Justin Kan, Emmett Shear, Michael Seibel, Kyle Vogt, Kevin Lin
Can you believe it has been ten years now? Indeed, Twitch was launched in June 2011 to act as an iteration of Justin.tv, a website allowing users to stream and broadcast content about what they wanted. However, it took no time to see the newborn leave Justin.tv in the dirt, and by 2014 the latter was shut down.
But it was no loss for the two founders as Twitch quickly proved to be a titan in the making. It started with the idea that it could be used specifically for gamers since it was the most popular on Justin.tv, the platform grew so big with the community, though, that it even attracted Amazon and was bought by the giant in 2014. The website was already pretty comfortable in terms of traffic, but it quickly started expanding and diving into new categories such as music, casual talks, mukbang, or “real life” streams (and the controversial Hot Tub category). Anyone can watch a stream without having to log in, and you can follow your favorite streamers to see their new content on the front page. Viewers can also support the streamer financially by subscribing to them or by donating. Streams are not ad-free, and Twitch earns a commission and the streamers.
Through its parent company, Amazon, the platform also introduced Prime Gaming, a subscription service full of advantages and requiring an Amazon prime account. The company has been buying and acquiring other smaller companies to complement its services, such as a whole video games database to improve its search engine. It also introduced its Partner Program for its biggest streamers to counter Youtube. And later on, added the Affiliate Program for smaller channels to generate revenue. This program has fewer advantages than the Partner one, though.
Now the go-to place for streaming, let’s see the Twitch statistics and facts that let it grow into the purple beast we know it to be. Also, if you want some additional information about our video games industry statistics, check out our piece on it and prepare to be shocked!
Twitch user stats
They do speedruns, watch anime with the public, play Valorant/LoL/FFXIV for everyone to see, cook, talk about their life, eat…or even engage while dressed in a tight bikini. Twitch streamers come from all walks of life and deliver content to a wide range of viewers. Twitch and them have established a co-dependency relationship because the former needs them for content, and the latter needs it to be seen by thousands of people.
1. 70% of Twitch viewers belong to the age group 16-34.
(Source: Twitch Advertising)
In 2014, 76% were part of the age group 18-49.
65% of Twitch members are male for 35% of female viewers.
The 16-24 group dominates with 41%, followed by the 25-34 with 32%. People aged 35-44 represent 17% of the community.
As we can see, the audience got significantly younger with time, reaching teenagers, whereas it was primarily adults/young adults at the beginning. With all the diversity offered on the platform, it is no surprise that even people up to 45 years old find something to suit them. No doubt, also, that 2020 brought in a more mature audience and killed the preconception that Twitch was only for gamers. The gap between genders is really big, though, and several female Internet users have said that they would rather use YouTube (even if it is not the same concept at all).
2. Twitch has an average of 30 million daily active users and 140 million monthly active users.
(Source: Twitch Advertising)
Experts estimate that 41.5 million monthly active users are in the US.
At any given moment, there are over 2.5 million users watching videos and over 50,000 streaming.
Over 7 million unique streamers go live every month, meaning that more than 7 million individuals stream monthly. And over 1 million of them are active daily on the platform.
In 2020, 13 million people decided to stream for the first time.
Twitch is in constant activity. It is a bustling virtual town that will always have something to watch. The secret behind those numbers might also be the sense of community to its users. Not only can you interact with your favorite streamers, but you are bound to make friends in the chat, too as all the people present share a common interest. And because you can stream almost everything and anything, cordial and intimate stuff like watching a series, listening to music, sharing memories are possible, and have that evening-with-the-homies vibe. It makes you want to come back to relax and chill with your peers.
Twitch key stats
With such success, everyone is a bit curious about topics focused on revenues, profits, numbers generated by ads and Twitch programs. Between Bits, raids, ads, and subscriptions, the platform has a lot to offer while its business model keeps evolving.
3. In 2020, Twitch generated a revenue of $2.3 billion through in-app purchases and subscriptions.
(Source: Business of Apps)
Its in-app purchase revenue for Q2 2021 (and only IAP) amounts to $96.8 million.
In 2019, Twitch made $1.5 billion whereas it could not even reach the billion the year before, when the company made $0.9 billion.
In 2018, Twitch made $230 million out of advertising only. One year later, it surpassed itself and brought back home $310 million. In 2020, this amount was doubled as Twitch earned $750 million in advertising revenue only.
Amazon bought Twitch for the tidy sum of $970 million.
The company has 1,800 employees around the world. It started with barely 100.
In the livestreaming market, Twitch accounts for 67% of watched hours and 90% of the content streamed.
To think that a few years ago, Twitch could only rely on raising funds, and now, the company is making more money in a year than all their fund rounds together. The company has found the perfect business model for its platform, with subscriptions coming with three different tiers, ads that are totally controlled by streamers, games that can be purchased via Twitch, Twitch Turbo, Prime Gaming, etc. There are a lot of features and they are all seamlessly incorporated into the platform. Plus, there are no complaints since profits are shared on a 50/50 basis between Twitch and its Partners/Affiliates.
4. The biggest earner on Twitch is the D&D group Critical Role with $9,626,712 in earnings from 2019-to 2021.
(Source: PC Gamer)
The highest individual earner is xQcOW with a total of $8,454,427 from 2019-to 2021.
Next is summit1g dropping at $5,847,541, as LIRIK rounds up the top 10 with its 2,984,653.
The number of Twitch Partners when the program started in 2012 was up to 3,400. In 2021, that number is now over 51,000 worldwide. The number of Twitch Affiliates in 2021 is a little over 1.2 million.
Twitch RPG (Research Power Group) has over 60,000 Twitch members providing feedback to brands.
The big leak in 2020 was not legal, but it gave the public a good look at how impactful and powerful Twitch was. Streamers came forth and confirmed that those numbers were close to the real numbers. However, even if it is all oh-so-dreamy and you might think that jumping in Twitch will bring millions in your pocket, remember that the lucky ones are part of the elite, representing less than 2% of all Twitch. You need insane numbers to start making that kind of money.
Twitch usage stats
Time to take a closer look at how the game is consumed by the community. Twitch offers so many different features to the streamers, but also the viewers. Let’s not forget that it is hours spent on the platform, hours spent consuming someone else’s content or streaming what you have to offer. Time could be the alternative currency on the website.
5. The United States represents 21.77% of the total share of Twitch traffic.
(Source: Similar Web)
Germany is second with 6.78%, followed by South Korea and its 4.51%.
Russia and France round up the top 5 with a really small gap: 4.34% and 4% respectively.
30 languages are covered on Twitch thanks to its community coming from across the world, with English being the most prominent at 52.6%.
Those results are from November 2021. A few months ago, around June, the ranking was pretty different. If the US, Germany, Russia, and France stay untouched (even in terms of numbers), the third spot has been taken away from Canada as South Korea makes its grand entrance. Interesting, since South Korea was nowhere near the Top 5 at the time (it was still in the top 10, though). Undoubtedly, eSports and the chance to play at a professional level brought more Koreans to the platform.
6. A total of 1 trillion minutes (17 billion hours) have been watched on Twitch in 2020.
(Source: Twitch Advertising)
It is higher by 83% compared to 2019’s 9 billion hours.
The total hours watched for 2018 was 434 billion minutes (8 billion hours).
2021 is not over yet, but the site has already accumulated 1422 billion hours watched.
In October 2020, 1.6 billion hours had been watched, almost double what October registered in 2019 with 839 million hours, a whole 99% year-over-year growth.
This record was obliterated in March 2021 when the platform registered a total of 2.06 billion hours watched. During the same month, sleeping streams (streams where viewers can watch the streamer sleeping) gained in popularity with 2 million hours watched.
People spend an average of 95 minutes per day on Twitch.
Like I said before, time could be the currency on Twitch. Streams last hours, and people do not see time passing by. It also gets addictive as you might want to start watching the streams you missed the day before, watch an episode of Demon Slayer with other people just to enjoy the comments, check how that new DLC has been doing, and maybe finish with a bit of ASMR. And the big motivator behind all that? The fact that you can catch it live
7. The most popular streamer on Twitch is Ninja with a stunning total of 17,162,016 followers and 559,039615 channel views.
(Source: Social Blade)
Auronplay is second with 10,970,531 million followers and more than 215 million channel views. Tfue is #3 boasting 10,786,200 followers and almost 300 million channel views.
Rubius is also part of the “over 10 million followers” club, coming at #4 with 227 million channel views. And finally, with a total of 9,881,469 followers and over 500 million channel views is #5, shroud.
TheGrefg is the individual streamer with the highest number of concurrent viewers with a total of 2.4 million viewers in January 2021.
Most of those streamers are gamers, and most are playing CS: GO, Fortnite, Valorant, or LoL (most play MMO, to cut it short). Ninja comes from the Fortnite scene and has been dominating this ranking. It is even more of a feat when you consider the fact that he left Twitch at one point for Mixer and then came back after it was shut down.
8. The most popular game of all-time on Twitch is League of Legends with a total of 46,406,824,144 viewers.
(Source: Twitch Stats)
Fortnite snatches the second spot with over 27,022,464,426 viewers while GTA V Online takes the third spot with 21,314,086,400 viewers.
The last two of that top 5 are Valve’s own babies and veterans: CS: GO and DotA 2 with 20,974,926,313 and 18,653,792,474 viewers respectively.
The good surprise here is GTA V Online that manages to stay at the top. Rockstar wanted their multiplayer to be a success, but there is a good chance they did not think it would be that successful. They even only focus on it now. Being a veteran does not mean that the game will automatically score the highest numbers since DotA is barely younger than LoL, but is at the bottom of the top five. LoL is just that solid a reference. However, let’s give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar: Valve has two games doing exceptionally well up there.
9. During the global lockdowns in Q1 2020, the total watch hours rose by 23% for Twitch.
(Source: Games Industry)
Included were 3.1 billion hours watched in less than 3 months for an increase of 17% quarter-to-quarter.
The number of unique channels increased by 33% and during the whole quarter the concurrent viewership stayed at 1.4 million viewers.
You must have seen that one coming. People were hungry for a way to socialize and stay busy. Among all the things that could give them that, Twitch was at the top of that list. Not like the platform was in dire need since it was doing great already, but there is no reason to say no. It even dragged Discord with it as the two platforms were a match made in heaven for the new crowds just discovering them.
10. The Just Chatting category is ranked #1 on Twitch.
Over 7 days: the average number of viewers is 337,432, the average number of channels streaming the game is 4,014, the number of viewers/channel is 84.1 and the number of hours watched is 56,857,222.
The peak for viewers was 2,871,827 in January 2021 and the highest number of concurrent channels was 13,287 in February 2021.
The game is streamed by 6% more channels during the weekend but with 1% fewer viewers.
The category showed a total of 285+ million hours watched in May 2021 against the crushing 289+ million hours in April 2021.
Yes, it is not a game. But to actually allow streamers to be able to switch easily during a stream, they had to pass it as a game even if it is a category. And as you can see it is the most popular category. It is the one allowing more direct interaction between streamers and viewers since they are there to have a chat and nothing else. It is all about the conversation. Just Chatting is really nice, even if it tends to enable that parasocial relationship delusion in some folks.
Android or iOS?
Twitch can be found everywhere, on any device. And you can also find the app on your mobile devices, something that is welcome since it allows streamers to stream from anywhere and viewers can still enjoy their favorites as soon as they are live. This functionality gave rise to streams specializing in long walks and guided tours of cities and it is appreciated since 35% of views come from users on mobile devices and the app has been downloaded more than 100 million times.
11. On iOS US, in Top Free Apps (video and photo), Twitch is #7 on iPhone and #4 on iPad, while it is ranked #2 on iPhone and #7 on iPad in Top Grossing App (photo and video).
(Source: Sensor Tower)
In Great Britain: the app snatched #5 for Top Free App on iPad, but it is #10 on iPhone. For the Top Grossing App, Twitch is #9 on iPhone and #8 on iPad.
In Germany: Twitch is #8 for Top Free iPhone and #5 on iPad. It ranks #6 for Top Grossing App on iPhone and #18 on iPad.
The app saw a big plunge as the Top Grossing App in the UK when in October it was still dominating. What happened? It is not a matter of people not downloading the app since what is tracked here is the revenue made through in-app purchases—the same thing with Germany on iPad, where the graph is even more dramatic. Of course, the category is the same (namely: video & photo).
12. On Google Play US, Twitch is #17 in Top Free Entertainment but maintains its third position in Top Grossing Entertainment.
(Source: Sensor Tower)
In Germany: It is still being downloaded in Germany since it is #6 in Top Free and #2 in Top Grossing.
In Russia: The app is comfortably at #3 in Top Free and oscillates between #4 and 5 for Top Grossing.
A loyal German fanbase on mobile devices… Android, at least. Twitch has been #2 in Top Grossing for quite à while now, with no changes at all. The app is pretty popular in Russia, where it stays at the top.
To sum up
It is hard to see the future without Twitch when talking about eSports or entertainment on the Internet. Not only did it bring a whole new notion as to what socializing is exactly (because you are supposed to do it outside), but it also created a real full-time job. No longer is it valid to say that “playing computer games will get you nowhere.” It also expanded itself in a visionary way by leaving its comfort zone and accommodating people in general, not just gamers.
Even if, objectively, gaming will be Twitch’s most beloved lover until the end, considering that it is the one field generating the most profits for the company. One only has to look at the increasing popularity of eSports and the money the scene can develop, to see that video games are full of opportunities. And Twitch has been on this boat for a while now: the platform is the channel of choice for most (if not all) events related to eSports.
Twitch is now part of the virtual landscape and will go nowhere as it is already at the center of many activities. So, we can only wonder where they will take us next.
“Twitch Sees Record Viewership In October – Report”. Gamesindustry.Biz, 2022, https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-11-18-twitch-sees-record-viewership-in-october-report.
“Twitch Sets New Record With Over 2Bn Hours Watched In March”. Gamesindustry.Biz, 2022, https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-04-09-twitch-reaches-new-milestone-of-over-2b-hours-watched-in-march.
“Twitch Breaks 3B Total Hours Watched In A Single Quarter For The First Time”. Gamesindustry.Biz, 2022, https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-04-02-twitch-breaks-3b-total-hours-watched-in-a-single-quarter-for-the-first-time-in-q1-2020.
“10 Facts About Twitch, The Company That Amazon Is Buying, That Will Blow Your Mind”. Business Insider, 2021, https://www.businessinsider.com/statistics-about-twitch-2014-8.
“The State Of Twitch In 2018”. Kotaku, December 14, 2018, https://kotaku.com/the-state-of-twitch-in-2018-1831106882.