The features of digital platforms such as messenger applications and social networks - especially the multi-sided nature of services, use of ICT and rapid innovation - have a fundamental effect on the electronic communications sector and the use of traditional electronic means of communication. The digital platforms present great benefits to customers, and as a result, a significant part of people’s private and public lives has moved online. Communication services provided by digital platforms are accessible and widely used from multiple devices and physical locations, and are seemingly free for the consumers, who 'pay' with their personal data and views of advertisement. This study explores consumer perceptions and behaviour towards digital platforms as a means for communication. The study team:
- Designed and implemented an online panel survey of European consumers - app users in 12 BEREC member and observer countries, with a representative sample in terms of age groups, gender, level of education and income.
- Conducted interviews and two focus groups to gather information on the app user understanding of the issues that this study focuses on, as well as to test and improve the survey questionnaire.
- Prepared a comprehensive analysis, building on desk research, interview and focus group data, as well as the analysis of the online survey dataset.
The study results were designed to provide BEREC and national regulatory authorities (NRAs) with knowledge on the interaction between consumers and digital platforms, including empirical insights on consumer behaviour and attitudes towards digital platforms as enablers of digital services, with an emphasis on interpersonal communication services and services providing interactive exchange of information.