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Instagram overtakes TikTok as world’s most downloaded app

Instagram is now the top downloaded app globally, surpassing TikTok with help from its Reels feature.
Introduced in 2020, Reels is a direct response to the short video service that TikTok popularized, allowing Instagram to regain its competitive edge.

Despite the influence of celebrities and influencers since its 2010 launch, Instagram grappled with TikTok's rise in the short video space. In 2023, Instagram downloads surged by 20% to 767 million, while TikTok's growth was a modest 4%, reaching 733 million. TikTok had led in downloads from 2018 to 2022.

Sensor Tower's research suggests Instagram's resurgence stems from Reels, alongside other services like photo-sharing and its ephemeral Stories feature, which appears to take inspiration from Snapchat.

Digital marketing expert Farhad Divecha credits Instagram’s success to its wider demographic appeal, in contrast to the perception that TikTok primarily caters to a younger audience.

Instagram boasts nearly 1.5 billion monthly active users, outstripping TikTok's 1.1 billion, but TikTok users engage more deeply, spending an average of 95 minutes daily on the app versus Instagram's 62 minutes. Meta's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, acknowledges TikTok as a formidable rival and has reportedly funded efforts to undermine it.

Besides commercial rivalry, TikTok is confronting political challenges in the US due to its Chinese ownership by ByteDance, raising data privacy worries. US legislators are considering forcing a sale of TikTok or potentially banning it, amidst concerns over Chinese governmental access to user data, allegations which TikTok has consistently refuted.

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