Open-Xchange, an open source communications software provider, recently released the results of a UK consumer survey conducted by Censuswide. The survey examined attitudes towards major messaging platform providers (that is Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp), as well as wider consumer trust in the technology sector.
The geopolitical issues affecting Huawei appear to have had little effect on how UK consumers view the Chinese firm, with only 11% of respondents expressing a desire to stop using their products or services. In contrast, 33% of Britons desire to stop using the services and products developed by Facebook, with a further 14% of UK consumers also expressing a desire to stop using Instagram and Whatsapp which are Facebook-owned services.
Despite recent privacy scandals, only 11% of Britons have a desire to stop using services and products developed by Google. A further 11% of UK consumers have a desire to stop using products or services developed by Apple.
According to this survey, 58% of UK consumers do not trust the big messaging platform providers with their personal data. Meanwhile, just 5% of Britons state that they ‘completely’ trust these firms when it comes to how they handle their data, with 63% of survey respondents also answering ‘no’ when asked whether or not they believe that the big messaging platforms respect their privacy rights. Currently, only 6% of UK consumers surveyed believe that these firms ‘completely’ respect their right to privacy online.
Additionally, 73% of Britons have seen their trust in the big messaging platform providers (like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp) erode over the last 2 years, with just 3% of UK consumers ‘strongly disagreeing’ with this statement.
Open-Xchange also examined the factors that would encourage users to switch messaging services. ‘Ensuring that my privacy was respected’ was the most common answer, with 48% of respondents picking this option. Data portability (meaning the ability to transfer conversation history and contacts when switching services) and interoperability (that is the ability to contact people on different platforms) also ranked highly (25% and 29% respectively). A combined 54% of UK consumers chose these factors as reasons to switch messaging providers.
When asked what features they would like to see added to messaging apps, Britons generally opted for transparency over how their data is used over user experience. Meanwhile, 32% of respondents indicated that interoperability was preferable. A further 28% of respondents opted for improved transparency over how their data is used, whilst a further 17% opted for data portability. In contrast, only 17% of UK consumers would opt for improved user experience (UX).
When asked if they would switch to a different messaging service in the future, if a more trustworthy provider were to emerge, 87% of UK consumers said yes.
The survey was conducted by Open-Xchange in conjunction Censuswide, with 2,000 general respondents from the UK (aged 16 and above). Fieldwork was carried out between September 4 to 6, 2019.