After the Indian Government, in a bid to take a stance against China, banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps, the popular short-form video app lost all its Indian users to Instagram and homegrown alternatives such as Mitron, Roposo, Chingari and Sharechat in just 48 hours!
Even though the ‘Made-In-India’ alternatives are built to emulate all the features that TikTok came with, an early report suggests that they are still a long way behind from replicating TikTok’s success when it came to user-engagement levels.
According to the data obtained by KalaGato, a research firm, the Indian TikTok alternatives are nowhere close when it comes to being able to engage their newly acquired users in the same way TikTok used to do.
The report highlights that Indicators of engagement such as app open rates and average session time are comparatively very low for Sharechat, Roposo, Chingari and Mitron when compared to that of TikTok.
Before the ban wherein TikTok still had its 200 million-strong Indian user base, the app’s daily session time, i.e the total time spent by a user in a period of 24 hours happened to hover somewhere between 45 to 50 minutes per day. Also, the number of times a user opened the app daily stood anywhere between 9 to 12 times. Currently, after the ban which was initiated on June 29th, Tiktok’s open rates trail between 2 to 3 times a day only.
With just 4.4 times open rate, as of July 4th, Chingari and Mitron are yet to catch up with TikTok. Sharechat and Roposo, however, have been recording a higher open rate of 8.7 and 6.0 respectively for the same time period.
As per Kalagato’s data, it has also been discovered that Sharechat commands a daily session time of 22.1 minutes per user while Roposo has recorded daily session time of 14.5 minutes per user. Mitro has grabbed the third spot by recording a session time of 7.7 minutes daily per user while Chingari has been struggling with only 5.3 minutes total session time.
When the access to TikTok app got restricted in various app stores and it stopped working on all smartphones in India, its video app market share in terms of unique user base dropped from 32.2% on June 29 to a meagre 10.5% on July 01. Chingari, as of July 4th, commands a little over 4% of unique users whereas and Mitro has 3% of the same out of the five apps in this space. This shows that Indian TikTok users and content creators, despite having so many lucrative offerings in front of them still haven’t found a platform that could match up to the mammoth Chinese-origin app.
Here, it needs to be noted that one of the biggest reasons for TikTok’s high engagement rate than its competitors has been its heavy reliance on influencer and brand marketing campaigns in India. Everyone from celebrities, models, and movie actors, to giant brands such as Zomato, Lay’s, and Pepsi tied up with TikTok to generate billions of views and impressions. That is also the reason how ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok was able to rake in a sizeable share of profit worth Rs 3.4 crore and total revenue of Rs 43.7 crores from its operation in India during FY19.
Aman Kumar, Chief Business Officer – KalaGato, believes that the loyal users who had to unwillingly leave TikTok and settle for the Indian clones of the same will definitely return to the former if the ban is ever lifted. But until then, there is no doubt that the Indian TikTok alternatives will fight tooth and nail to retain their newly acquired users. For instance, Mitron after observing a surge in its user base post the TikTok ban went on to quickly secure seed funding worth Rs 2 crore in order to scale its platform.
However, among all alternatives, Instagram Reels is believed to make the most of the situation, given to unrestricted access to marketing dollars that will play the most important role in attracting the TikTok influencers, TikTok celebrities and TikTok Stars – all crowd pullers. Facebook-owned Instagram recently launched its TikTok alike as a feature in the native Instagram app itself in India and few other countries.
By the engagement data, one thing is certain that the influence of TikTok on its users is unmatched. All the early buzz, traction and excitement created by homegrown apps may short-lived as none of these homegrown apps is able to earn users’ loyalty. As TikTok is leaving no stone unturned, including shifting base from China to other country, users will take no time to jump back the moment the ban on TikTok is lifted. Apparently, investors as well are well aware of the trend and are not too excited and aggressive to bet on TikTok alternatives.
Thus, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the Made-In-India alternatives of the Chinese app. Let us know what is your take on the above matter in our comment section below.