COVID-19 Analysis: Global Messaging Accelerates. At-Home-Fitness Segment Grows

March 27, 2020

What is Happening?


According to the latest data, messaging app WhatsApp is experiencing the greatest gains in usage.

Overall, WhatsApp has seen a 40% increase in usage:

  • 27% in the early phase of the pandemic
  • 41% in mid-phase
  • 51% for countries in the late phase

Facebook usage has increased by 37% while in China usage of local social media apps including WeChat and Weibo have also experienced significant increases.

Facebook recently shared its own data, noting that total messaging on its platform was up by more than 50% over last month. This would include Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp combined. Increased usage across all messaging platforms was also the biggest in the 18-34 age group.

Historically, Facebook has been able to remain stable during major events, like New Year’s Eve or the Olympics, but now says it is seeing sustained, record levels of use which have required it to reduce bit rates on Facebook and Instagram videos and add additional capacity.

What Does it Mean?


As this global public health crisis advances and more people are physically separated from their communities, we expect that people will continue to rely on messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp to stay connected.

Advertisers should be considering messaging platforms as part of their paid and organic strategies.

Online Purchasing Behaviour Observations

💪 At-home fitness has seen a strong boost in monthly search interest and spend as a result of increased consumer time at home and restrictions on life outside the home.

🐶 Pet products (consumers are happily embracing more time with their pets), groceries (both non-perishable and perishable), and at-home entertainment are seeing continued levels of increased consumer spending.

🥗 Dining outside the home, fitness outside the home, entertainment outside the home and travel continue to experience the largest declines in consumer spending.

👗Some non-essential clothing (fashion and luxury) businesses are shutting down both online and offline in the UK and US.

Facebook Launches Hub on Messenger & Works with WHO to Deliver COVID-19 Information via WhatsApp

What is Happening?


Facebook has launched a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Community Hub for Messenger users in order to help fight misinformation regarding Coronavirus.

The hub will recommend activities like scheduling a virtual playdate, connecting with kids’ teachers or other parents for school updates, as well as organising group video chats or text groups.

Along with the World Health Organisations helpline on WhatsApp, which provides the latest news and information on coronavirus, the hub will highlight ways to identify false or misleading information about COVID-19.

What Does it Mean?


Both Messenger (used by more than 1 billion people) and WhatsApp (used by more than 2 billion people) are enabling the World Health Organisation to deliver information regarding COVID-19 directly to people's pockets at a scale and speed never seen before.

Because of their scale and accessibility on mobile devices, we believe there are significant opportunities for businesses to reengage and communicate with existing customers.

Chart of The Week: US Unemployment Insurance Claims

Source: Visualizing initial unemployment insurance claims in the US by DorsaAmir