According to recent statistics from mobile big data company, IGAWORKS, the number of active users on South Korea’s popular messaging app, KakaoTalk, has seen a significant decline, falling below 45 million for the first time in nearly two years. The app hit its peak in April last year with over 47 million users, but has since lost more than 2.1 million users.

Kakao/ X

In contrast, YouTube has continued to expand its user base in South Korea. The gap between KakaoTalk and YouTube, which was only around 104,980 in December last year, ballooned to over 543,152 in the past month. The decline in KakaoTalk’s user base is largely attributed to younger users diversifying their messaging app usage, turning to platforms like Instagram DM, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram.

Kakao HQ / Kakao
Kakao HQ / Kakao

On the social networking front, KakaoTalk’s market share decreased by 2.6 percentage points from the same period last year to 39.62%. Instagram, on the other hand, saw its market share increase by 4.61 percentage points to 22.77%.

YouTube’s popularity among the younger generation, particularly Generation Z—those born between 1997 and 2006—has been boosted by the launch of its short video feature, ‘Shorts’, in July 2021. As a result, YouTube’s average monthly usage time last month stood at a whopping 19.6 billion hours, 3.5 times that of KakaoTalk and 5.3 times that of Naver, another popular South Korean online platform.

As American apps increase their market share, Chinese shopping apps are also intensifying their efforts to capture the South Korean market. In terms of new installations last month, the Chinese shopping app, Temu, took the top spot with nearly 2.9 million installations, maintaining its lead for the sixth consecutive month. Instagram ranked third with around 937,135 new installs.

Among domestic apps, Samsung’s integrated financial app, ‘Monimo’, secured the fourth place with about 786,618 new installations. This tabloid-style headline captures the essence of the story, emphasizing the dramatic decline of KakaoTalk users and the rise of YouTube and Instagram.