With the genesis of the Internet, numerous trends have emerged over the years. Short-form video content has been one of the most popular genres in content over the last few years. It gained popularity through Chinese short-video app TikTok. Although it garnered criticism from many segments, it undoubtedly remained one of the most popular apps. But, things changed after the app was banned last June. In a very short span of time, domestic players filled the market with clone and similar apps. However, the market was not easy to capture. Here are a few insights on how the ecosystem has evolved in the last few months and how the domestic players captured the market.

1. India’s shortform video apps has seen V-shaped recovery; bringing back the userbase to nearly 100% of TikTok user base levels

Increase in DAUs and Time Spent

1. Daily unique active users is back to 97% of Jun 2020 (before TikTok ban) driven by aggressive marketing and user acquisition by platforms

2. Time spent on short-form video has reached 55% of June 2020 which indicates that Indian platforms are still maturing and there is a strong market opportunity

In less than a year, the shortform apps have made a V-shaped recovery through which Indian players have brought back nearly 100% of the TikTok user base. The time spent on these apps have so far reached 55% of June 2020 that is before the TikTok ban. This evidently shows that the domestics players have more scope to grow.

2. These apps have added 30-35% new users from longtail cities

Key Highlights-
1. Indian apps have retained 65-70% of the Tiktok era users driven by acquisiton of influencers on these platforms as well as efforts to provide similar/ better product experience for creators and users

2. 30-35% of users on short-form video have been acquired

3. The new users getting on-boarded have a higher share of tier-2+ users

While these apps have retailed 65-70% of the TikTok era users, they have onboarded around 30-35% new users over the past year. This has been a result of increased supplier push and aggressive marketing by platforms. This trend is mostly driven by stronger focus of platforms on vernacular content and ‘Bharat’ positioning. Overall, 60-62% of the shortform users are from Tier 2+ cities.

3. A good 75% of the users are showing sticky behavior

75% current shortform video users will likely stick to these domestic apps and are unlikely to switch back to Chinese apps even if the ban was lifted.

This evidently shows the user satisfaction and loyalty towards the apps.

4. With influencers making upto USD $40k on these platforms

Earning potential of content creators on short form apps

Note(s ): 1. Inclusive of all sources including brand deals

With strong network effects, the user base is growing fast, fuelling ecosystem growth, leading to a large monetization potential for both influencers and platforms.

Elite influencers with more than 10 million followers have a monthly earning of around $20,000-40,000. Influencers with 1 million followers can earn upto $1000-2.500 while budding creators with less than 1 million followers can earn $40-200.

5. And these four players are leading the charge

Although in a very short span of time, these players have been able to design the product, execute their plans and market it aggressively showing the maturity of the ecosystem, but the players still have to reach the global and cross sector benchmarks on engagement and retention- which will further grow the monetization potential for the entire ecosystem.


  • Mohit is an expert in Strategy, Performance Enhancement, Digital Services, M&A, and Due Diligence. He has 25 years of experience in management consulting, financial services, start-ups, and digital transformation.