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TikTok sweeps Britain but Norwegians watch more videos

TikTok sweeps Britain but Norwegians watch more videos

4 -min read
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4 -min read
Listen to this article

[LONDON] One in four Britons use TikTok every month, with 17 million regulars spending just over an hour a day on the app, signalling the upstart social network has built a local following almost half as large as Facebook's in just three years.

The data, seen by Bloomberg and contained within a presentation this summer from TikTok's marketing solutions arm, TikTok for Business, shows that among that group four in 10 are between the ages of 18 and 24 as monthly active users, so-called MAUs. The average Brit uses the app for 66 minutes a day and opens TikTok 13 times in 24 hours. In comparison, marketing and research firms We Are Social and Hootsuite estimate Facebook has 37 million users in the UK.

TikTok has grown prodigiously as more people seek entertainment during lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus. A similar presentation distributed in the first quarter of the year pegged TikTok at 10 million regular users in the UK. A TikTok representative in London declined to comment on the data.

Despite travails in the US, where President Donald Trump has threatened to ban it, and India, where the government barred it from citizens' phones, TikTok has continued to grow elsewhere in the world. Its signature shortform video has proven so popular that Instagram, owned by Facebook, rolled out a competing offering, Reels, earlier this summer, while Google followed with YouTube Shorts, which shares similarities with TikTok.

The future of TikTok's UK business is unlikely to get caught in the crossfire between the US and China. Mr Trump ordered parent company ByteDance to sell its US arm on grounds of national security and privacy - but the UK business is to remain under ByteDance's Chinese owners. Some other details from around Europe: British users are the most numerous in Europe, but they're not the most dedicated. TikTok's 1.2 million Norwegian users open the app 17 times a day, spending 74 minutes scrolling through video.

TikTok also has 11 million users in France, who watch just over an hour of videos each day on average, 10.7 million in Germany, where the company recently announced a new country manager, and 8.8 million in Spain.

A further 9.8 million Italians use TikTok every month, 30 per cent of them aged 18 to 24.

The overwhelming majority of TikTok's users are women: In the UK, it's 65 per cent of them. In Spain, nearly three-quarters of TikTok users are female. TikTok's Nordic audience is more evenly split down gender lines: in Norway and Sweden, 44 per cent of users are men.

"Social media consumption is up and TikTok has played a big part in this," said Mary Keane-Dawson, group chief executive of Takumi, an influencer marketing agency. "We know that the younger generations are social-first, consuming way more TikTok than television. In this current time people are hungry for digital content which is entertaining and positive." The latest numbers, unreported until now, are significantly higher than third-party estimates of TikTok's growth and show the app this year has benefited during lockdown. eMarketer, a US market research company, had forecast the app wouldn't reach 12.5 million monthly UK users until 2023.

Earlier this month, TikTok announced it had more than 100 million monthly active users in Europe - matching the same number in the US, cited earlier this year.

The presentation includes users aged 18 and above, but the percentages of the audience do not add up to 100 per cent in any of the countries - indicating TikTok's potential userbase under the age of 18.

In the UK, 82 per cent of TikTok's audience say they are 18 and over, according to the data - the oldest audience of the dozen or so countries reported. In France, Italy and Spain, around two-thirds of the audience are 18 or older, and 76 per cent in Germany. TikTok's user-base, at 690 million globally as of July, pales in comparison to Facebook, which has 2.7 billion MAUs worldwide, according to its second-quarter results.

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