Analysis Group Team Issues Report Examining Global and Country-Level Economic Impacts of WhatsApp

February 27, 2017

An Analysis Group team led by Vice President Greg Rafert studied the global economic activity associated with the use of the communication application WhatsApp, with a particular focus on four countries with significant WhatsApp usage: Brazil, India, Germany, and Spain. The Analysis Group team employed complementary methods to estimate WhatsApp's economic contributions. First, focus groups and representative surveys of consumers and employees or owners of small and medium-sized businesses were conducted in Brazil, India, Germany, and Spain, allowing the team to estimate the share of all consumer spending that was in any way touched by or associated with WhatsApp, as well as mechanisms through which WhatsApp appears to affect economic and social outcomes. Second, econometric analyses were used to estimate the economic activity (measured as GDP) that may be due to WhatsApp's usage. The Analysis Group team's results suggest that a five percentage point increase in WhatsApp penetration is associated with a global increase in GDP of $22.9 billion USD (PPP 2015 constant dollars). 

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