Clubhouse icon seen on a smartphone screen (Image: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Clubhouse, an invite-only drop-in audio chat network, has had over one million Android downloads in India, the largest by far in any country. Globally, it has seen 2.6 million Android downloads, according to data by app analytics platform Sensor Tower.
Clubhouse Android version was launched in India on May 21 and it has since seen a huge uptick in numbers, with Malayalis particularly finding a new home in Clubhouse.
However, its iOS downloads continue to decline globally. In May, the iOS version of the app saw about 719,000 installs globally, down 22 percent month-on-month (MoM) from 922,000 in April, according to data shared by Sensor Tower with Moneycontrol.
The spike in downloads coincides with the appointment of Facebook executive Aarthi Ramamurthy, who will be heading International markets and focus on building global communities for Clubhouse.
So far, India has not figured in the top 20 markets and not been a focus market for Clubhouse. With India dominating the Android market, it is yet to be seen if the country will figure in the key strategy for Clubhouse in the coming weeks. Its key markets so far have been the US, Japan and Europe that account for a significant share of the global downloads.
Meanwhile, Indians are embracing Clubhouse, creating all-new formats. Away from the tech and startup discussions that characterised the platform, music concerts on weekends and hot political debates have now come to define it in India, at least in recent times.
According to a Calicut-based media professional, Clubhouse has come to replace chayakkada (tea shop discussions) that were commonplace before the lockdown.
“Malayalis love discussions. With lockdown, people are moving online since the pandemic made physical discussions impossible. While Twitter Spaces offer similar options, Clubhouse is less distracting as a platform and they have embraced it,” he added.
On May 31, there were at least 14 rooms where varying discussions like starting Youtube channel, photography, cricket, toxic feminism, and ‘Do you believe in God and Why?’ were happening with each room having anywhere between 200 to over 500 people.
In a room discussing ‘Why only half an egg is used in egg puff’ on the Clubhouse, there were close to 2,000 people.
However, the response on the potential success of the app in the coming month is mixed. While the app is witnessing new use cases, it is yet to be seen if it is sustainable as the novelty wears off.
Before the Android launch, downloads declined by 66 percent in India since February and 90 percent globally.
According to experts, while Android will give the company scale, building a creator community would be key, which is also what the company has been focused on in recent times. Over the last few weeks, Clubhouse has launched initiatives to grow the creator community by helping them monetise and adding newer features to make content discovery easier for users.