The Korea Herald


Instagram widens gap with Naver among Korea’s most-used apps

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : June 9, 2024 - 14:51

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Instagram has significantly widened its lead over domestic top search engine Naver regarding usage hours among Korean smartphone users, data showed Sunday.

According to data compiled by industry tracker Wiseapp, Korean users spent 389 million hours on Instagram, making it the third-most used app in the country in May, surpassing Naver by 46.41 million hours.

Instagram had already outstripped Naver in April, maintaining the third-most used smartphone app position here for two consecutive months.

Korean smartphone users spent 1.8 billion hours on the video-sharing service YouTube in the same month, followed by the domestic mobile messenger KakaoTalk with 565 million hours, the data showed.

Instagram’s popularity extended to the category of frequently used apps.

In May, Korean users activated Instagram on their smartphones 1.78 billion times, securing the second spot after YouTube. Naver came next with a whopping 1.43 activations, with KakaoTalk being activated 78.7 billion times, the data showed.

The surge in Instagram’s usage hours and activation frequency can be attributed to the success of its Reels launched in 2021, which refers to short video clips shared on the platform, experts said.

On the contrary, Naver’s similar service called Clip introduced in August last year, has not yet significantly impacted usage hours or activation rates.

As the trend toward short-form content continues, experts highlighted the need for domestic platforms to strengthen their services covering this type of content.

Additionally, Naver’s usage hours declined by 15 percent compared to August 2023, and activation frequency decreased by 6.4 percent.

Experts assumed that Naver’s recent decision to discontinue social media content integration including Instagram and YouTube on government and public agency official websites is attributable to the downturn.

This is part of the IT giant's efforts to prevent a loss of users to competing foreign platforms, the experts added.