Livestreaming has certainly grown in popularity during the pandemic and a report by App Annie titled "The Evolution of Social Media report" found that US$78 billion is expected to be spent in social apps through 2025. Consumers are expected to spend US$6.78 billion via social apps this year, rising to US$17.7 billion in annual spend in 2025, a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29%.
The increase in consumer spend has been propelled by livestreaming features such as real-time chats, multi-guest rooms and virtual "gifting" have paved the way for creators to boost engagement within social apps. According to the report, livestreaming apps increased market share of consumer spend by 24 percentage points from 2018, forming 76.24% of consumer spend now compared to chat apps (18.81%) and photo and video apps (4.95%). Meanwhile, social apps that offer livestreaming as a prominent feature accounted for US$3 of every US$4 spent in top 25 social apps in the first half of this year.
At the same time, the total time spent on the top five social apps with an emphasis on livestreaming are predicted to surpass half a trillion hours on Android phones alone, outside of China this year. According to App Annie, this is a three-year CAGR of 25% compared to 15% for chat as well as photo and video apps.
The US, Japan and China accounted for 60% of consumer spend in social apps during the first half of the year. The US, in particular, emerged as the top market for consumer spend in social apps, with a spend of 1.7 times more than Japan, which formed the next largest market. The US also represented 30% of total market fuelled by spend in support of content creators and live streamers. Globally, YouTube emerged as the top app with the most consumer spend followed by TikTok, Disney+, Tencent Video, Bigo Live, Twitch, HBO Max, iQIYI, Netflix and QQ Music.
According to App Annie, consumers are willing to pay content creators instead of having professionally produced content due to a shift towards authentic experiences. YouTube and TikTok both surpassed Disney+, which App Annie said is proof that consumers are "opening their wallets to the creator economy at a level [the industry] has never seen before". At the same time, TikTok, Twitch and Bigo live all rank among the top 10 apps by consumer spend, showcasing the rise in gifting.
Meanwhile, the number of social app downloads in Asia in the first half of the year was at 60%, forming the largest region globally. Within Asia, India emerged the top market with five times more downloads than other countries including the US, Indonesia, Brazil, China and Russia. TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram were the top five most downloaded apps globally earlier this year.
Short-video, authentic content and livestreaming are key aspects to fostering deeper engagement with consumers and livestreaming, App Annie said, is driving growth in time spent. The number of time spent in social apps in India, for example, grew exponentially 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 became the sixth largest market for time spent in social media apps on Android phones, edging out Mexico. YouTube and Facebook emerged as the top two apps where consumers spend their most time on, followed by WhatsApp, Instagram, and TikTok. TikTok, in particular, has overturned the streaming and social landscape, with an average monthly time per user surpassing YouTube in the US and UK. The app is also making significant strides in South Korea where YouTube currently leads by 2.5 times.
Lexi Sydow, App Annie's head of marketing insights, said livestreaming is the new frontier of social media. While heavyweight social media apps continue to command a sizeable portion of the market, new trends such as video, livestreaming and the creator economy are set to change the industry forever, Sydow said.
"Livestreaming is the new social language that facilitates real connections and authentic experiences with the community. We see livestreaming fuelling the boom in the social media space with the potential for tremendous growth in the next five years," she added.
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