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Communication behaviour in Germany
Research brief ‒ September 2019
Dr René Arnold
Prof Dr Anna Schneider
2
Imprint
Prof Dr Anna Schneider
Professor of Business Psychology
Contact:
anna.schneider@hs-fresenius.de
+49 (0)221 97 31 99 715
Hochschule Fresenius – Fachbereich Wirtschaft & Medien
Business School · Media School · Psychology School
Im Mediapark 4c
50670 Köln
http://www.hs-fresenius.de
General Manager: Prof. Dr. Tobias Engelsleben, Sascha Kappes,
Kai Metzner
Registered: Amtsgericht WiesbadenHRB 19044
Authors of this study:
Dr René Arnold
Head of Department Markets and Perspectives
Contact:
r.arnold@wik.org
+49 (0)2224 92 25 25
Contact details of the scientific institutes:
WIK Wissenschaftliches Institut für
Infrastruktur und Kommunikationsdienste GmbH
Rhöndorfer Str. 68
53604 Bad Honnef, Germany
Tel.: +49 2224 9225-0
Fax: +49 2224 9225-63
eMail: info(at)wik.org
www.wik.org
General Manager and Director: Dr IrisHenseler-Unger
Chairpersonof the Supervisory Board: Dr Daniela Brönstrup
Registered: Amtsgericht Siegburg, HRB 7225
Tax No.: 222/5751/0722
VAT No.: DE 123 383 795
Pictures:
jason-leung-unsplash, saliona-gumeniuk-unsplash, christian-wiediger-unsplash, andreas-weiland-
252618-unsplash, samuel-zeller-MLtcpbwQT7I-unsplash, tinh-khuong-szsINGSdrBs-unsplash, jaromir-
kavan-unsplash, chuttersnap-unsplash; pawel-czerwinski-unsplash; soren-astrup-jorgensen-unsplash,
priscilla-du-preez-unsplash, drz-unsplash, kaboompics.
3
Foreword
Lots of users, little revenue?
Today, communication takes place on our smartphones and tablets – anywhere and anytime. On their devices,
consumers use various applications complementarily to communicate with different groups of acquaintances or to use
specific functions. The majority of these applications can be downloaded and used without consumers having to pay for
them. Thus, consumers usually do not think twice about downloading and using these applications. Consequently, we are
not surprised to see an increase in usage intensity of mobile messaging applications.
However, the fourth edition of our study on communication behaviour in collaboration with Hochschule Fresenius
University of Applied Sciences clearly shows that growth rate of mobile messaging applications usage intensity is slowing
down. This suggests that, in Germany at least, the times when it was enough to present more registered users every
quarter to keep investors happy may be drawing to an end. Consequently, this study sets out to shed light on the
monetisation of mobile messaging applications.
Unlike traditional telecommunications providers, companies offering mobile messaging applications seem to have figured
out that combining various services and functions will work their advantage. So, we expect to see Google, Facebook and
others further enhancing their applications with payment systems and authentication functions. Wewill have to wait and
see though if traditional telecommunications providers can find suitable answers to such innovations.
Dr Iris Henseler-Unger
4
In need of sharp ideas
With billions of users but very little revenue, it is not just OTT service providers that
have to be profitable; traditional telecoms operators need to make money too.
Unlike traditional providers of communications services, OTT providers have
successfully established additional functions within their applications that enable
them to position themselves as intermediaries and tap complementary revenue
sources.
As the present study underscores, communication is happening more and more
online. In the same vein, the technology behind traditional telecommunications
services depends increasingly on the internet protocol. Very soon, traditional
telecommunications services and OTT services will be difficult to distinguish from
each other, at least on a technical level. Sharp ideas will be required in terms of
how to handle this evolution. Presumably, OTT providers may be better equipped
for an increasingly level technological playing field as their business perspective is
already global by default.
However, traditional telecoms operators still control the internet access and thus
the initial consumer interface and usually their email service too. They will have to
reap the benefits of this position.
5
Introduction
The ways we communicate change constantly. The fourth edition of our research brief on communication
behaviour in Germany traces these changes and sheds light on the long-term evolution in usage patterns
of communications services. So-called over-the-top (OTT) services play an increasingly important role as
complementary means of communication next to traditional telecommunications services. This key result
transpires from all our previous research briefs.
The present research brief differs from the previous ones as it gives rise to doubts about the infinite growth
potential of WhatsApp, Instagram and similar services. With this in mind, the question of how to generate
revenue from the existing users is more pressing than ever before if the providers of these services want
to continue riding the wave of success. As part of their strategy, some providers may consider making their
individual services interoperable in order to increase the number of addressable consumers even further.
In this research brief we explore these questions and investigate how German consumers may react to
some of the potential strategies to make OTT services profitable in the near future.
To this end, we conducted a representative survey of 3,184 consumers living in Germany.
1 Arnold, R. & Schneider, A. (2018). Oops, I texted again – Communication behaviour in Germany. Bad Honnef/Köln: WIK/HS-Fresenius.;
Arnold, R. & Schneider, A. (2017). OTT Services – Colour to the internet. Bad Honnef/Köln: WIK/HS-Fresenius.; Arnold, R. & Schneider, A.
(2016). OTT Services and Consumers’ Communication Behaviour in Germany. Bad Honnef / Köln: WIK/HS-Fresenius.
6
Is the growth coming to an end?
The number of users of OTT messaging services in Germany is still growing.
However, this growth has slowed down substantially in most age groups
compared to previous years. In our survey, around 87% of respondents
stated that they have texted or sent other messages on WhatsApp,
Instagram, Facebook Messenger and similar services. One year
before, the figurewas 80%. Looking backover a longer period, the
group of users who rely solely on OTT services for messaging
has shown particularly strong growth. In 2016, only 26% of
consumers in Germany had turned their back on SMS
completely. Two years later, 40% of respondents use
only OTT services.
Young consumers are still in the lead when it
comes to OTT services usage. In 2018, 95%
of 18- to 34-year-olds used OTT services
for more than half of their messaging
needs. However, older consumers
are catching up. In 2018, 85%
of respondents aged 45 and
older stated that they use
OTT services to send and
receive messages.
It is obvious nonetheless that
compared to previous years
there is no substantial increase
this year in usage intensity of
OTT services for all age groups
except the 35- to 44-year-olds.
This might indicate the beginning
of saturation for these services in
Germany and thus the end of the rapid
growth of recentyears for WhatsApp and
similar services.
SMS vs. OTT services
2016
2017
Usage intensity of OTT services
2018
Source: Surveys; n=3.184(2018); n=2.036(2017); n=1.003 (2016).
7
WhatsApp
Snapchat
Instagram
Globally, OTT services remain very popular. WhatsApp grew between 2012 and 2017 almost
linearly. By the end of this five-year period, the service had 1.5 billion MAUs. In particular, the
increase in internet adoption among Indian consumers has probably boosted WhatsApp’s
number of MAUs further. However, WhatsApp has refrained from publishing any
official MAU figure in recent years. Accordingto our own estimate, there are
currently a little more than 1.7 billion MAUs of WhatsApp worldwide. Compared
to the 8.2 billion mobile subscriptions globally, virtually all of which come with a
default SMS service included, this is still a relatively small number.
In 2018, Instagram also hit the 1 billion MAUs mark. The service is particularly
popular with young consumers. Accordingto our own estimates, currently
1.1 billion users post pictures, follow others or communicate via the service at
least once a month.
The number of Snapchat users has stagnated over recent
years. Nonetheless, the service is an interesting one
to explore in more detail as it is one of the most
innovative, experimenting constantly with new
business models. While OTT services such as LINE
in Asia rely on stickers and other in-app purchases,
Snapchat has expanded its collaborations with other
OTT actors, successively crafting its own position as an
important platform intermediary. Indeed, a service needs
much more than just a lot of users to be successful and
profitable in the long run. Otherwise, it is only hot air
that remains.
Up in the air
1 ITU. 2019. Global and regional ICTdata. Geneva: International Telecommunication Union.
2 Press releases, Mashable (2013), Statista (2014), Business Insider (2014), AdWeek (2015),
TNW(2016), Statista (2018) and own estimations based on GWI (2019).
Monthly Active Users (in millions)
8
Colourful communications
18 to 34 years
35 to 44 years
45 years and above
0
001
0
001
0
001
Consumers in Germany use on average 4.9 services to communicate. Among them
are virtually always landline and mobile telephony as well as email. WhatsApp is
part of the default mix for many, especially young consumers. In general, they use a
wider variety of services in parallel than older consumers. This is particularly true
when it comes to Instagram and Snapchat.
Source: Ownpresentation; data from the WIK online survey from the year 2018 with N=2044. Respondents were asked about their
usage of landline telephony, mobile telephony, SMS and email as well as 22 additional OTT-1 services. The Services nit shownare
Telegram, Facetime, Threema, Viber, Hangouts, Tinder, Kik Messenger, WeChat, Lovoo, LINE, Signal, Google Duo, Google Allo,
Blackberry Messenger und Kakaotalk.
Landline or mobile telephony
Email
WhatsApp
SMS
Facebook Messenger
Skype
Instagram
Twitter
Snapchat
iMessage
Usage of communication services
in Germany according to age groups
9
Would you like to receive a WhatsApp
from any Instagram follower?
use only
one service
combine
at least
two services
WhatsApp
Fb Messenger
Instagram
WhatsApp
Fb Messenger
WhatsApp
Instagram
Instagram
Fb Messenger
all 3
services
Using various applications for interpersonal communication
next to each other is common practice also for the three
popular services offered by Facebook – WhatsApp,
Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Recently, Facebook’s
alleged plans to make the messaging functions of these
applications interoperable made the headlines. If they did,
anyone using at least one of the three services could
exchange messages directly with anyone else registered on
one of the three services. So far, there are no insights into
how many users would be affected by such a new
interoperability or how they would likely react to it. Weseek
to shed some light on these two issues.
In Germany, around half of the consumers who were using
at least one of the three services at the end of 2018 indeed
utilised only one out of the three. The majority of this group
used WhatsApp. The other half of users relied on at least
two out of the three services. Approximately a third of the
consumers considered here used all three applications.
An extension of addressable relevant contacts would affect
only around half of the consumers considered here. But
interoperability by default works in both directions i.e.
everyone who is registered with a service other than oneself
could contact the other even on the different platform, even
though one might have consciously decided against using
the service of the sender of the message. This might incline
some users to leave the applications offered by Facebook
behind altogether. A notable consumer harm could also
emerge for those who use two or all three services
alongside each other. As we showed elsewhere, this multi-
homing usually has the aim of proactively separating
different groups of social contacts or audiences from one
another. Interoperability would evaporate these boundaries
relied upon by consumers and would probably force users
to develop a new set of coping strategies to maintain
separation of social groups.
1 Kroon, P. & Arnold, R. (2018). DieBedeutung vonInteroperabilität in der digitalen Welt – NeueHeraus-
forderungen in der interpersonellen Kommunikation. WIK DiskussionsbeitragNr 437. BadHonnef: WIK.
2 Survey n=1647.
Usage patterns of popular
Facebook services2
10
The long and winding road to monetisation
Snapchat
Shoppable reality – simply taking a
picture of a pair of trousers and
purchasing them directly online.
Snapchat enables this in
collaboration with Amazon. They
receive a share of the revenue from
the purchase for their
intermediation.
The function is so far only available
in the US. Besides additional
revenue, these “snaps” generate
relevant insights into consumers via
the metadata collected around the
purchase. Ultimately, these data
can help to train other algorithms,
which in turn may enable new
innovative functions.
Conversational Commerce
Companies no matter their size should be
available for their customers via messaging
services. Many requests can be handled by
chatbots more efficiently than by human agents.
This opens a potential revenue stream for OTT
actors who provide these chatbots as a service.
Application-to-Person (A2P)
Messaging
TAN authentification, boarding passes
and direct marketing are only a few
examples for messages for which
companies have a high willingness to
pay to engage directly with
consumers. Currently, the majority of
these messages are sent via SMS.
But WhatsApp, Viber and other OTT
services are starting to gain a foothold
in the A2P messaging market whose
size is estimated at US$11.9 billion
globally.1
1 https://www.tatacommunications.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/an-A2P-messaging-monetisation-study.pdf
11
Email – A missed opportunity?
Virtually no one thinks of email in relation to OTT services, although it is
and remains the most widely used OTT service. On average, 84% of
consumers in Germany use at least one email service monthly. Among
them, the email services offered by the internet service providers (ISPs)
are particularly popular. The largest group (34%) of respondents uses
such a service which is typically offered in the bundle with the internet
access.
In Germany, ISPs have direct contact with a large share of consumers.
Often these are the same individuals who receive telephony and SMS
services from the same ISP or are even on the same contract as the
internet access and email service. Evidence that traditional
telecommunication providers have reaped the benefits of this customer
access is scarce. Just like with mobile messaging applications, OTT
providers were much more successful in combining the communication
function of their e-mail services with other services and offering
advertising space.
71.
On average,
consumers use
email services
Service provided by ISP /
telecom operator
Google Mail
or Gmail
Web.de
Microsoft Outlook
Hotmail or live
Yahoo!
Freenet
GMX
AOL
34%
31%
27%
27%
14%
12%
6%
4%
Usage of various email providers in Germany
(multiple answers possible)
Deutsche
Telekom
1&1
Vodafone
O2
Netcologne EWEtel
Source: Survey n=3.184.
]
12
Conventional voice telephony services and OTT services –
calls in Germany
2016
2017
Usage intensity of OTT services
Traditional chatterboxes
2018
Unlike short messages for which OTT services can still claim some usage increase, consumers
in Germany still prefer landline and mobile phone calls over Skype or WhatsApp calls when
they want to speak with someone else across a distance. In 2018, on average more than 40%
of respondents rely solely on traditional phone calls.
A comparison of the age groups shows marked
differences. In particular, 45-year-olds
stated that they use only landline or
mobile telephones for making calls.
Younger consumers (18 to 34 years
old) were more open to OTT service
usage. However, even they use
these services alongside
traditional phone calls in
most cases.
Despite this overall inclination
towards OTT services, one in three
consumers in the 18 to 34 age bracket
stated that they rely solely on traditional
services. The share of those who claimed to
use only OTT services for their calls within
Germany is still below 10 %.
In summary, there is little differencebetween
the usage patterns registered in 2017 and
2018. This indicates a possible saturation
for OTT services.
Source: Surveys; n=3.184(2018); n=2.036(2017); n=1.003 (2016).
13
2016
2017
For calls abroad, it is obvious that fewer consumers rely on traditional landline or
mobile calls than for calls within Germany. A plausible reason for this differenceis
first and foremost the relatively high cost of calls abroad. This is particularly true for
calls outside of the European Union. Using OTT services can reduce the cost of
calls substantially, or even to zero in some cases. Speaking to someone and
possibly using additional features such as video telephony can thus be
cheaper and more comfortable for consumers than using the phone.
2018
Between 2017 and 2018, the number of consumers who
relied only on traditional phone calls even for calls
abroad increased.”Roam Like at Home” as well as
the regulation on intra-EU calls have probably
had apositive effect on consumers’ intention
to use traditional phone calls.
Conventional voice telephony services and OTT services –
calls abroad
Usage intensity of OTT services
Source: Surveys; n=3.184(2018); n=2.036(2017); n=1.003 (2016).
14
Icons: Icon 54.
Source: Survey n=3.184.
Who is picking up the phone?
Share of non-users by age group
3 %1
5%
18-24
2 %4
6%
35-44
1 %6
6%
35-44
%11
9%
45-54
7%
1 %4
55+
Non-users of
landline telephones
Non-users of
mobile telephone
The simple traditional phone call is still the most commonly used service for
telecommunication in Germany. Today, mobile phones are the dominant device to
make such calls. The landline phone is becoming marginalised, especially by young
consumers.
Within the youngest age bracket of respondents, almost one third of consumers were
no longer using a landline telephone by the end of 2018. Among the 35- to 44-year-
olds, every fourth consumer does not touch a landline phone anymore. On the other
hand, almost all consumers who are 55 and older (93%) use their landlines. But even
among these consumers, only 14% do not use a mobile phone.
Roughly 30 years after the first affordable mobile telephones were introduced, it
seems as if this technology may fully substitute the telephone at home. This
substitution brings with it a complete transition of the underlying technology to the
internet protocol. Thus, the telephone number as such may not be as important as a
unique identifier as it used to be. Against this backdrop, it might be relevant to
envisage a future not only void of wires, but also telephone numbers.
15
Looking ahead: Time’s running out
As the present research brief shows, the most significant potential for monetisation of communications
services is in innovative functions and integrated services. OTT providers already have promising
approaches to show. Traditional telecommunications providers on the other hand appear fixated on
revenue directly associated with the communications services themselves.
Next to monetisation strategies outlined here covering, for instance, adding or linking sales platforms to
mobile messaging applications or using them for marketing communications, OTT providers may find
integrating identification and authentication functions a promising avenue to augment their services.
Already today, email addresses function as unique identifiers. Alternatively, Facebook or Google log-ins
are available for consumers to register with various online services. Fingerprints or Face-ID enable us to
access our smartphones or some payment services. Voice assistants can recognise their authorised
users by their voices.
But the accurate and secure authentication of the user is only one side of the coin. In
particular, in a time when more and more OTT services rely on revenues from targeted
advertising, tracking consumers accurately across various services and websites is a
tremendously valuable asset. This is the only way to register the success of advertising
campaigns and bill the clients accordingly. Conceptionally, that is not far off the original
idea of the telephone number, which was equally essential for accurate billing. How well
this means of identification still functions is evidenced by the fact that even today
WhatsApp and other OTT messaging services use the telephone number for their initial
registration and synchronisation of contacts.
One may however question whether the public numbering space would continue to play such a central
role, if telephone numbers were neither technologically necessary nor relevant for the identification of
individual users, because e.g. Face-ID or a similar technology represented a superior alternative.
Furthermore, there is some doubt whether national telecommunications providers will then remain a
relevant actor in the direct business interaction with consumers or whether they might retreat to simply
offering network capacity.
Independent from the future role of telephone numbers, the pressure on telecommunications providers
is increasing, not least because shareholders of large OTT players want to see further revenue and
profitability growth. A2P messaging will probably be a substantial opportunity to achieve exactly this.
Unsurprisingly, OTT providers engage strongly in this market: Google has RCS, Facebook offers
WhatsApp Business and Viber boasts its own business messaging solution. So far, telecommunications
operators’ A2P revenues and the high associated margins have remained almost unchallenged.
16
About this study:
The online survey for this study was conducted with 3.184 consumers in November 2018 by the
international market research institute YouGov. The results were weighted to draw representative
conclusions for the German population (age 18+). Additionally, 20 qualitative interviews were
conducted in the autumn of 2018. The complete survey results are published in WIK discussion paper
No. 440 which can be ordered online at www.wik.org.
About WIK:
Founded in 1982, WIK (Wissenschaftliches Institut für Infrastruktur und Kommunikationsdienste) in
Bad Honnef, Germany offers consultancy for public and private clients around the world. Its focus is
on the telecommunication, Internet, post and energy sectors giving advice on policy, regulatory and
strategic issues. More information is available at: www.wik.org.
About Fresenius University of Applied Sciences:
With more than 11,000 students, as well as numerous national and international locations, Fresenius
University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest and most renowned private universities in
Germany. Practical, innovative study and training content, focusing on the requirements of the labour
market, with small study groups and well-known cooperation partners are just some of the many
advantages of the Hochschule Fresenius. With its headquarters in Idstein near Wiesbaden, the
Hochschule Fresenius can look back on almost 170 years of tradition.
More information is available at www.hs-fresenius.de.

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Got the message? Communication behaviour in Germany

  • 1. Got the message? Communication behaviour in Germany Research brief ‒ September 2019 Dr René Arnold Prof Dr Anna Schneider
  • 2. 2 Imprint Prof Dr Anna Schneider Professor of Business Psychology Contact: anna.schneider@hs-fresenius.de +49 (0)221 97 31 99 715 Hochschule Fresenius – Fachbereich Wirtschaft & Medien Business School · Media School · Psychology School Im Mediapark 4c 50670 Köln http://www.hs-fresenius.de General Manager: Prof. Dr. Tobias Engelsleben, Sascha Kappes, Kai Metzner Registered: Amtsgericht WiesbadenHRB 19044 Authors of this study: Dr René Arnold Head of Department Markets and Perspectives Contact: r.arnold@wik.org +49 (0)2224 92 25 25 Contact details of the scientific institutes: WIK Wissenschaftliches Institut für Infrastruktur und Kommunikationsdienste GmbH Rhöndorfer Str. 68 53604 Bad Honnef, Germany Tel.: +49 2224 9225-0 Fax: +49 2224 9225-63 eMail: info(at)wik.org www.wik.org General Manager and Director: Dr IrisHenseler-Unger Chairpersonof the Supervisory Board: Dr Daniela Brönstrup Registered: Amtsgericht Siegburg, HRB 7225 Tax No.: 222/5751/0722 VAT No.: DE 123 383 795 Pictures: jason-leung-unsplash, saliona-gumeniuk-unsplash, christian-wiediger-unsplash, andreas-weiland- 252618-unsplash, samuel-zeller-MLtcpbwQT7I-unsplash, tinh-khuong-szsINGSdrBs-unsplash, jaromir- kavan-unsplash, chuttersnap-unsplash; pawel-czerwinski-unsplash; soren-astrup-jorgensen-unsplash, priscilla-du-preez-unsplash, drz-unsplash, kaboompics.
  • 3. 3 Foreword Lots of users, little revenue? Today, communication takes place on our smartphones and tablets – anywhere and anytime. On their devices, consumers use various applications complementarily to communicate with different groups of acquaintances or to use specific functions. The majority of these applications can be downloaded and used without consumers having to pay for them. Thus, consumers usually do not think twice about downloading and using these applications. Consequently, we are not surprised to see an increase in usage intensity of mobile messaging applications. However, the fourth edition of our study on communication behaviour in collaboration with Hochschule Fresenius University of Applied Sciences clearly shows that growth rate of mobile messaging applications usage intensity is slowing down. This suggests that, in Germany at least, the times when it was enough to present more registered users every quarter to keep investors happy may be drawing to an end. Consequently, this study sets out to shed light on the monetisation of mobile messaging applications. Unlike traditional telecommunications providers, companies offering mobile messaging applications seem to have figured out that combining various services and functions will work their advantage. So, we expect to see Google, Facebook and others further enhancing their applications with payment systems and authentication functions. Wewill have to wait and see though if traditional telecommunications providers can find suitable answers to such innovations. Dr Iris Henseler-Unger
  • 4. 4 In need of sharp ideas With billions of users but very little revenue, it is not just OTT service providers that have to be profitable; traditional telecoms operators need to make money too. Unlike traditional providers of communications services, OTT providers have successfully established additional functions within their applications that enable them to position themselves as intermediaries and tap complementary revenue sources. As the present study underscores, communication is happening more and more online. In the same vein, the technology behind traditional telecommunications services depends increasingly on the internet protocol. Very soon, traditional telecommunications services and OTT services will be difficult to distinguish from each other, at least on a technical level. Sharp ideas will be required in terms of how to handle this evolution. Presumably, OTT providers may be better equipped for an increasingly level technological playing field as their business perspective is already global by default. However, traditional telecoms operators still control the internet access and thus the initial consumer interface and usually their email service too. They will have to reap the benefits of this position.
  • 5. 5 Introduction The ways we communicate change constantly. The fourth edition of our research brief on communication behaviour in Germany traces these changes and sheds light on the long-term evolution in usage patterns of communications services. So-called over-the-top (OTT) services play an increasingly important role as complementary means of communication next to traditional telecommunications services. This key result transpires from all our previous research briefs. The present research brief differs from the previous ones as it gives rise to doubts about the infinite growth potential of WhatsApp, Instagram and similar services. With this in mind, the question of how to generate revenue from the existing users is more pressing than ever before if the providers of these services want to continue riding the wave of success. As part of their strategy, some providers may consider making their individual services interoperable in order to increase the number of addressable consumers even further. In this research brief we explore these questions and investigate how German consumers may react to some of the potential strategies to make OTT services profitable in the near future. To this end, we conducted a representative survey of 3,184 consumers living in Germany. 1 Arnold, R. & Schneider, A. (2018). Oops, I texted again – Communication behaviour in Germany. Bad Honnef/Köln: WIK/HS-Fresenius.; Arnold, R. & Schneider, A. (2017). OTT Services – Colour to the internet. Bad Honnef/Köln: WIK/HS-Fresenius.; Arnold, R. & Schneider, A. (2016). OTT Services and Consumers’ Communication Behaviour in Germany. Bad Honnef / Köln: WIK/HS-Fresenius.
  • 6. 6 Is the growth coming to an end? The number of users of OTT messaging services in Germany is still growing. However, this growth has slowed down substantially in most age groups compared to previous years. In our survey, around 87% of respondents stated that they have texted or sent other messages on WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and similar services. One year before, the figurewas 80%. Looking backover a longer period, the group of users who rely solely on OTT services for messaging has shown particularly strong growth. In 2016, only 26% of consumers in Germany had turned their back on SMS completely. Two years later, 40% of respondents use only OTT services. Young consumers are still in the lead when it comes to OTT services usage. In 2018, 95% of 18- to 34-year-olds used OTT services for more than half of their messaging needs. However, older consumers are catching up. In 2018, 85% of respondents aged 45 and older stated that they use OTT services to send and receive messages. It is obvious nonetheless that compared to previous years there is no substantial increase this year in usage intensity of OTT services for all age groups except the 35- to 44-year-olds. This might indicate the beginning of saturation for these services in Germany and thus the end of the rapid growth of recentyears for WhatsApp and similar services. SMS vs. OTT services 2016 2017 Usage intensity of OTT services 2018 Source: Surveys; n=3.184(2018); n=2.036(2017); n=1.003 (2016).
  • 7. 7 WhatsApp Snapchat Instagram Globally, OTT services remain very popular. WhatsApp grew between 2012 and 2017 almost linearly. By the end of this five-year period, the service had 1.5 billion MAUs. In particular, the increase in internet adoption among Indian consumers has probably boosted WhatsApp’s number of MAUs further. However, WhatsApp has refrained from publishing any official MAU figure in recent years. Accordingto our own estimate, there are currently a little more than 1.7 billion MAUs of WhatsApp worldwide. Compared to the 8.2 billion mobile subscriptions globally, virtually all of which come with a default SMS service included, this is still a relatively small number. In 2018, Instagram also hit the 1 billion MAUs mark. The service is particularly popular with young consumers. Accordingto our own estimates, currently 1.1 billion users post pictures, follow others or communicate via the service at least once a month. The number of Snapchat users has stagnated over recent years. Nonetheless, the service is an interesting one to explore in more detail as it is one of the most innovative, experimenting constantly with new business models. While OTT services such as LINE in Asia rely on stickers and other in-app purchases, Snapchat has expanded its collaborations with other OTT actors, successively crafting its own position as an important platform intermediary. Indeed, a service needs much more than just a lot of users to be successful and profitable in the long run. Otherwise, it is only hot air that remains. Up in the air 1 ITU. 2019. Global and regional ICTdata. Geneva: International Telecommunication Union. 2 Press releases, Mashable (2013), Statista (2014), Business Insider (2014), AdWeek (2015), TNW(2016), Statista (2018) and own estimations based on GWI (2019). Monthly Active Users (in millions)
  • 8. 8 Colourful communications 18 to 34 years 35 to 44 years 45 years and above 0 001 0 001 0 001 Consumers in Germany use on average 4.9 services to communicate. Among them are virtually always landline and mobile telephony as well as email. WhatsApp is part of the default mix for many, especially young consumers. In general, they use a wider variety of services in parallel than older consumers. This is particularly true when it comes to Instagram and Snapchat. Source: Ownpresentation; data from the WIK online survey from the year 2018 with N=2044. Respondents were asked about their usage of landline telephony, mobile telephony, SMS and email as well as 22 additional OTT-1 services. The Services nit shownare Telegram, Facetime, Threema, Viber, Hangouts, Tinder, Kik Messenger, WeChat, Lovoo, LINE, Signal, Google Duo, Google Allo, Blackberry Messenger und Kakaotalk. Landline or mobile telephony Email WhatsApp SMS Facebook Messenger Skype Instagram Twitter Snapchat iMessage Usage of communication services in Germany according to age groups
  • 9. 9 Would you like to receive a WhatsApp from any Instagram follower? use only one service combine at least two services WhatsApp Fb Messenger Instagram WhatsApp Fb Messenger WhatsApp Instagram Instagram Fb Messenger all 3 services Using various applications for interpersonal communication next to each other is common practice also for the three popular services offered by Facebook – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Recently, Facebook’s alleged plans to make the messaging functions of these applications interoperable made the headlines. If they did, anyone using at least one of the three services could exchange messages directly with anyone else registered on one of the three services. So far, there are no insights into how many users would be affected by such a new interoperability or how they would likely react to it. Weseek to shed some light on these two issues. In Germany, around half of the consumers who were using at least one of the three services at the end of 2018 indeed utilised only one out of the three. The majority of this group used WhatsApp. The other half of users relied on at least two out of the three services. Approximately a third of the consumers considered here used all three applications. An extension of addressable relevant contacts would affect only around half of the consumers considered here. But interoperability by default works in both directions i.e. everyone who is registered with a service other than oneself could contact the other even on the different platform, even though one might have consciously decided against using the service of the sender of the message. This might incline some users to leave the applications offered by Facebook behind altogether. A notable consumer harm could also emerge for those who use two or all three services alongside each other. As we showed elsewhere, this multi- homing usually has the aim of proactively separating different groups of social contacts or audiences from one another. Interoperability would evaporate these boundaries relied upon by consumers and would probably force users to develop a new set of coping strategies to maintain separation of social groups. 1 Kroon, P. & Arnold, R. (2018). DieBedeutung vonInteroperabilität in der digitalen Welt – NeueHeraus- forderungen in der interpersonellen Kommunikation. WIK DiskussionsbeitragNr 437. BadHonnef: WIK. 2 Survey n=1647. Usage patterns of popular Facebook services2
  • 10. 10 The long and winding road to monetisation Snapchat Shoppable reality – simply taking a picture of a pair of trousers and purchasing them directly online. Snapchat enables this in collaboration with Amazon. They receive a share of the revenue from the purchase for their intermediation. The function is so far only available in the US. Besides additional revenue, these “snaps” generate relevant insights into consumers via the metadata collected around the purchase. Ultimately, these data can help to train other algorithms, which in turn may enable new innovative functions. Conversational Commerce Companies no matter their size should be available for their customers via messaging services. Many requests can be handled by chatbots more efficiently than by human agents. This opens a potential revenue stream for OTT actors who provide these chatbots as a service. Application-to-Person (A2P) Messaging TAN authentification, boarding passes and direct marketing are only a few examples for messages for which companies have a high willingness to pay to engage directly with consumers. Currently, the majority of these messages are sent via SMS. But WhatsApp, Viber and other OTT services are starting to gain a foothold in the A2P messaging market whose size is estimated at US$11.9 billion globally.1 1 https://www.tatacommunications.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/an-A2P-messaging-monetisation-study.pdf
  • 11. 11 Email – A missed opportunity? Virtually no one thinks of email in relation to OTT services, although it is and remains the most widely used OTT service. On average, 84% of consumers in Germany use at least one email service monthly. Among them, the email services offered by the internet service providers (ISPs) are particularly popular. The largest group (34%) of respondents uses such a service which is typically offered in the bundle with the internet access. In Germany, ISPs have direct contact with a large share of consumers. Often these are the same individuals who receive telephony and SMS services from the same ISP or are even on the same contract as the internet access and email service. Evidence that traditional telecommunication providers have reaped the benefits of this customer access is scarce. Just like with mobile messaging applications, OTT providers were much more successful in combining the communication function of their e-mail services with other services and offering advertising space. 71. On average, consumers use email services Service provided by ISP / telecom operator Google Mail or Gmail Web.de Microsoft Outlook Hotmail or live Yahoo! Freenet GMX AOL 34% 31% 27% 27% 14% 12% 6% 4% Usage of various email providers in Germany (multiple answers possible) Deutsche Telekom 1&1 Vodafone O2 Netcologne EWEtel Source: Survey n=3.184. ]
  • 12. 12 Conventional voice telephony services and OTT services – calls in Germany 2016 2017 Usage intensity of OTT services Traditional chatterboxes 2018 Unlike short messages for which OTT services can still claim some usage increase, consumers in Germany still prefer landline and mobile phone calls over Skype or WhatsApp calls when they want to speak with someone else across a distance. In 2018, on average more than 40% of respondents rely solely on traditional phone calls. A comparison of the age groups shows marked differences. In particular, 45-year-olds stated that they use only landline or mobile telephones for making calls. Younger consumers (18 to 34 years old) were more open to OTT service usage. However, even they use these services alongside traditional phone calls in most cases. Despite this overall inclination towards OTT services, one in three consumers in the 18 to 34 age bracket stated that they rely solely on traditional services. The share of those who claimed to use only OTT services for their calls within Germany is still below 10 %. In summary, there is little differencebetween the usage patterns registered in 2017 and 2018. This indicates a possible saturation for OTT services. Source: Surveys; n=3.184(2018); n=2.036(2017); n=1.003 (2016).
  • 13. 13 2016 2017 For calls abroad, it is obvious that fewer consumers rely on traditional landline or mobile calls than for calls within Germany. A plausible reason for this differenceis first and foremost the relatively high cost of calls abroad. This is particularly true for calls outside of the European Union. Using OTT services can reduce the cost of calls substantially, or even to zero in some cases. Speaking to someone and possibly using additional features such as video telephony can thus be cheaper and more comfortable for consumers than using the phone. 2018 Between 2017 and 2018, the number of consumers who relied only on traditional phone calls even for calls abroad increased.”Roam Like at Home” as well as the regulation on intra-EU calls have probably had apositive effect on consumers’ intention to use traditional phone calls. Conventional voice telephony services and OTT services – calls abroad Usage intensity of OTT services Source: Surveys; n=3.184(2018); n=2.036(2017); n=1.003 (2016).
  • 14. 14 Icons: Icon 54. Source: Survey n=3.184. Who is picking up the phone? Share of non-users by age group 3 %1 5% 18-24 2 %4 6% 35-44 1 %6 6% 35-44 %11 9% 45-54 7% 1 %4 55+ Non-users of landline telephones Non-users of mobile telephone The simple traditional phone call is still the most commonly used service for telecommunication in Germany. Today, mobile phones are the dominant device to make such calls. The landline phone is becoming marginalised, especially by young consumers. Within the youngest age bracket of respondents, almost one third of consumers were no longer using a landline telephone by the end of 2018. Among the 35- to 44-year- olds, every fourth consumer does not touch a landline phone anymore. On the other hand, almost all consumers who are 55 and older (93%) use their landlines. But even among these consumers, only 14% do not use a mobile phone. Roughly 30 years after the first affordable mobile telephones were introduced, it seems as if this technology may fully substitute the telephone at home. This substitution brings with it a complete transition of the underlying technology to the internet protocol. Thus, the telephone number as such may not be as important as a unique identifier as it used to be. Against this backdrop, it might be relevant to envisage a future not only void of wires, but also telephone numbers.
  • 15. 15 Looking ahead: Time’s running out As the present research brief shows, the most significant potential for monetisation of communications services is in innovative functions and integrated services. OTT providers already have promising approaches to show. Traditional telecommunications providers on the other hand appear fixated on revenue directly associated with the communications services themselves. Next to monetisation strategies outlined here covering, for instance, adding or linking sales platforms to mobile messaging applications or using them for marketing communications, OTT providers may find integrating identification and authentication functions a promising avenue to augment their services. Already today, email addresses function as unique identifiers. Alternatively, Facebook or Google log-ins are available for consumers to register with various online services. Fingerprints or Face-ID enable us to access our smartphones or some payment services. Voice assistants can recognise their authorised users by their voices. But the accurate and secure authentication of the user is only one side of the coin. In particular, in a time when more and more OTT services rely on revenues from targeted advertising, tracking consumers accurately across various services and websites is a tremendously valuable asset. This is the only way to register the success of advertising campaigns and bill the clients accordingly. Conceptionally, that is not far off the original idea of the telephone number, which was equally essential for accurate billing. How well this means of identification still functions is evidenced by the fact that even today WhatsApp and other OTT messaging services use the telephone number for their initial registration and synchronisation of contacts. One may however question whether the public numbering space would continue to play such a central role, if telephone numbers were neither technologically necessary nor relevant for the identification of individual users, because e.g. Face-ID or a similar technology represented a superior alternative. Furthermore, there is some doubt whether national telecommunications providers will then remain a relevant actor in the direct business interaction with consumers or whether they might retreat to simply offering network capacity. Independent from the future role of telephone numbers, the pressure on telecommunications providers is increasing, not least because shareholders of large OTT players want to see further revenue and profitability growth. A2P messaging will probably be a substantial opportunity to achieve exactly this. Unsurprisingly, OTT providers engage strongly in this market: Google has RCS, Facebook offers WhatsApp Business and Viber boasts its own business messaging solution. So far, telecommunications operators’ A2P revenues and the high associated margins have remained almost unchallenged.
  • 16. 16 About this study: The online survey for this study was conducted with 3.184 consumers in November 2018 by the international market research institute YouGov. The results were weighted to draw representative conclusions for the German population (age 18+). Additionally, 20 qualitative interviews were conducted in the autumn of 2018. The complete survey results are published in WIK discussion paper No. 440 which can be ordered online at www.wik.org. About WIK: Founded in 1982, WIK (Wissenschaftliches Institut für Infrastruktur und Kommunikationsdienste) in Bad Honnef, Germany offers consultancy for public and private clients around the world. Its focus is on the telecommunication, Internet, post and energy sectors giving advice on policy, regulatory and strategic issues. More information is available at: www.wik.org. About Fresenius University of Applied Sciences: With more than 11,000 students, as well as numerous national and international locations, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest and most renowned private universities in Germany. Practical, innovative study and training content, focusing on the requirements of the labour market, with small study groups and well-known cooperation partners are just some of the many advantages of the Hochschule Fresenius. With its headquarters in Idstein near Wiesbaden, the Hochschule Fresenius can look back on almost 170 years of tradition. More information is available at www.hs-fresenius.de.