For the first couple of years when the app started in 2014 as Musical.ly, virtually all users were young teenagers. That seems to be changing. Tiktok has become popular with older age groups around the world. Countries seem to differ in the age groups and genders that use Tiktok most often. The 25-34 age group seems to be having the most growth worldwide.
After COVID-19, sources differ on whether Tiktok will grow or shrink. One clear finding is that people are identifying more ways to use Tiktok, including as a source of ad revenue, as an educational resource, as a method of connecting with others, and
as a social media platform for more young Americans.
Changes in Tiktok Usage Patterns
- In a January 2019 study by Business Insider, among Gen Z internet users ages 13 to 21, just 11 percent said they checked TikTok daily. That means TikTok was used less than Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Facebook at that time.
- Tiktok has global appeal among young people. User statistics from 2019 indicate that "66 percent of worldwide users are under the age of 30. In the U.S., 60 percent of the app’s monthly active users are 16-to 24-year-olds...."
- Only 33 percent of Tiktok users are over 30, according to 2019 statistics.
- One possible usage change may be indications of Tiktok's longevity. Tiktok users seem to be staying with the app as they get older. The app launched in 2014 with the name Musical.ly. In 2019, five years later, data showed that "most of Tiktok's US users [were] young, with 25.8 percent aged between 18 and 24. A further 24.5 percent [were] aged 25-34", continuing to use the app after their 25th birthdays.
- The increase in older users is also true elsewhere. In China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and UAE, more Tiktok users are 25-34 years old than are 16-24 years old. In Japan, the two age groups using Tiktok the most are teenagers (15 percent) and users in their 40s (12.1 percent).
- Tiktok is popular in South Asia. China, India, and Pakistan are the biggest markets in terms of viewing time. The US is growing and is now in fourth place.
- The platform is seen by many as a place for fun and enjoyment.
Future Growth Projections for Tiktok After COVID-19
- According to one industry blog, "TikTok has ... become a media sensation. Publications all over the internet are writing about how people are connecting with each other over the platform [during the pandemic]." This form of connection may continue after the pandemic ends.
- Interest in Tiktok from celebrities is helping to increase the number of regular users. Celebrities are "improving TikTok’s star power and draw. TikTok and LivexLive recently launched a 48-hour digital music festival where a host of up-and-coming musicians performed live on the platform. Actress Judi Dench drew attention when she performed on TikTok with her grandson. And Korean K-pop sensation (G)I-DLE took a TikTok dance challenge head-on with ridiculous ease."
- Staying home during the pandemic gave people the opportunity to try new things, including Tiktok. "The coronavirus brought a surge of new TikTok users that are outside its usual demographic of teenagers" one executive commented. "This allowed the community to achieve unprecedented levels of reach and engagement in the app’s relatively short history." It's not known whether the new users will continue to watch Tiktok after the crisis.
- Teachers in American junior high and high schools have used Tiktok to raise student interest in certain topics and allow them to demonstrate their knowledge. For example, Kathryn Byars, a social studies teacher at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Eastvale, CA, "gave her students the option of making TikToks to compare and contrast different historical trade routes, and to share inventions from the Industrial Revolution. She sees it as an alternative to other video platforms." This trend may continue after the COVID-19 crisis is over.
- Advertising on Tiktok is predicted to increase and become more and more lucrative as 2020 goes on.
- One source projects a nearly 22 percent growth in Tiktok users in the US.
Numerous industry sources, marketing reports, blogs, business publications, scholarly abstracts, and other sources were examined in an effort to locate projections about the future growth of the Tiktok platform after COVID-19. However, except for one marketer's prediction, this topic has not emerged as something for experts to write about so far. It may be that it is too soon for advertising and marketing experts to turn their attention to the future prospects of Tiktok and other social media, since the world's economic situation is so uncertain, and political realities are changing in many countries. The pandemic is receiving most of the focus from writers about the future and the economic recovery.