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

Published on: Apr 2021

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

We as indians are the biggest content consumers in the world

Published on: Dec 2020

Why content consumption is high in India ??

  • High content creation velocity – Continuous content created on OTT & short-form
  • New Content Apps launched – Last 3 to 4 years seen high # of content apps launched
  • Convenient Entertainment – Rise in need of entertainment on smartphones

What makes the battle here more interesting is that India has the highest content consumption per user. Every second person in India accesses the internet while 45% of the internet users consumes short-form. A user spends 1/5 th of his or her day on smartphones in India.

Avg Time Spent per smartphone user per day, Min (FY20)

1. Content includes Social media, messaging, Short Form, OTT Video and Audio, YouTube
2. Other Apps includes mobility, Food Delivery, Fin-tech,Ed-Tech, E-Tailing, eB2B, Classifieds, Stay and Travel

Spending a significant part of our time on shortform content

Impact of High growth of short-form – Forced market Leaders to launch short videos in 2020 (e.g. FB, YT and IG short videos)

Our research shows that short-form content is the fastest growing content category. This can be easily inferred from the chart above which shows that there has been an increase in 9x monthly active users in less than five years particularly in the short-form category.

40% of which, in the current times is spent on Indian apps

This market which was initially created by Bytedance-owned TikTok, saw a massive void after the app’s ban in June. 40% of the market is now owned by Indian apps.

Total Time Spent per month, Short-form, Bn Mins

With Josh being in the lead

But, in the increasingly competitive market, Dailyhunt’s Josh came out as a clear winner followed by InMobi’s Roposo then Times-Internet-owned MXTakatak. With Josh’s ability to decode user’s preferences and offer quality content through its wide creator base and higher reach to creators.

Overall Experience benchmark

Experience Score, by Parameters, Scale 1 to 100, N = 829, 25 devices

Note: 1. Based on parameter weights of 33% each


  • 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.