Forecast: UK TikTok users to surpass 13m in 2021

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Widespread lockdowns across the UK last year drove people to social media, leading many new users to TikTok in the process. Aside from the organic growth, TikTok expanded its operations in the UK which hopes to establish itself as a global tech hub post-Brexit. Last year, the short-form video sharing app grew 75.2 per cent to 9.8 million UK users, reports eMarketer.

This year, that figure will increase 27.6 per cent year over year (YoY) to 13.3 million. eMarketer anticipates that strong TikTok user growth will continue, reaching 25 per cent of UK internet users in 2022 and 25.3 per cent of the population by the end of 2025. Along with this growth, TikTok’s UK social network share (36.4 per cent) will surpass Pinterest’s (26.1%) this year and overtake LinkedIn’s and Twitter’s 33.2 per cent shares next year.

“The pandemic drove the huge surge in users,” said Bill Fisher, eMarketer senior analyst at Insider Intelligence. “But the challenge will be retaining those users as society reopens. The signs are good, though. Key to the platform’s success has been the effectiveness of its ‘For You’ algorithm. Other platforms have struggled to compete in this regard, while TikTok continues to serve addictive and relevant content that has kept users engaged. This, along with early mover advantage, allowed TikTok to attract some big-name content creators to the platform. As a marketer proposition, though, it will need to continue engaging audiences beyond its core demographics—not so easy, as people in the UK become slightly less wedded to their devices post-pandemic.”

Time spent on TikTok among adult users nearly doubled last year to slightly more than 42 minutes per day on average. However, in the coming years, that figure will slowly decline to just over 37 minutes per day by 2023.

“Given TikTok’s explosive user growth, we expect the platform to start attracting more users who are less engaged than the active early adopters,” said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence Oscar Bruce Jr. “These new low propensity users will drive down time spent among adults.”


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