Snap Inc had many surprises to unveil at the Snap Summit 2021, the company’s annual partner summit which was held virtually this time thanks to the pandemic. Snapchat, the popular multimedia messaging app, witnessed its monthly active user (MAU) base grow to 500 million, while its daily active users (DAU) in India saw a year-over-year increase of 100% in each of the last five quarters. This comes a few months after its user base was more than 60 million in the country.

Approximately 40% of Snapchat’s MAU base was located outside Europe and North America. Snap noted that the popular messaging app was in one-out-of-two smartphones in the US. Additionally, nearly 30 million people played Snap Games every month, while nearly a billion Bitmoji, stickers, and GIF are used on Snapchat daily. Snapchat had 280 million daily active users (DAU) in the first quarter of 2021.

In the keynote speech, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said that the average Snapchat user opened the app 30 times daily. Snap Inc also announced that Snapchat Spotlight, which made its debut in India earlier this year, has over 125 million monthly active users. The Summit also unveiled more surprises like new Augmented Reality (AR) tools, partnerships for shopping and content, as well as the latest generation of Spectacles and the new ‘Story Studio.’

“Spectacles are fully integrated with Lens Studio. This powerful desktop application designed for augmented reality creators and developers is used to build and distribute Lenses across Snap’s AR platform,” Snap said.

This surge in popularity of the ten-year-old Snapchat can be attributed to the pandemic. While people were confined at home to lessen the spread of the virus, they had time to kill, time which was spent on platforms like Snapchat. It has emerged as a strong competitor to Facebook and Instagram, which are undisputed leaders of social media.

“In the US, France, UK, Australia, and the Netherlands, Snapchat is becoming an indispensable part of people’s lives, reaching 90 percent of 13-24-year-olds, and 75 percent of 13-34-year-olds,” Spiegel said. Snapchat continues to have more daily active users on Android than on iOS.

Snapchat’s focus on the world’s second-largest internet market increased since 2018, opening an office in Mumbai after witnessing a surge of 40% in its daily active users. India remains one of Snap’s first markets to include investments to localize its product, develop local augmented-reality creator communities, local content, invest in local marketing initiatives, add support for Indian languages in Snapchat’s Android app, and others.

The growing number of Indian smartphone users, the availability and expansion of high-speed mobile networks, and the rapid growth of GDP per capita remain the causes of Snap’s focus on India.