TikTok is Now Teens’ Favorite Social Media Platform

April 27, 2022

It has finally happened: after 6 years at the top, Snapchat has ceded its position as teens’ favorite social media platform in Piper Sandler’s Taking Stock with Teens survey, with TikTok taking over as of the latest, Spring 2022, edition.

One in 3 (33% of) American teens surveyed for the report named TikTok their favorite social media app, up from 30% in each of the prior 2 waves of the survey. That was enough to overtake Snapchat, which dropped to the favorite for 31% of teens surveyed, down from 35% in the previous survey.

Instagram continues rank third among teens’ favorite social apps, cited by 22% share, equal to the prior survey. All told, one of these three leading platforms was the favorite for the vast majority (84%) of teens, indicating that it’s a three-horse race for teens’ social media time, which averages 4.2 hours per day, according to the survey.

To illustrate the extent to which Facebook has fallen out of favor with teens, just 3% named it their favorite social media platform. That was fewer than pointed to Discord (5% share).

Instagram Still Leads in Monthly Engagement

Although TikTok was named the favorite by a plurality of teens, when broadening engagement to monthly usage, Instagram comes back to the fore. Some 89% of teens reported using the app at least once a month, a considerable hike from 81% in the previous survey and its highest mark in at least the past 2 years.

In fact, each of the top 3 platforms enjoyed a sizable jump in reach, to their highest points in at least a couple of years, if ever. The next-highest engagement was for Snapchat, used by 84% of teens monthly, up from 77% during the previous wave. (As a side note, the study indicates that teen users check Snapchat 30 times a day on average.) Meanwhile 8 in 10 reported using TikTok monthly, continuing an ascent from 73% in the previous survey (Fall 2021) and 69% in the Fall of 2020.

There are signs that TikTok may have the edge on its rivals when looking at other measures of engagement, though. At the end of last year, Forrester Research reported that more teens (63%) were using TikTok on a weekly basis than Instagram (57%) or Snapchat (54%). More recently, a study from Socialinsider (not limited to teens) found that brand post engagement rates on TikTok far surpassed those on Instagram. No wonder that TikTok has emerged as the leading social platform for increased marketer investment this year.

Teen Spending

The Piper Sandler research also examines where teens are spending their money. This recent survey revealed that teens self-report spending an average of $2,367 per year, an increase of 9% year-over-year. 

Some 22% of upper income teens’ wallet share goes towards Food, just edging Clothing (21% share). Among average-income teens, Clothing (20% share) is just ahead of Food (19%). Among upper-income males, Food (23% share) is the clear leader in wallet share, ahead of Clothing (16%) and Video Games / Systems (14%). For upper-income females, Clothing (29% share) is tops in wallet share, followed by Food (22%) and Personal Care (11%).

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 7,100 US teens with an average age of 16.2 and an average household income of $69,298.

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