Would you be willing to forgo WhatsApp for a month for 500 Euros?

Intuitively, I would have claimed that almost everyone would give up WhatsApp for a month for this amount.

A recent study of a Dutch university with 426 participants proves the opposite. (Brynjolfsson, Erik and Collis, Avinash and Diewert, W. Erwin and Eggers, Felix and Fox, Kevin J., GDP-B: Accounting for the Value of New and Free Goods in the Digital Economy (2019) https://ssrn.com/abstract=3356697)

The researchers have found that the median value for the willingness to forgo WhatsApp for one month is 535.73 Euros. This means that more than half of the participants would not have waived the app for one month for 500 Euros.

The participants made further interesting statements during the study:

“WhatApp is the only communication tool I use to contact my friends here. Without it, I can do nothing.” or “WhatsApp is crucial. I use the app every hour of the day to keep in touch with friends and family but also to discuss group projects or things about my work. I really need to keep access to this app. There is also not a very suitable alternative.”

WhatsApp thus is well ahead in the study in terms of the amount of compensation waived for one month of abandonment:

Service Median monthly willingness-to-accept (WTA) price
WhatsApp €535.73
Facebook €96.80
Maps (Google, Apple etc.) €59.16
Instagram €6.79
Snapchat €2.17  
LinkedIn €1.52
Skype €0.18

WhatsApp seems to unite the value-enhancing properties of digital business models (https://data-valuation.com/the-effects-that-shape-the-value-of-data) like hardly any other service.

In future studies, it would be instructive to explore these individual apps more deeply and to examine the sources of these assessments.

But considering that more than 1.5 billion people use WhatsApp every month (https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/285230/umfrage/aktive-nutzer-von-whatsapp-weltweit/), the $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook in 2014 already seems like the bargain of the century.

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