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Did Snapchat just lose its chance of being part of the burgeoning digital sector in India?

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Did Snapchat just lose its chance of being part of the burgeoning digital sector in India?

Snapchat, the next-big-thing in social media after Facebook and Instagram, has gotten itself into trouble after the alleged comment by CEO Evan Spiegel who said that the ‘app is for rich people’ and hence, they don’t want to expand to poor countries such as India and Spain.

This comment has outraged users in India resulting in them not only uninstalling the app but also giving it a single-star rating. On the Apple app store, the rating has plummeted from a previous 4 to 4.5 stars to a low 1 star with the number of users going down to approximately 11,735.

Snapchat users on Android are about 1,14,92,922 with a 4 star but this has now been followed by heavy negative comments in the review section with most users talking about Spiegel’s comment and giving the app a single star rating.

In a blooming market such as India where the digital market is developing rapidly and is getting recognized as an important entity in the marketing and advertising sector, did Snapchat just lose its chance of being part of the burgeoning India market?

Here’s what experts had to say:

While commenting on what the Snapchat CEO has allegedly said, Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO of Mirum, said, “As a CEO of a product that runs across the world, which has just IPO-ed, he could certainly be more politically correct. His (Spiegel) brand and the brands from other developed countries are falling over each other to get into India and tap into this growing, young, large market, with increasing levels of disposable income. Not to speak of the political class that has been playing friends and buddies with India for a while now. He should have known better than to be dismissive like this.”

“First, we don't know the context of this comment as it's not made directly on an official platform. It's mentioned in a lawsuit. But if he has indeed made those comments, it's unfortunate. India is a big country for any platform to ignore. The digital growth has just started, compared to lot of other markets that are inching towards saturation,” said Samir Asher, Co-founder and COO of Tonic Media.

“Let us look at the statistics. The most recent source of data points to 2016. It shows India has 4 million users with a target group below 30 years of age. That is a very small piece of the pie from a country that has the second largest smartphone penetration in the world. However, given the nature of the app and how popular it is among its target group, Snapchat has always had great marketing potential in India,” said Mitchelle Carvalho, Co-founder and CEO, CogMat.

“Brands in the Lifestyle and Sports verticals can and have used Snapchat intermittently. However, lack of data or sentiment gathering has always been a struggle. Snapchat as late as a year back was still an attractive option for marketers since it allowed immersive experiences. However, paid branding activities as of last year were still not available in India, thereby dissuading relevant brands from looking at Snapchat. Also with Instagram and Facebook bringing about similar Snapchat-like features and having the advantage of an active, established and larger user base makes them a natural favourite for similar digital marketing activities,” Carvalho added.

After this news broke out on the internet, other social media sites have a new set of hashtags and memes that are trending namely, #uninstallsnapchat and #boycottsnapchat.

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