As one million Android users join Clubhouse, an invite-only audio social network, just two weeks after the launch, it comes as a welcome relief for the platform that saw downloads plummet recently.
Clubhouse Android was released starting with the US on May 9 and the rest of the world, including India, by May 21. During the weekly Clubhouse Townhall on May 23, co-founder Paul Davidson, said: “We have over a million users already given that it was launched. We are watching this closely but more than a million is pretty nuts.”
While the Android version is standard, the company will focus on bridging the feature parity with iOS by this next week. Davidson said, “We are working really hard to get the feature parity in the Android version similar to that of the iOS. It is very important to us that the app has the same set of features.”
“In the following week, we should bring Android 99 percent feature parity with the iOS,” Davidson added. It currently has 14.8 million iOS downloads, India accounting for about 90,000, according to data shared by AppAnnie, an app analytics platform.
The app was launched in March 2020, bang in the middle of the pandemic. Its popularity soared since it launched and peaked after the appearance of Silicon Valley figures like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. India was no exception to this trend.
The firm started working on the Android version starting this year as it saw intense competition in the space, coming from tech giants such as Twitter, and Facebook.
It also saw downloads nosedive since March, when it declined 90 percent globally in April since the surge in February, according to data by Sensor Tower, an app analytics firm.
As of April, total downloads were mere 922,000 from 9.6 million in February. In India, after the 42,000 downloads in February, it halved to 20,000 in March and fell further to 14,000 in April.
At this juncture, the million downloads does come as a relief. Davidson did not break down the numbers country-wise. But India could account for a fair share of downloads given that Android accounts for over 95 percent of the smartphones owned in the country.
Will it help?
As witnessed, the launch will give the boost to download numbers, but it is unclear if the launch alone will be successful given the competition it is facing from tech giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft's LinkedIn, Spotify and Reddit.
Take the case of Twitter Spaces. Since the launch of Twitter’s Spaces, many users have started using the feature for the reason they already have an established user base. Neil Shah, Vice President – Research, Counterpoint, a market research firm, said Clubhouse needs to make it more attractive, which would take time and money since it is a small firm.
Given that it is a well-funded startup, money is unlikely to be an issue, he added.
A digital marketing executive, who works with social media platforms for brand marketing for both Indian and global brands and did not want to be quoted, agrees with Shah that the application has to innovate fast and build scale at the same time to be successful.
Android will give the company scale, but building a creator community would be key, which is also what the company has been focused on in recent times.
First Published: IST