It’s no secret that, with some help from the pandemic, TikTok engagement has grown considerably in the past year. While much of that growth has been among young adults, the so-called “Clock App” has won the hearts of teens. Not only did TikTok surpass Instagram as teens’ favorite app last year, but recent data from Forrester found that TikTok has also eclipsed Instagram in terms of weekly reach among teens ages 12-17.
The survey of more than 4,600 US online consumers ages 12 to 17 indicates that TikTok – which is expected to have 37.3 million Gen Z users by the end of the year – experienced a 13 percentage point year-over-year increase in weekly reach this year. In 2020, 50% of teens used TikTok on a weekly basis, while this year 63% of teens use the app weekly.
By comparison, fewer Gen Zers surveyed use Instagram (57%) this year than did in 2020 (61%). Even more telling, weekly usage of Instagram dropped by 7 percentage points between 2019 and 2021.
Though weekly usage of Snapchat fell from 60% in 2019 to 54% in 2020, it has remained steady into 2021. While weekly usage has dropped off from what it was two years ago, teens still favor Snapchat. Recent research from Piper Sandler shows that Snapchat has consistently been the favorite social media platform among US teens since 2016.
Youth Are More Entertained by TikTok
When asked why they prefer TikTok over other apps, teens explained that the app provides entertainment and is funnier than other apps. They also cite short-form content, endless scroll and the ability to freely express themselves in a positive way as reasons they like TikTok.
While TikTok has outperformed its steepest competition, it still is not the most used app among teens. Indeed, per Forrester’s data, 7 in 10 (72% of) teens use YouTube on a weekly basis. However, when it comes to teens’ daily video time, YouTube is competing with Netflix, a battle in which the latter has a slight lead. However, even here, while Netflix and YouTube are the preferred platforms, it appears teens are starting to spend more time with other streaming services.
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About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 4,602 US online consumers ages 12-17.