Two-thirds of Twitter use to hail from Asia-Pacific by 2018 - report

1st Jun 2014

Despite its widespread ban in mainland China, new research from eMarketer predicts that over 40% of Twitter’s user base will be located in the Asia-Pacific region by 2018.

The area already boasts around 30% of the social network’s global userbase, but with certain countries such as India and Indonesia still predicting vast growth in coming months and years, this figure is expected to rise sharply.

If China were to remove its ban on people using the San Francisco-based network, the research suggests regional numbers could increase to well over half of overall global use by 2018.

Deborah Aho-Williamson, an analyst at E-Marketer, told the Financial Times that, up until now, little regard has been given to Twitter’s viability within the APAC region, but that the forecast may wake brands up to the potential outside of Western audiences:

“Twitter’s international opportunity is something that is really just starting to be explored,” she said. “India, Indonesia and Japan are all becoming much more prominent, much more rapidly than the US and the UK.”

She added that the threat of other more prominent chat apps in the region such as WeChat, Line and KakaoTalk were likely to lessen because of their various limitations, and that Twitter’s use as a news source was something that was yet to be fully explored in the APAC region as opposed to other more mature markets:

“I think [Twitter] is global in nature, it appeals to people who want to have that global perspective, whereas WeChat feels much smaller because it is more about chatting with your friends as opposed to understanding world affairs,” she told the FT.

eMarketer’s forecast is based on analysis from approximately 400 data points attached to Twitter, including survey and traffic data from research firms, mobile adoption trends, country-specific demographics and historical trends.

Alongside location-based data, eMarketer predicts that Twitter’s overall user base will grow more than 10% by 2018, to reach nearly 400 million users worldwide.

Despite this positive outlook, it still found that 2013’s ‘monthly active user numbers’ were far lower than Twitter itself had stated at the end of last year; at 183m as opposed to 241m. This recalculation is the result of eMarketer processing consumer survey data to “weed out business accounts, multiple accounts for individual users and other sources of potential double-counting.”

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