Instagram, still benefiting from India’s TikTok ban, once again became the top app in terms of downloads in the fourth quarter – TechCrunch

Instagram is benefiting from the TikTok ban in India and has now reclaimed the top spot in terms of total global downloads in the fourth quarter of 2021. According to new data released by app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, Instagram just got its best quarter since at least 2014, with app installs up 10% from Q3. The Meta-owned photo and video sharing app was also the first Meta app to take the top spot in the top downloads chart since WhatsApp held the spot in Q4 2019.

In fact, the fourth quarter of 2021 was only the second time in the past two years that TikTok was not the No. 1 app in terms of global downloads, according to the company.

The only other time TikTok fell from its top position during this time was at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Zoom beat TikTok to become the #1 app by downloads in Q2 2020.

Image credits: detection tower

Instagram’s rise to the top of the global app market (excluding games) stems from an increase in installs from Android users, in particular. For the second consecutive quarter, Meta-owned apps won the #1 and #2 spots on Google Play’s Top Apps chart by downloads worldwide. Instagram was No. 1 during the quarter, followed by Facebook. TikTok, meanwhile, was No. 3.

Image credits: detection tower

On the graph showing the most downloaded apps on Apple’s App Store, things look very different.

Here, TikTok and YouTube continue to hold the No. 1 and No. 2 positions, respectively – places they have held since the second quarter of 2020. In the fourth quarter, TikTok surpassed 50 million App Store installs for the eighth consecutive quarter, Sensor Tower said.

The rest of the top five was completed by Meta apps with WhatsApp (#3), Instagram (#4) and Facebook (#5). Meanwhile, an unusual appearance from the China National Anti-Fraud Center app took sixth place, after being promoted by a state-sponsored campaign. The rest of the list is filled with the typical selection of social, chat, and entertainment apps.

Image credits: sensor tower

As an interesting note, the quarter also saw Twitter hit the top 20 most downloaded apps on the App Store for the first time since Q1 2020, and the fourth time since early 2020 when adoption jumped by 34% quarter over quarter — growth that has mostly continued since then. (Perhaps the flurry of product development activity is finally starting to pay off?

While TikTok is the #1 app for download on the App Store and Google Play in the US, its fall from #1 globally can be at least partially attributed to India’s decision to ban the application in the country in June 2020, with others from Chinese companies, for “national security” reasons.

Sensor Tower told TechCrunch that since the ban, Instagram has seen a steady increase in its global download share from India.

Image credits: detection tower

For example, in the second quarter of 2020, about 21% of Instagram downloads came from India, and this share increased to 39% in the fourth quarter of 2021. And if you look at the totals for the full year, about 25 % of Instagram downloads came from India in 2020, which then increased to around 36% in 2021.

Instagram has been trying to combat the TikTok menace by shifting its app’s focus to video and promoting its TikTok clone, known as Reels. In 2021, the company began offering huge bonuses to creators posting on Reels — some payouts were as high as $10,000 — in a bid to regain traction in the face of growing competition.

Although Instagram won last quarter, data from Sensor Tower indicates that TikTok was still the top app by global downloads for the full year (2021) in both app stores, followed by Facebook and then Instagram.

For what it’s worth, rival firm App Annie boasts a slightly different set of rankings. It also has TikTok leading in global downloads, but sees it trailed by Instagram and then Facebook. The takeaway here is that Facebook and Instagram were likely close in terms of downloads, and the two companies’ different methodologies for download estimates saw them end up with different numbers as a result.

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