As Twitter struggles to add new users as quickly as it used to, researcher eMarketer is adding an ominous prediction to the mix: Percentage growth in the U.S. will slow to the single digits by next year.
Yet there's a positive side to the data -- Asia. While the number of Twitter users in the U.S. is expected to grow 12% this year, eMarketer projects an increase of 34% in Asia. By 2018, growth in the region is estimated to slow to 15%, though that would still outpace the worldwide average growth of 11%, Bloomberg.com reported on its Global Tech blog.
The number of the microblogging service's users in the Asia-Pacific region already eclipses those in North America and Western Europe. And Asia's percentage of all Twitter users will only get bigger.
India, Twitter's third-biggest market, is expected to grow 57% this year, while Indonesia, the fourth-biggest, will grow 62%, according to eMarketer. The researchers don't even include data from China, where the service is blocked by the government, though some people access it anyway. Japan, Twitter's second-biggest market, is estimated to increase 17% this year.
Newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used Twitter and other social media to help topple the long-standing Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Challenger, Rahul Gandhi, didn't have a Twitter account.
Mr. Modi, who has 4.4 million followers on Twitter, tweeted selfies from the campaign trail and announced his victory in a message that was retweeted 69,000 times.
"India has won. Good days are ahead," Mr. Modi wrote to his followers via a post on Twitter, after official results released May 16 showed his Bharatiya Janata Party winning a landslide victory over the Congress party led by the Gandhi dynasty.
India has an estimated 205 million Internet users, according to Arnab Mitra, managing director of LIQVD Asia, a digital advertising company.
Given where it's adding users, Twitter needs to start making more money outside the U.S., eMarketer said. The San Francisco-based company is still working to expand its sales effort overseas, first by turning on access to its self-serve advertising product, CEO Dick Costolo said in a conference call with investors last month.
People outside the U.S. accounted for 78% of Twitter's active users in the first quarter, yet only 28% of its revenue was from international sources, according to the company.
Meanwhile, total user growth has been slowing. Last month, Twitter said membership in the first quarter rose 25% from a year earlier to 255 million, decelerating from 30% growth in the prior period.
~ Bloomberg News ~