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What comes to mind when you hear TikTok? For most people, especially the older ones among us, it’s probably weird dancing, questionable lip-synching, and old reuploaded vines. That very well might have been true for a couple of months in late 2018 when TikTok launched. However, much has changed in the TikTok ecosystem since, and some major shifts are occurring, including a significant widening of the user demographic. But before we get into the nitty-gritty of details and statistics, let’s go over the basics first.


1. What is TikTok, Really?

TikTok is a media app created by the Chinese technology company ByteDance for both Android and iOS that is used mainly for creating, sharing, and watching short videos. Originally, it was launched on the Chinese market in September 2016 as Douyin. It was released for foreign markets the following year. Even though both TikTok and Douyin use the same software, due to Chinese censorship practices, ByteDance has to maintain separate networks for the different versions of the app.

In 2017, TikTok’s worldwide rise to prominence truly began with ByteDance’s $1 billion acquisition of That allowed TikTok to access the various advanced technologies and code of as well as their take over their large U.S. audience.

In addition, you have to give credit where credit is due. TikTok filled a huge void left in the market by the demise of Vine, as well as absorbed various niches in the social media sphere into itself. The fact that TikTok is an entertainment rather than a lifestyle platform played a key role in the app’s rise to prominence. Furthermore, the app’s tools are incredibly accessible, allowing anyone to become a content creator in minutes. This accessibility provides a constant and almost impossible huge stream of content, ensuring that the app can retain its users.

2. TikTok’s Older Generations

There’s no going around it; TikTok’s largest demographic is young people, especially the 18-24 group. However, the global Covid-19 pandemic brought a lot of change to TikTok, as it did for many other things. It created an environment where older people were forced to use social media to keep in touch with their loved ones and friends. This caused an influx of parents and grandparents to social media and a noticeable increase in the older demographics.

Furthermore, that influx of older generations caused a content shift on TikTok, and large corporations are taking advantage of the new situation. For example, Apple Music and ESPN both launched campaigns targeting older audiences on TikTok, and they saw great success on the platform, despite what you may think about TikTok’s demographics.

Apple Music’s campaign centered on promoting old hits from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s and remixing them with newer beats to bring the generations together, while ESPN’s campaign focused on digging up highlights from old sports events. Campaigns and ideas such as this, which bring the generations together, are proving to be more and more effective.


3. The Stats

We need to delve into the various TikTok stats to get the full picture and see why the app isn’t just for funny dances anymore. Instead, its content is more varied than ever and is enjoyed by a much wider demographic.

How Many Users Does TikTok Even Have?

As of January 2021, TikTok clocks in at 689 million monthly active users, without the Chinese users, who are on a different network. If you add Douyin users, then the number goes to 1.29 billion active monthly users. That makes TikTok the seventh-largest platform in terms of active user count, ahead of many veteran social media platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

The Most Downloaded App

Q1 of 2019 showcased TikTok’s prominence and importance to the overall online world. That quarter saw the app downloaded from the Apple App Store more than 33 million times. TikTok strongly beat out industry titans such as Youtube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. In fact, that was TikTok’s fifth consecutive quarter as the most downloaded app on the Apple App Store. That proves that TikTok not only managed to keep its user base, but it also kept evolving and attracting new people and demographics.

However, TikTok seems to be much more popular among iOS users, it seems. As TikTok “only” gets third place on the most downloaded apps on Google Play, right behind WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Snatching Young People’s Attention

While TikTok can be sometimes mystifying for us older generations, it has completely captured the attention of young people, and it has the stats to prove it. For example, 62% of TikTok’s users in the U.S. are between the ages of 10 and 29. In contrast, just about 7.1% are over 50.

So, why is TikTok so popular with the younger generations? To put it simply, it was designed to be. Firstly, the target audience for TikTok was under 18 from the very beginning, and it is a testament to its creators’ skill and design philosophy. In addition, TikTok’s success is based on the fact that the app’s creators understand the younger generation much better than other social media giants. They carefully studied the preferences and habits of their target audience, and that allowed them to create a social media app that gives youngsters precisely what they want.

TikTok’s Daily Average Screen Time

TikTok has an impressive average screen time of 52 minutes per day. This means that people are using TikTok daily to either create and share short videos or watch and consume the vast ocean of content that the app offers. Whether they’re creators or watchers, it doesn’t matter; their attention is focused on TikTok for almost an hour every day.

In comparison, let’s look at the other social media platforms. People spend one minute more on average on Instagram (53 minutes) and a couple of minutes less on Snapchat (49.5 minutes). However, while it might seem strange in this day and age, Facebook still holds the number one position at 58.5 minutes. These stats are vital for marketers to know since they can shape the way a campaign is presented to users.

A Noticeable Increase in the Older U.S. Demographics

Another fascinating development is the increasing number of older users on TikTok, especially from the U.S. Americans who love TikTok; 26.5% of the 689 million active monthly users are from the U.S.A.

Even though the app is overwhelmingly popular among the 18 and under group, the latest figures show somewhat of a shift away from that trend. The number of U.S. adults using TikTok has been steadily increasing over the past couple of years.

Around Q4 2017, there were about 2.6 million adult U.S. TikTok users. Over the next year, that number tripled to 7.2 million. Since then, TikTok usage among U.S. adults has been increasing exponentially, reaching 14.3 million in a mere six months.

To put it simply, in less than 18 months, the number of adult U.S. TikTok users grew 550%. One of the main contributing factors to TikTok’s quick rise to prominence and its increasing older demographic is its presence in mainstream media. For example, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. In a segment of that show, the host encouraged his viewers to take part in a slew of TikTok challenges. Due to this partnership, TikTok experienced a huge surge of downloads and app engagement.

The Average Number of View Videos

Now, this next one is quite boggling to think about, even though it makes a lot of sense. Consider a video as a self-contained delivery unit for information. TikTok averages around 1 million videos viewed per day, and it reached that milestone within a year of its release.

If you take this statistic on its own merit, it is proof enough that TikTok is a force worth reckoning with. Combined with all of the other stats in this article, and you’ll see that TikTok is poised to take over the social media space.

Furthermore, savvy business decisions like the aforementioned acquisition of further solidify TikTok as one of the social media and entertainment kings.

People Use TikTok Every Day

Full three-quarters of all apps get downloaded, used once, and then forgotten. However, that is not the cast for TikTok.

90% of all TikTok users use the app at least once a day. A considerable percentage of them are active as both creators and watchers, even though there may be an overall preference for watching videos. A staggering amount of users actually participate in content creation on the platform, which is a testament to the accessibility of its creative tools.


We think it is safe to say that TikTok is so much more than a Vine knock-off or that weird app where people sing, but not really. TikTok is currently very successfully competing with the big kahunas of the social media market, and they have found their niche. The app serves a different purpose than Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook. It is a platform made for content creators, and the accessibility of its tools ensures that anyone can become one. That is one of the main factors that give TikTok an advantage over its competitors.

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