WhatsApp — Facebooks India Key

My parents are visiting from India. I moved from India less than two years ago, but I feel the pace of movement everyday as I follow the news and the way my folks and the extended family use technology.

The one thing that stands out to me is the amount of time people use WhatsApp. My folks personally spend more than a couple of hours on WhatsApp each day, communicating on all sorts of groups, including their friends and communities from Delhi, family in Bangalore, staying in touch with their renters in Bangalore, and coordinating on work related things, while they live in Kannur, Kerala. My mom even knows 256 (2⁸) is the most people you can add in a WhatsApp group, because some of the groups she is on has that many people.

Like any Product Manager worth a dime, I looked up the numbers, and lo and behold this is what it reveals. Quettra research starts a research article “A day in the life of an Indian mobile user” with

“A user in India uses an average of 11 apps in one day.

  • A user in India spends an average of 3 hours on his/her mobile phone in one day, which is one hour less than worldwide users and two hours less than US users.
  • Indian users spend most of their time in Communication (48.3%).
  • Facebook, especially WhatsApp is a massive force to reckon with, as it dominates in terms of session numbers and session lengths.”

The following visuals are also powerful, WhatsApp far exceeds any other app both in terms of session and time spent by a user on an app, including Facebook.

All research by Quettra “A Day in the life of a mobile user in India”

This and the recent articles on the how WeChat is an operating system of sorts in China totally make me believe that Facebook should double down with WhatsApp in India. It just makes so much sense, I would do all my app integrations with WhatsApp if I could. Who would win India’s cab hailing market, well whoever between Ola and Uber integrates with WhatsApp, who will win India’s ecommerce market, whoever integrates with WhatsApp. This was so exciting to me, if I was an Uber or Ola PM, I would totally want to integrate with WhatsApp right away, I would think Uber with it’s locational advantage in the valley should be pushing for this.

We will see, if India evolves like China, but I sure think if people are spending inordinate amounts of time on WhatsApp, there is a very very big chance they are willing to do other things through WhatsApp.

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