Live-streaming platform Twitch has risen to the top spot in the live-streaming app market, boosted by a doubling in monthly visits since the pandemic. But it’s not immune to a slowdown in user numbers affecting the entire industry amid growing competition now that COVID has peaked.
The live-streaming service, which has 31 million average daily users, started by owning games but expanded into streams about travel, cooking and art content. According to Sensor Tower, it now dominates 73% of the average daily user market share globally.
But after huge growth in the first year of the pandemic, the platform’s user base has started to plateau in recent months. The platform peaked with monthly visits in January at over 1.2 billion, but has been steadily declining to around 1.1 billion monthly visits from February to April. It rose again to 1.2 billion in May, but experts say Twitch’s growth will start to slow.
“Recent data from Similarweb shows that the platform is experiencing a deceleration or stagnation in growth as it matures, facing a world that is returning to normal and the looming threat from its strongest competitor – Youtube “, Sneha Pandey, chief information officer of Similarweb, told TheWrap.
Like many digital services, Twitch has seen a surge in traffic during the pandemic as travel and in-person activities have come to a halt. From May 2019 to May 2022, Similarweb estimates that the platform nearly doubled monthly visits, which increased by 93% since the onset of COVID. This year, the service racked up more than 6 billion total visits in May, according to Similarweb. Twitch was originally launched in 2011 as a spin-off from streaming platform Justin.tv and was later acquired by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million.
Among the top 10 live streaming apps, Twitch has held that top spot since 2020, while smaller competitors Bigo Live, Uplive and Tango are slowly establishing themselves in local markets like India.
“Since its inception, Twitch has quickly dominated the video game live streaming market by amassing a huge base of creators and viewers in the online gaming community,” Pandey said.
However, Twitch hasn’t been immune to a downturn in activity lately, much like other platforms that have seen increased activity during COVID. Recent analysis by Similarweb shows that the platform is experiencing some stagnation as it matures in an economy that is returning to previous levels. Inevitably, businesses will begin to see a correction in the digital and streaming sectors as accelerated growth wanes.
“Despite the slowdown, Twitch continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate than the previous year. On average, 13% of its audience includes new users,” Pandey added.
Another reason why Twitch might face a slowdown is the increased competition in the market from other platforms that have integrated live streaming features. YouTube remains one of Twitch’s biggest rivals in the video business, while TikTok and Instagram have also invested more in content creation programs and live streaming capabilities.
“While Twitch is likely to remain the best live-streaming platform in Western markets, even amid challenges from YouTube and Facebook, elsewhere Twitch faces increasing competition from platforms that are better optimized or localized for their markets. respective, mobile-focused,” Dennis Yeh, information analyst at Sensor Tower, said.
As the fight for content creators continues, the success of these platforms could come down to the diversity and monetization of user-generated content. Instead of heavily produced videos with professional quality, users increasingly prefer authentic content that they might see on their social media feeds, explained Flynn Zaiger, CEO of digital marketing agency Online Optimism.
“Twitch streaming still feels like old fashioned social media, with graphics cards, light rings and LEDs worth thousands of dollars. [performance] shows,” Zaiger said. “People using TikTok’s live-streaming features are much more attenuated [than Twitch streams]and if consumer attitudes continue to favor these more IRL-like platforms, you could see Twitch’s viewership decline.
Representatives for Twitch did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.