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Chinese app ban leads to higher uptake of Facebook, Instagram: Kantar

The ban came into effect from 29 June

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KOLKATA: In the wake of the government of India banning 59 popular Chinese Apps, Kantar, has released insights on the impact of this ban on consumers’ digital behaviour. The ban came into effect from 29 June 2020. 

The app-ban impacted platforms with a sizeable following. Given that users were spending hours every week across these platforms, one would have expected to see a dip in the overall time spent online once these platforms were no longer accessible. However, the average time-spent dropped only marginally (-6 per cent), indicating that consumers were switching over to rival platforms much faster than anticipated. 

Instagram and Facebook saw an immediate increase in engagement. Avg. Time/Day on Instagram more than doubled (2.3X), and Facebook too saw a significant 35 per cent jump in time-spent on the platform with the bulk of this additional engagement being driven by smaller town consumers. Among the youth audience aged below 24 yrs, average time/day on Instagram grew by 35 per cent.

Sharechat, India’s very own video sharing platform which focuses content around regional languages also witnessed a 2.5X increase in time spent. This has primarily been driven by the younger faction of internet audience (aged below 24 yrs). It has more than tripled (3.4X) its average time/day on Sharechat since the ban came into effect.

The most impressive gain was seen on YouTube. Already the most popular digital video platform in the country, it saw a further 25 per cent increase in time-spent. Other players also enjoyed their fair share of the rise in engagement levels. Hotstar, India’s leading video OTT player saw its daily time spent grow by over 25 per cent. Time spent in the video OTT space grew by 40 per cent overall once the ban was imposed.

Summarising the learnings, Kantar vice president (Insights) Akhil Almeida said, “Although consumers lost access to some of their favourite short-form video sharing apps, the bulk of consumers switched over to alternate platforms in an almost seamless manner. We saw that overall time-spent online was not as strongly impacted as one might have expected, given the size and scale of the affected platforms.” 

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