COVID-19: The Digital Messaging Upside to a Pandemic

By Simon Nainkin, VP Product Partnerships

With the COVID-19 pandemic having hit traditional global economies creating a massive contraction in GDP growth for both established and emerging market economies, the one economy that is poised to grow as a result of the COVID-19 is the digital economy, more specifically the chat economy.

The future of the chat economy is driven by the adoption of business messaging by consumers across a variety of popular social messaging platforms. These are typically the likes of WhatsApp, Google, Apple, Telegram, and Viber, to name a few. The adoption of social, internet and messaging norms are driven by global technological trends highlighted below.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global digital economy grew with reports showing greater activity on smart devices. For example, in a recent global survey across 25 countries leading the digital economy, more than 70% of respondents reported spending more time on their mobile devices or smartphones.

Source:  Kepios, Hootsuite, We Are Social (2020) ‘Digital 2020 July Global Statshot Report’ [SlideShare] Available at: (Accessed: November 2020)

This is a clear indication that COVID-19 increased the usage of digital channels and digital activity by the mobile user population.

Chat Apps will become the new norm

According to Facebook data, more than 100 billion messages are sent every day over the Facebook ecosystem, with people sharing more photos, videos, and links on WhatsApp and Messenger than they do on social networks.

This remarkable figure resembling the scale of digital engagement on messaging platforms is only going to grow. To this end, in a commissioned study done by Facebook with Sentient Research, messaging is now gaining a measurable edge over more traditional communication methods in terms of consumer brand engagement and being the de facto channel of choice for customer care journeys.

This dramatic shift is changing the way that people want and expect to engage with businesses. The results of the study revealed that expectations for businesses have changed.


of people would choose messaging a
business over picking up the phone


of people would choose messaging a
Business over sending an email

Growth of WhatsApp Business Messaging

According to Statista (2020), 82% of the world’s population already has a smartphone. Smartphone adoption is an important factor in understanding the impact and growth of business messaging given modern messaging platforms and social media usage norms of today’s digitally connected user.

As can be seen below, in October 2020, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger were in the top 4 most popular social networks worldwide, ranked by the number of active users.

Global Monthly Active Users by Messaging Platform

Source: Statista (2020) ‘Most popular social networks worldwide as of October 2020, ranked by number of active users’ Available at: (Accessed: November 2020)

Mobile messaging is not a fad, it’s here, and it’s now – at a global, massive scale. This is where people spend most of their time, keeping in touch and reaching out. It’s replacing other forms of communication and transforming the very nature of daily communication for billions of people around the world.

Why Chat Apps are important for your business

  • WhatsApp globally is one of the most pervasive chat channels and most used social engagement platforms in the digital economy today.

  • Consumers of today and in the future prefer social media and messaging platforms as their engagement channels of choice with regards to customer care and customer purchase activities. These digital natives of tomorrow will want to be serviced online and preferably on chat.

  • The convenience of chat apps makes it safe for consumers to shop online and engage brands online.

Clickatell’s business messaging and chat commerce solutions can help your business with its digital engagement strategy for your customers.


The future of business messaging is rich, and messaging will continue to grow as a social and business norm. With smartphone adoption continuing to rise as well as chat apps usage, it only makes sense that consumers will gravitate to chat apps and engagement with brands that do not require an app download, website search, and phone call. Value your customer’s time and effort with zero friction and wow them with convenience, customer care, and service in chat.

“Messaging is one of the few things people do more than social networking.” Mark Zuckerberg

Step into the future of business messaging.

SMS and two-way channels, automation, call center integration, payments - do it all with Clickatell's Chat Commerce platform.