TikTok knows no limits, it seems. According to a study, the Chinese application will have more young users than Instagram at the end of the year. Its impressive rise is even forecast to see the social network overtake Snapchat in less than five years.
In two years, TikTok has seen startling growth. Buoyed by the covid-19 pandemic, the new-gen social network, specializing in short-form videos, has been winning over more and more users, particularly younger users. According to research from eMarketer and Insider Intelligence, some 37.3 million US users born between 1997 and 2012 are expected to be using TikTok at least once a month this year. Using the same criteria, Instagram is forecast to have 33.3 million such users in 2021.
"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," said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. "Other social platforms also offer such content, but TikTok's unique video style and aesthetic is strongly appealing to young people." Although faced with an increasingly aging user base and less strong growth among adolescents, Gen Z users nevertheless make up 28% of Instagram users, which still keeps the platform in a competitive position, the study states.
Snapchat still going strong
While TikTok is casting an ever-growing shadow over the most popular social networks , Snapchat seems to be the only contender able to fend off this competition. According to the eMarketer study, the American application remains the leading social network in the US among Gen Z users, with 42 million US users in 2021. According to the analysts, Evan Spiegel's social network will maintain its leading position until 2025, when its Chinese competitor is forecast to catch up.
With the threat of a US ban now diminished, TikTok could grow 18.3% in 2021 to reach 78.7 million US users, across all generations, compared to 87.3 million for Snapchat. But this dynamic could change in 2023 when, according to the eMarketer study, the Chinese social network could finally overtake its American competitor with 89.7 million users on the platform, compared to 89.5 million for Snapchat.
As for Instagram, while TikTok is drawing more Gen Z users, the Mark Zuckerberg-owned social network remains ahead when it comes to total US users using the platform at least once a month. Its growth is also expected to continue, according to the eMarketer data , with 118.9 million users in 2021, 123.1 million in 2022 and 127.2 million in 2023, in the US only.