Gen Z’s Rapid Adoption Of TikTok Continues

Where can Gen Z be found online? In the U.S., increasingly, the answer is on TikTok. Data from eMarketer shows that after rapid growth in 2019 and 2020, by the end of 2021, TikTok will have a larger number of Gen Z users in the U.S. than Instagram and it will surpass Snapchat in terms of total users by 2023.

This year in the U.S., TikTok is expected to have 37.3 million Gen Z users—born between 1997 and 2012—who access their accounts at least once per month. For comparison, Instagram will have 33.3 million users within the same demographic.

“Instagram’s user base is steadily aging,” says Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. “This year, its fastest-growing age group will be ages 35 to 44 [up 7.2 percent], while gains will be much slower among teens 12 to 17 [0.7 percent] and young adults 18 to 24 [ two percent]. However, Gen Z will still make up nearly three in 10 users on Instagram [28 percent] this year, so advertisers can still find them on the platform.”

Snapchat, meanwhile, is the leading social network in the U.S. among Gen Z, with 42 million users in the group this year. While it will maintain that position through 2025, TikTok will narrow the gap considerably by the end of the forecast period.

“TikTok has incredibly strong engagement and loyalty among Gen Z. The members of this generation are using it not only to be entertained, but also increasingly to learn about and discuss weightier issues such as climate change, politics and news,” adds Williamson. “Other social platforms also offer such content, but TikTok’s unique video style and aesthetic is strongly appealing to young people.”

eMarketer has increased its user projections for TikTok, now that the threat of it being banned in the U.S. has died down. Total users in the U.S. will grow 18.3 percent this year to reach 78.7 million. As a result, TikTok is now on pace to surpass Snapchat in terms of total users by 2023. At that point, TikTok will have 89.7 million users compared with Snapchat’s 89.5 million. Instagram still far exceeds TikTok and Snapchat in terms of total users. The Facebook-owned platform will have 118.9 million users this year, up 3.7 percent over 2020.

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