Instagram Overshadows Naver and Kakao, South Korea's Leading Web Portals | Be Korea-savvy

Instagram Overshadows Naver and Kakao, South Korea’s Leading Web Portals

Instagram has emerged as the dominant platform, surpassing the once-formidable giants Naver and Kakao. (Image courtesy of Pixabay)

Instagram has emerged as the dominant platform, surpassing the once-formidable giants Naver and Kakao. (Image courtesy of Pixabay)

SEOUL, May 24 (Korea Bizwire) – In a striking shift in South Korea’s social media landscape, Instagram has emerged as the dominant platform, surpassing the once-formidable giants Naver and Kakao, according to a recent report by the Korea Information Society Development Institute (KISDI). 

The report, titled “Social Media Usage by Generation,” revealed that nearly half (48.6%) of South Korean social media users primarily utilize Instagram, a substantial increase from 31.5% in 2021.

Conversely, Facebook’s popularity plummeted from 28.6% to 16.7% during the same period, while Kakao Story’s usage dropped significantly from 17.6% to 10.2%. Naver’s social media platform, Band, also experienced a slight decline, from 13.3% to 13.1%. 

The report highlighted Instagram’s dominance among younger generations, with a staggering 66.9% of Generation Z (ages 9-24) and 57% of Millennials (ages 25-38) ranking it as their primary social media platform.

For Generation Z, Instagram and Facebook (11.5%) were followed by Twitter (now X, 8.4%) and TikTok (5.1%), all foreign platforms, while Kakao Story was barely utilized. 

Instagram’s appeal extended beyond the younger demographics, as it emerged as the top choice (36.5%) among Generation X (ages 39-54), surpassing Facebook, Naver Band, and other contenders.

However, for Baby Boomers (ages 55-65), Naver Band remained the most popular, followed by Kakao Story (24.1%), Facebook (20.2%), and Instagram (15.3%), showcasing distinct generational preferences. 

Instagram’s dominance isn’t limited to user preferences; it also commands a significant portion of users’ time, ranking among the top three most-used apps in South Korea.

According to a study by the app and retail analytics firm Wiseapp, Instagram secured the third position in April for the longest usage time, trailing only YouTube and Kakao Talk. Notably, Naver ranked fourth, marking the first time since March 2016 that Instagram outranked Naver in this metric.

Over the past year, Instagram’s growth trajectory has been remarkable. While its usage time in April 2023 (150 billion minutes) lagged behind Naver (227 billion minutes), it surged to 209 billion minutes within a year.

During the same period, YouTube’s usage increased from 958 billion minutes to 1,021 billion minutes, while Kakao Talk (355 billion minutes to 325 billion minutes) and Naver (227 billion minutes to 200 billion minutes) experienced declines.

The study was based on a sample of South Korean Android and iOS smartphone users.

The KISDI report also shed light on generational differences in social media usage patterns. While usage rates among Generation X, Baby Boomers (ages 40 and above) are declining, they are steadily increasing among those in their teens, 20s, and 30s.

Regarding daily usage time on weekdays, Generation Z spent an average of 55 minutes, Millennials 38 minutes, Generation X 30 minutes, and Baby Boomers 22 minutes, illustrating a clear age-related trend. 

Generation Z exhibited the most active engagement on social media platforms, with 29.7% regularly leaving comments or “liking” content daily, and 14.2% uploading new posts every day – significantly higher than other generations. 

While fostering connections with friends and acquaintances emerged as the primary purpose for social media usage across all generations, the report noted distinct generational preferences.

Generation Z leaned more toward consuming entertaining content, Millennials focused on documenting and sharing their daily lives, while Baby Boomers and Generation X prioritized obtaining useful information. 

The KISDI report analyzed social media usage patterns by generation, based on data from the annual Korea Media Panel Survey, which has been tracking the same sample population since 2010. The 2023 survey encompassed 4,077 households and 9,757 individuals.

Kevin Lee ( 

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