Signal App Downloads in India Surge Ahead of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram

Signal App Downloads in India Surge Ahead of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram

As WhatsApp announced that it will be sharing more data with Facebook, a large section of the users were on the lookout for alternatives. Data provided by app analytics firm Sensor Tower reveals that instant messaging app Signal topped the Indian weekly downloads chart, leaving behind apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram in the process.

The Signal app was reportedly downloaded 3.3 million times between January 5 to 11 while Instagram settled for 2.3 million downloads. Facebook and WhatsApp noticed 2.1 and 1.7 million downloads during the same timeframe.  

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This goes to show that WhatsApp’s new data sharing policy with Facebook has had a negative impact on its perception. Consequently, Facebook has resorted to taking full-page newspaper ads across Indian dailies to allay (legitimate) concerns of user data being compromised or sold to advertisers. 

Recent trends show that fellow secure instant messaging app Telegram has also seen a spike in downloads owing to the anti-WhatsApp sentiment in the tech sphere.

Signal received a shot in the arm a few weeks ago when Tesla CEO and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted in support of the app just as news of WhatsApp’s data sharing with Facebook was made public.      

Sensor Tower reveals that WhatsApp downloads saw a fall of 39% between Jan 5 and 11 as compared to the week prior. Meanwhile, Instagram and Facebook downloads fell by 34 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. On the flipside, downloads of the Signal app saw an uptick of 23471 per cent whereas Telegram enjoyed an 18 per cent increase during the same period. 

Despite recent events, WhatsApp continues to enjoy a lion’s share of the crowded instant messaging market. But as evidenced by the newspaper ads, it’s clear that Facebook has some concerns about the recent trends.  

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Although no data available is available on the total number of active Signal users in India, app analytics firm App Annie mentions that Signal had 20 million monthly active users as of December 2020.  

Chief Operating Officer at Signal, Aruna Harder said - “While we do not release any such data as per company policy, we see India as the worldwide leader that has catalyzed the global trend of switching over to Signal as their day to day messenger.”

Though Signal downloads have seen a significant uptick over the past week or so, people are unlikely to give up WhatsApp easily, says Craig Chapple, Mobile Insights Strategist for EMEA at Sensor Tower. 

“There is definitely an uptick in downloads for private messengers, which points to a change in how people view their personal data and privacy, but that doesn't mean users will also stop using apps like WhatsApp. It'll be interesting to see whether this latest trend sticks, or users revert back to what they know,” he said. 

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