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Indians spent 5.5 billion hours on TikTok: App Annie

In February 2019, TikTok started monetizing its platform in India by opening it for advertisers.

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Chinese internet giant ByteDance’s flagship short video app TikTok saw an increase of a whopping 500% in time spent by its users in India.

Indians spent 5.5 billion hours on the app in 2019 compared to around 900 million hours in 2018, according to data collated by mobile and data analytics firm App Annie on Android users in India.

The world’s second-most populous country with about 200 million active users, became the largest market for TikTok outside China. A local media Economic Times (ET) citing App Annie report said Indians spent 25.5 billion hours on Facebook last year, a 15% spike from 2018. Its monthly active users (MAU) also increased by 15% to 224 million. In comparison, Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app owned by the American social media giant, saw its MAUs grow by 40% to 137 million in India.

Lexi Sydow, senior market insights manager, App Annie, said, “the time spent on Tiktok in India” in December 2019 “was more than the next 11 countries combined.”

“It is not only that there are more people engaging, but there is deeper engagement per person,” the report quoted Sydow. “What works for TikTok is that it is blurring the line between a social network and entertainment.”

Globally, Tik Tok’s MAUs rose 70% to 717 million, driven by its user growth in China and India.

The app, which lets users create and share short video apps of approximately 15 seconds, entered India in 2017. Within two years, it has managed to challenge Facebook, which has traditionally had one of the largest shares of users’ minds and time that has been in the country since 2006.

In November 2018, as per media reports, TikTok became the third most downloaded non-gaming app after WhatsApp and Facebook, crossing 1.5 downloads both on Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

Citing data from Sensor Tower, the ET report said the TikTok app was downloaded 323 million times across both Apple’s App Store and Android devices in India in 2019, more than double of Facebook app downloads which was  156 million.

Early last year, TikTok started monetizing its platform in the South Asian nation by opening it for advertisers, flaunting millions of influencers it has managed to create in a short span of time. As per the local media Entrackr, TikTok earned USD 3.2 million to USD 3.5 million (INR 23 -25 crore) for the December 2019 quarter and is targeting USD 14 million (INR 100 crore) for the third quarter this year.

Facebook’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also realized the threat TikTok has come to possess in its one of the largest markets. Earlier this month, Entrackr reported, citing sources, that Facebook is planning to launch its short-video sharing app Lasso in India by May to take on TikTok.

According to a TechCrunch report, in an internal question and answer session, Zuckerberg said TikTok is “starting to do well in the US, especially with young folks. It’s growing really quickly in India. I think it’s past Instagram now in India in terms of scale.”

“It’s a very interesting phenomenon,” he said. “It is growing, but they’re spending a huge amount of money promoting it. What we’ve found is that their retention is actually not that strong after they stop advertising. So this space is still fairly nascent, and there’s time for us to kind of figure out what we want to do here.”