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BENGALURU : ndia led the world in the number of downloads of social media apps in the first half of 2021, according to a new report by App Annie, a global provider of mobile data and analytics.

Globally, Asia was the largest region for downloads of social media apps during this period, accounting for 60% of the market.

“India is the top market by a factor of 5x, surpassing the US in 2018. US, Indonesia, Brazil and China follow—a mix of mature and emerging markets," the report said.

Social media apps are a global craze with 74 billion of them downloaded till date, according to the report. Of these, 4.7 billion were downloaded in the first half of this year alone.

A total of $22.2 billion has been spent on social media apps till date, of which $3.2 billion was spent in the first half of this year—up 50% over last year. The US, Japan and China accounted for 60% of this spending in this period.

The US, which emerged as the No. 1 market for consumer spending on social media apps, saw 1.7 times the spend of the next largest market and represented 30% of the total market—fuelled by spends in support of content creators and live streamers.

Globally, social media apps commanded 740 billion hours in the first half of 2021. The Asia-Pacific region led in the time spent on social apps with a 60% share.

In India, the time spent on such apps has boomed over the past three-and-a-half years, shrinking the gap between India and China from 115% in 2018 to 7% in the first half of 2021. Pakistan surpassed Mexico in 2020 to become the sixth largest market for time spent on social media apps on Android phones.

The App Annie report revealed that consumers have shifted to a video-first social experience that favours content creators.

While Facebook and WhatsApp were still among the most downloaded apps globally in H12021, video-first players, particularly those with short-form videos and live streaming, have risen dramatically up the rankings.

TikTok holds the No. 1 spot by downloads, while Snapchat and MX TakaTak have moved into the top 10.

Consumers are shifting to a model of paying for content creators instead of professionally produced content, indicating a shift towards authentic experiences.

“YouTube and TikTok outrank the leading video-streaming app Disney+, showing that consumers are opening their wallets to the creator economy at a level we have never seen before—a positive sign for the industry," the report said.

In terms of time spent, while YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp dominated the charts, TikTok has “settled comfortably" at No. 6 in H12021, from being outside the top 10 in 2019.

“YouTube remains the leader in the streaming, social and photo and video space due to both depth and breadth of engagement, but the average time spent per user in TikTok has surpassed YouTube in key markets like the US and UK and could shake up the rankings in the years to come," the report said.

Snapchat’s overseas downloads have grown 45% in the past 12 months compared with the previous two years. Asia, Latin America and the Middle East have experienced a strong uptake in downloads in recent months.

The report revealed that Snapchat downloads in India were up 190% year-on-year for the 12 months ending June. Pakistan, Brazil and Mexico were among the top five markets for downloads during this time.

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