Reports of X’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

Last week, it was reported that X (formerly Twitter) has been on the decline since Elon Musk took over the platform. Our data corroborates this to some extent, but also reveals reason for optimism. We also analyzed competitors like Threads, Bluesky, Truth Social, Mastodon, and GETTR.

Welcome to the October 2023 edition of our monthly roundup of X competitors! Each month we cover trends among the top apps that were built to compete with the ‘Social Network Formerly Known as Twitter.’ Come here for monthly updates on the top performing apps, download trends, monthly active user (MAU) insights, and more!

Here’s what we covered this month (click the links to jump to the corresponding section):

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Current Standings: Android and iOS Downloads

Alright, let’s start off looking at where things currently stand. Below are global downloads for X and the top performing X competitors in September and October. More specifically, we looked at monthly download trends for X, Threads, Mastodon, Truth Social, Bluesky, and GETTR.

Android Monthly Downloads: September 2023 vs October 2023

As you can see, on Google Play, Threads was downloaded 9,639,444 times in the month of October. This means it edged out X (9,084,629) by approximately 550k downloads.

However, it’s important to note that the trends are going in opposite directions. While X improved on its September number by approximately 2.5 million downloads, Meta’s Twitter killer plummeted by 4 million downloads.

Here’s how the other apps performed:

  • Bluesky: 233,075 downloads in October (UP from 205,958 in September).
  • Truth Social: 92,625 downloads in October (UP from 77,000 in September).
  • Mastodon: 25,285 downloads in October (DOWN from 31,889 in September).
  • GETTR: 3,543 downloads in October (DOWN from 5,686 in September).

iOS Monthly Downloads: September 2023 vs October 2023

Unfortunately we haven’t captured data for the iOS versions of Threads and Bluesky just yet. So, while Threads almost certainly had the strongest performance, we’ve contained our analysis to the data we had.

Having said that, X (Twitter) had far and away the strongest month, with 7,887,998 total downloads in October (DOWN from 8,446,549 in September). Here’s how the rest performed:

  • Mastodon: 53,071 downloads in October (DOWN from 59,080 in September).
  • Truth Social: 29,651 downloads in October (UP from 23,595 in September).
  • GETTR: 10,106 downloads in October (DOWN from 10,849 in September).

We Can Confirm Reporting that X’s Downloads Are Declining

In a report, the American news website Axios stated that the platform has “hemorrhaged users and advertisers in its first year under Elon Musk's ownership.” Moreover, they noted that X’s app downloads fell roughly 38% globally between October 2022 and September 2023.

Since we are in the business of app intelligence, we wanted to see if there was any truth to this reporting. On the face of things, we can corroborate that X has experienced some decline.

Here are X’s Android Downloads:

And here are X’s iOS downloads:

Between November 2022 and October 2023, X’s Android downloads have fallen 32%, while its iOS downloads have fallen 17%.

However, there’s a ‘but’ coming…

Despite Declining Downloads, Android X Usage Is at Record Highs

While X’s downloads have been falling, Monthly Active Users (MAUs) are on the rise. Indeed, in September 2023, 150,255,572 people globally used the Android version of X. This is up 14.5% from October 2022. Moreover, MAUs are currently at the highest point they’ve been at all year.

In other words, while things have been rocky, X remains an extremely popular platform and long-time users remain reluctant to jump ship.

Threads May Have Benefitted from X’s Decline, but Usage Remains Abysmal

Now, before we sign off for the month, we wanted to draw your attention to Threads, which has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of X’s struggles. While it remains the most downloaded X competitor on a month-to-month basis, it’s not exactly running away with the lead.

Here are download estimates for the Android version of Threads since the platform’s launch in July 2023:

As you can see, after an extremely impressive release, Threads has largely fallen back to earth, with Android downloads declining 91% between July and October.

Unfortunately, MAUs paint an even bleaker picture for the Android app:

While 10,561,017 people used the app in July, just 5,263,988 used it in September. That’s a decline of 50% since the platform launched! More importantly, however, it’s worlds away from X’s Android MAUs. 

Final Thoughts

So, don’t write off X just yet. While skeptics point to reasonable areas for concern, its usage is still substantially stronger than its closest competitors.

Currently, Threads has the best shot of unseating X, but it suffers from a crippling lack of usage. Moreover, while other platforms (like Mastodon, which has amassed a respectable user base in the neighborhood of 1.7 million active users) maintain dedicated followings, they don’t come anywhere near X’s market penetration.

In any case, this will be an interesting area to monitor in the weeks ahead. While X is unlikely to crater in the near future, the market may be finding a new equilibrium in which X has a substantially diminished role. Only time will tell…

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