2021 is shaping up to be a great year for messaging app Telegram. The platform saw the number of its downloads hit the roof in the last couple of months, largely due to users shifting to other messaging apps in light of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.

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Telegram leads global non-gaming app downloads

Latest data released by app analytics firm Sensor Tower revealed that Telegram is the most downloaded non-gaming application worldwide for January 2021 with more than 63 million installs—about 3.8 times more than its downloads in the same month a year ago. India tops the countries with the largest number of Telegram installs at 24 percent, followed by Indonesia at 10 percent.

This is an achievement for Telegram, which ranked ninth in terms of downloads on Google Play in December 2020.

“Telegram has attained the top position in the overall downloads (non-game) on Google Play Store moving from ninth position in the previous month, December 2020. The social messenger has also entered the list of top 10 most downloaded (non-game) apps on App Store, directly gaining the fourth position,” according to the Sensor Tower report.

Following on the heels of Telegram are TikTok, Signal and Facebook, while WhatsApp rounds up the top 10 in terms of overall downloads.

The surge in downloads isn’t surprising—many users after all have started switching to other messaging services after WhatsApp rolled out its updated privacy policy, which will come into effect from May 15. Users who refuse the new privacy terms will still be able to use the Facebook-owned service for 120 days, albeit on a limited basis. The official WhatsApp FAQ page states, “For a short time, you’ll be able to receive calls and notifications, but won’t be able to read or send messages from the app.”

Companies bank on apps like Telegram too

Digital messaging services like Telegram provide a huge boon not just for everyday consumers, but for companies as well. Companies like ENV Media, which banks on digital innovation as part of its engagement in lead generation and performance marketing within the iGaming industry primarily in the India market, operates several brands in the Indian market, including SevenJackpots, 10cric, and Guide2Gambling, and provides a network of marketing partners to help gambling websites promote their services and products.

CEO Mattias Bergehed recently noted how his firm has been using messaging platform Telegram as part of its strategy in India. In a SBC Digital – India panel, Bergehed explained, “So during IPL, for example, which would say, incredible event in terms of impressions and numbers I have never seen anything like it.”

“And I’ve been doing this in the European markets for many, many years so you can’t even compare it with across the screen there the main thing to drive engagement to the same device that the customers are coming back and we do it through Telegram.”

With India’s market largely dominated by young mobile users, this is also a factor in the country’s drive towards gaming adoption and penetration. As the ENV Media research noted, “Thus, as long as potential players have a stable internet connection (mostly 4G in India’s case), they are able to enjoy casino games, online betting and many pay-per-play types of games. And with computers not always a viable option for most, a smartphone remains the preferred device to access i-gaming platforms and Apps.”


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