Mobile Minute

Mobile Minute: Next Generation of Social Media Apps: Social Audio Apps

Lexi Sydow

Clubhouse has exceeded 8 million downloads worldwide since launch.

What’s Happening: 

The proliferation of mobile exploded during the ongoing pandemic, and with it came the next generation of social media apps. Users gravitated towards social media platforms to stay connected in a world that was forced into separation. Take TikTok for example, which saw explosive growth in 2020 and is expected to hit 1.2 billion monthly active users this year. Furthermore, social networking apps surpassed 9.6 billion downloads in 2020 and accounted for nearly 45% of all time spent on mobile. As traditional social media apps continue to see success, so too comes the emergence of a new trend: social audio apps. 

Why It Matters:

Over this past year, new avenues of communication and social interaction prompted the launches and popularity of new-aged social media apps. One such app, which has experienced tremendous growth over the past few months, is Clubhouse, an invitation-only audio-chat social networking service. As of February 1, it had over 3.5 million global downloads and 8.1 million by Feb 16, 2021, and has quickly garnered attention in the UK, Germany, Japan, Brazil and Turkey. Appearances from well-known figures in February, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, have helped the app to now exceed 2.6 million downloads in the US alone. 

weekly downloads clubhouse

The popularity of Clubhouse has led to a larger trend with competitive social audio apps popping up all over the world. Capitalizing on this growth, Facebook is reportedly beginning to build an audio chat product, aimed at rivaling Clubhouse. Facebook is not the only company taking advantage of this craze as Quilt, an audio social app focusing on wellness and community, just announced a $3.5 million seed round. Globally, apps such as Dizhua, Tiya and Yalla are attracting users in countries including China, the US and Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Turkey, with 174,000, 6 million and 34.5 million global downloads, respectively. Many of these apps have been around for months if not years and in the case of Yalla, the app has been around since 2016. 

In addition to this new audio trend, video also continues to revolutionize the way consumers engage on social media apps. Twitch for example, had predominantly been used for video game streaming, but has transformed into a platform for broader communication. Snapchat is another prime example of social media evolution. Their new Spotlight feature allows individuals to create user-generated videos in a dedicated section of its app, which now rivals TikTok. When looking at cross-app usage so far in 2021, 59% of Snapchat’s iPhone users in the US also now use TikTok as of Jan 2021. 

Go Deeper:

Apps like Snapchat, Twitch and TikTok will continue to see explosive growth for years to come, and others like Clubhouse are already off to a fast start. The onset of the pandemic brought about a wave of social media evolution, including the emergence of audio-based apps, and it is not going to slow down anytime soon. 

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This post is the latest in a Mobile Minute series that features App Annie’s perspective on how mobile is impacting current events and consumer trends. Check in weekly for our take on the latest news cycles and how mobile transformation is shaping industries around the world.



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February 18, 2021

Mobile Minute

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