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Twitter User Growth Will Come From Asia-Pacific – Region Accounting For 40% Of Users By 2018

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Figures out this morning from eMarketer estimate Twitter’s growth to continue in the double-digits through 2018, with the Asia-Pacific region playing a large part in that growth trend. Today, Twitter users in Asia-Pacific already outnumber those in North America and Western Europe, accounting for 32.8% of all Twitter users, compared with just 23.7% in North America, the report says. By 2018, the Asia-Pacific region will account for over a 40% share of Twitter’s user base, while the North American region drops to just 19%.

Also notable is that eMarketer’s report doesn’t include China in its estimates, because the network is currently blocked there, even though many users still access it by way of virtual private networks. If that situation changes, the report notes somewhat obviously, the growth in the Asia-Pacific region would be “significantly higher.”

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Instead, the forecast estimates that Indonesia and India will end up impacting Twitter’s user base growth most heavily going forward, with both countries experiencing increases of over 50% in 2014 – the former with 61.7% user growth and the latter with 56.9% growth. More importantly, perhaps, is that while large growth numbers tend to indicate a relatively small installed base, that’s not the case with these two countries – India and Indonesia will become the third and fourth-largest regional Twitter user bases this year, at 18.1 million and 15.3 million users, respectively.

That means this year they will both also surpass the U.K. for the first time, in terms of user numbers.

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Meanwhile, in Twitter’s home base in the U.S., the market is more mature, with growth tapering off into the single digits in 2015 and beyond. It will, however, remain the largest country in terms of user accounts throughout the forecasting period. In addition, the U.S. user base is today where most of Twitter’s revenue comes from – in fact, the U.S. accounted for nearly three-quarters of Twitter’s total ad dollars last year.

But this (fairly bullish) report indicates that Twitter still has room to grow its ad business outside the U.S. where the service takes hold in these expanding, emerging markets.

In 2018, eMarketer says it estimates that Twitter will growth 10.7% to reach close to 400 million users worldwide.

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One big caveat: this estimate and the forecast itself relies on different data sources than Twitter’s own reported figures (255 million monthly actives, currently) because eMarketer uses instead some 90-plus data sources including Twitter press releases, survey and traffic data from other research firms and regulatory agencies, historical trends, internet and mobile adoption trends, country-specific demographic and socioeconomic factors in its analysis.

From this collection of roughly 400 data points, the firm leans heavily on consumer survey data to eliminate business accounts, multiple accounts for individual users and other sources for double-counting to reach its numbers. This is also eMarketer’s first-ever forecast of Twitter users worldwide, so the company still needs to prove that its estimates on this particular subject do well.