TikTok is now a tale of two apps. Most of TikTok’s Western audience originally belonged to Musical.ly. Its Eastern audience, however, knew the original app better, and TikTok still runs a separate version of the app in China called Douyin.
Although Musical.ly was extremely popular in the USA, it was founded in Shanghai, China by longtime friends Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang. They released the app in August 2014. We have written extensively about Musical.ly in the past, including Top 20 Musical.ly Influencers Who Have Built Small Media Empires for Themselves. Although the platform has changed, most of our articles are still relevant – the former influencers of Musical.ly are now the influencers of TikTok. The influencers have juggled positions since we wrote that article, however, and Loren Gray now tops the TikTok charts.
The original version of TikTok is newer than Musical.ly. Bytedance launched it as Douyin in China in September 2016 and then introduced it to the overseas market as TikTok a year later.
Before long, Bytedance decided to expand their offering. They purchased Musical.ly on 9 November 2017, merging the two platforms internationally on 2 August 2018. The developer still offers the original Douyin app in China, however, as a separate app on their website
Neither TikTok nor its forerunner, Musical.ly, provides much in statistics publically. It is much harder to find follower lists than most of the other social networks, for example. However, with such a convoluted history, it is not too difficult to discover quite a few TikTok statistics. Let's kick off with this interesting look at TikTok's rise the last few years.
The Explosive Growth of TikTok
50 TikTok Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind:
4th Most Popular Free iPhone Apps Download in 2019
Although monthly app downloads vary greatly, TikTok took fourth place in the list of most downloaded iPhone apps for 2019. The only apps with more downloads were YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. TikTok even managed to achieve more downloads on Apple’s mobile platform than Facebook, Messenger, Gmail, and Netflix.
2nd Most Popular Free Apps Download in 2019
When you combine downloads from both the Apple App Store and Google Play, TikTok was the second most downloaded app in the world during 2019, second only to WhatsApp. It benefited from a late surge in Q4, taking to from 4th to 2nd position. TikTok garnered 738M downloads across iOS and Android in 2019.
According to Apptrace, the TikTok app is currently available in 141 countries. It is in the top 25 overall in 135 of these countries.
However, although TikTok shows the app TikTok - Make Your Day as being available in 141 countries, it shows TikTok - Global Video Community as being in a further 13 countries. This means that some form of TikTok is available in 154 countries.
Highest Social Media Engagement Rates Per Post
TikTok has the highest follower engagement rates across 100,000 user profiles sampled in an online research project conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub.
119 Million Active Users in India
India is another populous country whose youngsters are attracted to TikTok. There are now more than 119 million active users in India. Indeed, TikTok was downloaded 277.6 million times in India in the first 11 months of 2019 alone.
Highly Popular in Many Asian Countries
TikTok’s support has grown dramatically in most Asian countries. As well as the nations separately mentioned here, it is particularly loved in Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
400 Million Active Daily Users in China
Active daily users in China (mostly of the Douyin version) now exceed 400 million. Douyin has established itself as the largest knowledge, culture, and art platform in China.
800 Million Active Users Worldwide
It can be easy to forget the size of some of the less traditional markets. The original TikTok / Douyin app hit 500 million global monthly active users in mid-2018, thanks mainly to China’s social media video craze. TikTok has continued to grow in popularity since then at a rapid rate. Wallaroo estimated that TikTok would have increased its user base to 800 million since then.
Most Downloaded App in Google Play Nov 2018
In November 2018 (after the Musical.ly merger) TikTok finally took the coveted #1 position in the Google Play Store in the USA, with 2.78 million downloads.
Between $800M and $1B Purchase Price
Although nobody has ever publicly disclosed the exact purchase price Bytedance paid for Musical.ly, most pundits estimate that it was in the range of $800 million to $1 billion.
TikTok has truly entered the international stage and is now available in 39 languages.
Interestingly there seem to be differing opinions as to the number of languages available on TikTok. According to Wikipedia and several other online sources (including an earlier version of this article), TikTok comes in 75 languages. However, TikTok’s support states that “TikTok is currently available in 39 languages. You can change the language displayed in your TikTok app anytime.”
200 Days to Develop
It took 200 days for the Chinese development team to create the original version of Douyin / TikTok.
1 Million Videos Views per Day in First Year
Within a year of TikTok’s development, it had already reached the milestone of 1 million views per day.
40.3 Million Fans –TikTok Record
@lorengray, American singer and social media personality Loren Gray is now TikTok’s most successful account outside China, with 40.3 million fans. She took over the coveted Number 1 position from previous leaders, Lisa and Lena Mantler who deleted their account in March 2019, due to privacy concerns and loss of interest in the platform.
50.7 Million Fans – Douyin Record
There is something of a battle going on for the top position of Douyin. Dilraba Dilmurat and Chen He alternate the lead at various times, depending on who attracts the most followers each month. Actress, model, and singer, Dilmurat, currently holds the Douyin record having now passed the 50 million following.
2014 – Muscal.ly Launch Year
The first prototype of Musical.ly was released in April 2014, and the official version was launched in August of that year. It took Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang about 6 months to build the product, after originally designing it as an online self-learning platform. This did not gain traction, so Zhu and Yang shifted their focus to a platform that incorporates music and video in a social network.
2016 – TikTok / Douyin Launch Year
The Chinese company, Bytedance launched Douyin in September 2016. They branded it TikTok when they entered the international market in September 2017, but they still keep the original name in their home country.
1.9 Billion Installations
TikTok has been installed on devices over 1.9 billion times worldwide. It passed the 1 billion milestone in February 2019. Overall, 44% of TikTok’s downloads occurred in 2019
$3.5 Million Estimated Monthly Earnings
TikTok's earnings have risen proportionately with its increase in popularity. While the most recent figures available come from before TikTok introduced its advertising market, they still show a sizeable increase in monthly earnings. By October 2018, TikTok was earning $3.5 million per month from in-app purchases, such as emojis and digital gifts. With the introduction of the formal advertising market, it is likely that TikTok's income is now considerably higher than this.
20% Revenue from the USA
20% of all TikTok revenue comes from the USA. This is actually smaller than previously, with China still being the primary revenue source, 69%. Before the arrival of ads, 42% of revenue came from the United States, but this excludes income from the Chinese Android version of the app.
$50M Spending on TikTok
In total, users had spent $50 million on TikTok as of the end of October 2018 (before TikTok introduced advertising).
More Than 90% on Android Devices
Echoing Android’s smartphone market dominance, more than 90% of the TikTok downloads have been made to Android devices. The sole exception to this is the USA, where there are more iOS users. The vast majority of India’s 190.6 million TikTok fans use the Android version of the app.
Nine Out of Ten TikTok Users Use the App Multiple Times Daily
According to official TikTok statistics, its users are loyal and keep on returning to the app. Indeed, 90% of users use the app multiple times per day.
6th Ranked Video Player / Editor in India
SimilarWeb ranks TikTok Lite as #6 in its list of free video players/editors in India. The full version fo the app ranks #15.
46 Million US Installs
There were 46 million US installs of TikTok in 2019. This was 6% of global downloads.
52.1% Engagement Rate
While there are multiple ways to calculate engagement rate, Cloutmeter indicates that TikTok users average a healthy 52.1% engagement.
As with most types of social media, these rates vary greatly depending on the size of your following. TikTok users with fewer than 1,000 followers have an average engagement rate of 144.9%. This number reduces as follower numbers rise, with a notable drop from 74.1% engagement for accounts with 10,000-50,000 followers to 10.6% for accounts with 50,000-100,000 followers.
The most accounts that Cloutmeter analyzed came in the range of 100,000-500,000. These accounts averaged a 5.9% engagement.
500% Increase in In-app Spending
TikTok enjoyed a massive 500% increase in in-app spending between May 2018 and April 2019, taking it to $7.4 billion. It has undoubtedly continued to grow at a rapid pace since then.
25.8% of US Users Aged 18-24
TikTok's user base still very closely matches that of Musical.ly. Most of its US users are young, with 25.8% aged between 18 and 24. A further 24.5% are aged 25-34, suggesting that many TikTok users have stayed with the app, despite reaching their 25th birthday.
68% Watched Someone Else’s Videos
68% of engaged TikTok users claim to have watched somebody else’s video in the last month.
63% Liked Someone Else’s Video
63% of engaged TikTok users claim to have liked a video in the last month.
63% Followed Someone in the Last Month
63% of engaged TikTok users claim to have followed someone in the last month.
55% Uploaded a Video in the Last Month
53% of engaged TikTok users claim to have uploaded a video in the last month
54% Commented on a Video
54% of engaged TikTok users claim to have commented on somebody else’s video in the last month.
43% Uploaded a “Duet” Video
43% of engaged TikTok users have uploaded a “Duet” video.
1,000,000 Estimated Daily Page Views
TikTok’s website reached the milestone of 1,000,000 estimated daily page views on Jan 5, 2019.
421 Alexa Ranking
In early March 2020, TikTok’s website had an Alexa ranking of 412 (i.e., Alexa estimates the site to be the 412th most viewed website in the world). This compares to an Alexa ranking of 3,225 in early-January 2019 and 4,778 in mid-November 2018. This change clearly demonstrates the increased popularity of TikTok in recent times.
530.1 Million Views for #ThinBlueLine
TikTok’s support base is widening – it is no longer just a site for short music videos and lip-synching. The #ThinBlueLine hashtag, featuring law enforcement videos, has received 530.1 million views. This is a massive increase from the 37 million views recorded in the previous 2019 version of this post.
113 Million Downloads in February 2020 Alone
TikTok’s stellar success keeps on rolling along like a juggernaut. According to Sensortower, people downloaded TikTok 113 million times in February 2020 (and that was a month with just 29 days).
That made TikTok the most downloaded non-gaming app that month.
323 million App Installs in India in 2019
Although TikTok has always been very popular in its home country, China (albeit as Douyin), it was India that saw the most significant growth in 2019. It grew so rapidly that the Indian government became concerned enough to ban it for a while. Despite this, there were still 323 million app installs in India that year.
49% of Teenagers Have Used TikTok
TikTok very much appeals to the young, although it seems to be keeping its audience as they age. While only 9% of US internet users claim to have used TokTok, 49% of teenagers claim to use the platform.
Bytedance Valued at $78 Billion
Bytedance was valued at $78 billion as of November 2018. If you allow for TikTok’s stellar 2019 success, the company is probably worth much more today. People describe it as being one of the world's most valuable unicorns (private firms worth $1 billion or more.)
Ban Cost 15 Million New Users
Indian legislators were so concerned about TikTok that they temporarily placed a ban on the app in 2019. They were worried that TikTok would expose children to inappropriate content. While the ban didn’t last long, it cost the app an estimated 15 million new users.
37% of US TikTok Users Report Household Income of More Than $100,000
TikTok is Most Popular in the USA with members of affluent families. According to MarketingCharts, 37% of its US users come from households with an income of $100,000 or more.
However, it is also relatively popular with low-income families. 18% of its users claim to be from households earning less than $25,000 per annum. These statistics will be skewed by the exclusion of those aged under 18 – a large proportion of TikTok's target audience. Also, many of the lower-income households could well be student flats, poor now, but potentially well-off once they graduate.
TikTok is Used by 2 Million More Women Than Men in the US
TikTok is used by 2 million more women (8.2 million) than men (6.1 million) in the US. Its reach is highest among females ages 18-24 (14.9% adoption).
More Balanced Use in Japan
When you look at the demographics of TikTok's Japanese users, you see a more balanced approach. Both genders use TikTok approximately equally in Japan. Also, the two highest age groups to use TikTok in Japan are teenagers (15%) and users in their 40s (12.1%).
Indian Users Predominantly Male
The most significant increase in TikTok users over 2019 was in India. Unlike in most other countries, the typical Indian TikTok user is a male in his 20s. Indeed 90.5% of Indian TikTok users in December 2019 were male.
74% of TikTok’s Users Were Active in December 2019
The average person has downloaded many apps to their phone, which they rarely use. However, TikTok users continue to use the app once they download it. According to App Ape statistics, 22.6% of users actively used it for at least 2/3 of the month. Indeed, only 26% of those who had downloaded TikTok failed to use it during December 2019, meaning that 74% used it at least once.
TikTok’s Users Are Aging with the App
There is no doubt that TikTok is extremely popular with teenagers across the world. However, there is now some evidence that its user base is aging. People aren't just giving up on TikTok because they believe they have outgrown it. This is particularly evident in some regions. In countries such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, membership among 25-34 year-olds is higher than among 16-24s.
Activities of 460,000 Families Shared on Douyin in 2019
Katherine Wu has annotated and translated an official 2019 Douyin Data Report that gives a fascinating insight into the typical Douyin user. It disclosed that videos shared on Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) in 2019 included videos of 460,000 families, 3.8 million parents with their children, 1.76 million videos welcoming newborns, and 7.09 million videos on weddings.
Most Popular Type of Dog in Douyin Videos is the Husky
The Douyin data report goes on to extrapolate some conclusions from the videos people shared on Douyin in 2019. The most popular type of dog was the husky. The most popular type of cat was the Dragon Li (a Chinese version of a tabby), and the most popular type of duck was the call duck. The most popular profession shown as the subjects of Chinese videos were teachers, followed by nurses and firefighters.
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