From Instant Messaging to App Ecosystem: A Consumer Perspecive

Marie Sylvie Juliette Giordanengo

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The app ecosystem WeChat is the first of its kind, emerging from a basic Instant Messaging (IM) app. It has rapidly and consequently diversified and arguably modified the Chinese app environment. WeChat offers many functionalities that go beyond its original communication and messaging purpose. Contrary to this, the two U.S. American IM apps WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger that are widely used in Europe remain mostly faithful to their original purpose.
The apparent difference in the smartphone app environment between China and Europe has been the inspiration to this thesis. The first objective of this project was the identification of differences in perception, usage and level of satisfaction of the three IM apps. Further, it was examined if those variations result from cultural differences and if consumers’ exposure to WeChat has an influence on their perceptions regarding WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The second objective of this thesis was to observe if the readiness to adopt and use an app ecosystem is partially driven by culture.
A mixed methods approach was applied by conducting an online survey, a focus group and two in-depth interviews. Those methods enabled the researcher to observe contrasting perceptions, usage behaviours and levels of satisfaction for the three IM apps.
This research project revealed that the exposure to WeChat as well as cultural differences have positive and negative influences on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger users’ perceptions and satisfaction of the app. This impact was notably shown in WeChat’s users being less satisfied with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger whereas the majority of non-WeChat users appeared to be “entirely satisfied” or “satisfied” with those apps. Besides, it was also found that the cultural background of consumers, most importantly trust appears to impact the readiness to use and adopt a new technology such as an app ecosystem.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages132