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Survey Signals Facebook Slipping in South Korea

Number of social networkers who name it as their primary platform is sliding, research shows

August 24, 2017 | Social Media

Facebook can easily claim the title of the world’s most popular social network. In June, the platform announced that it had reached the enviable milestone of having more than 2 billion monthly active users (MAUs).

But there are signs that Facebook’s dominance may not be complete in at least one market: South Korea. According to new data from DMC Media, Facebook is slipping in its role as the country’s favored social media platform.

In DMC’s survey of social media users in South Korea, 40.5% of respondents named Facebook as their primary social media platform this year, down from 64.6% in 2016.

Primary Social Media Platform Used by Social Media Users in South Korea, 2016 & 2017 (% of respondents)

But it wasn’t all bad news for the Mark Zuckerberg-helmed social network. The survey also found that Facebook-owned Instagram saw some significant gains, with 21.9% naming the photo-focused app as their social media platform of choice this year, up from just 3.8% in 2016.

South Korea-based platform KakaoStory also saw a gain in the percentage of respondents who deemed it their primary social network, as did fellow homegrown platform Band.

Other research has also reflected the prominent role played by these two natively raised social networks. In October 2016, Nielsen KoreanClick put the number of unique Android users of Band’s app in South Korea at 14.9 million. KakaoStory was next with 13.7 million, followed by Facebook (10.1 million) and Instagram (5.7 million).

eMarketer’s own figures are less conservative. We estimate that there will be 14.9 million Facebook users in South Korea this year, with that number growing to 16.1 million by 2021.

In its survey, DMC Media also found that 87.0% of respondents used a smartphone as their primary means of logging onto social media. That was up from 78.5% in 2016—which makes sense given the country’s widespread smartphone adoption; eMarketer estimates that 72.2% of South Korea’s population will be smartphone users this year.

—Rahul Chadha


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