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Twitter’s user base will increase 24.4% in 2014, according to eMarketer’s first-ever forecast of Twitter users worldwide. The social media property’s user growth will continue with double-digit gains through 2018, eMarketer estimates, and there are significant opportunities for Twitter to increase its audience across emerging markets.
From a regional standpoint, eMarketer estimates that the number of Twitter users in Asia-Pacific has already eclipsed those in North America and Western Europe by a wide margin—even considering that our figures exclude China due to the country’s ban on the site. In 2014, the Asia-Pacific region will account for 32.8% of all Twitter users, compared with 23.7% in North America, eMarketer estimates, and by 2018, Asia-Pacific will more than double North America’s share, breaking the 40% mark in terms of worldwide market share. If China is on the Twitter map by that point, that share is likely to be significantly higher. In 2018, we project, Twitter will grow 10.7% to reach nearly 400 million users globally.
eMarketer’s latest forecast dissects Twitter’s total users by region and country based on an analysis of approximately 400 data points from more than 90 sources, including Twitter company releases, survey and traffic data from research firms and regulatory agencies, historical trends, internet and mobile adoption trends, and country-specific demographic and socioeconomic factors.
eMarketer’s estimates identify how many individual users log in or access Twitter each month within the calendar year across the world. Our figures differ from Twitter’s reported figure of 255 million monthly active users in 2013 because we rely heavily on consumer survey data to weed out business accounts, multiple accounts for individual users and other sources of potential double-counting.
Growth for Twitter is heavily weighted in emerging markets. India and Indonesia will see the most consistent growth patterns throughout our forecast period, both experiencing increases well above 50% this year. Large growth rates frequently reflect a small installed base, but not in the cases of these two countries: India and Indonesia will rise to have the third- and fourth-largest Twitter populations in the world in 2014, with 18.1 million and 15.3 million users, respectively—both surpassing the UK for the first time this year for the number of users. With a sizeable internet user population, the growth potential in each of these countries remains significant for the foreseeable future.
Twitter user growth in the US is maturing, and by 2015, eMarketer estimates that the social network’s gains in the country will taper off into single digits. Twitter’s US user base gets outsize—but appropriate—attention because it accounted for nearly three-quarters of Twitter’s total ad revenues in 2013, according to company reports. The US will remain the single largest country in terms of the number of individual Twitter users throughout our forecast, but currently, it still represents just over 20% of all Twitter users worldwide. That market share will drop over the years, leaving room for Twitter to grow its non-US ad revenues by leveraging an expanding user base in emerging markets.
eMarketer bases all of its forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.
In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all of its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.
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