Singapore’s instant messaging market did not go through the major upheaval that many predicted. Around the world, the announcement that WhatsApp data could be shared with other Facebook-owned platforms led many privacy-conscious users to abandon WhatsApp in favour of less invasive messaging platforms (Signal, Telegram, Discord). This is not the case in Singapore, where WhatsApp remains the main messaging application and where users are not in any urgency to migrate to another platform.
Our data shows that WhatsApp dominates in Singapore, with 98% of Singaporeans using it as their main messaging service. Usage is highest among Boomers (100%) and lowest among Gen Xers (97%), indicating a great challenge for alternative messaging platforms looking to grow in Singapore.
58% of Singaporeans remain loyal to WhatsApp despite the announcement that user data could be exchanged with other Facebook-owned channels. Loyalty is highest among Millennials (62%) and lowest among Boomers (52%), suggesting that when a messaging exodus does take place, Boomers may be the first ones to leave.
39% of Singaporeans say they will not leave WhatsApp but will instead limit the type/amount of personal information they share on the application, and only 4% will abandon WhatsApp for privacy reasons. Telegram (51%) and Signal (35%) are the two main platforms that Singaporeans would consider using if/when they leave WhatsApp. Signal is more popular among Boomers (75%) while Millennials prefer Telegram (75%).
These findings suggest that Singaporeans’ messaging habits and preferences are difficult to change, despite Telegram and Signal slowly building up their audience in Singapore, It is likely that only a major misstep by WhatsApp will push Singaporeans into the arms of alternative messaging platforms.