users about the pandemic.
The WHO Health Alert will provide guidance on topics such as how to protect yourself from infection, travel advice, and debunking coronavirus myths.
To add the WHO Health Alert chatbot to your WhatsApp application, click on the WHO Health Alert link to add the chatbot as a contact.
Users can then open a chat with the WHO Health Alert chat and text the word “Hi” to get started.