Where will TikTokers turn if it’s gone? New study offers insight

HIGH POINT — With the potential for a ban of TikTok on the horizon, brands and marketers are working to understand the audience for this platform and anticipate where they might go if the popular byte-sized video app bites the dust.

A recently released study from Numerator sheds light on who the generic “TikTok” user is, what their consumption habits are like, as well as some of the key demographic and social currents underlying its usage on a larger scale.

The study found that, while TikTok users skew younger, their habits trend toward social media consumption in general rather than a strict preference for specific apps.

According to Numerator psychographics data cited in the study, 31% of U.S. adults use TikTok, making it the fifth most popular social media app behind Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. TikTok is especially popular among Gen Z, with 76% using it. Usage drops with older generations: 40% of Millennials (fourth-most-used app), 36% of Gen X (fifth-most-used app), and 18% of Boomers (sixth-most-used app).

The study found that 53% of Gen Z users spend 1-2 hours daily on TikTok compared with 40% of all consumers. Gen Z users are also 51% more likely to consider social media in general as the most influential advertising touchpoint. Therefore, brands targeting younger consumers might find TikTok ads particularly effective, but they are by no means the only touchpoint for this demographic.

Influencers reign supreme on TikTok, no secret to anyone who has used the app, and the study found this to be true. TikTok users are almost twice as likely to follow celebrities and influencers on social media compared with the general population. According to Numerator’s Influencer & Celebrity Impact on Shopping Behavior report, over half of Gen Z influencer brand purchasers know about a brand’s connection with an influencer, the highest of any generation.

Additionally, TikTok users spend more time on their mobile devices, with 41% using them for more than six hours daily, compared with 31% of all consumers. The most popular content on TikTok includes comedy, entertainment, recipes and life hacks, while only 26% of users use the app to learn about news and world events.

Tik Tok ban?

The study also went into what might happen to Tik Tok shop in the event of a ban. It found that TikTok Shop is filled with ads, and its shoppers are often on the lower end of the income spectrum, more likely to be Gen-Z and to identify as LGBTQ.

The Tik Tok shop user is spending an average of $28 on the platform three times a year and is 4x more likely to shop at Temu, 3x more likely to use DoorDash, 2.5x more likely to use UberEats, and 2x more likely to shop online at brands like Ulta, Kohl’s and Target.

The potential TikTok ban has made national news, and the study shows that U.S. consumers, especially TikTok users, are paying attention. Among all U.S. consumers, 40% are very familiar with the ban, while 13% are unaware of it. More than half (53%) said they would be neutral if the ban happened, 30% said they would be somewhat or very happy, and 17% would be upset.

See also:

  • Tik Tok engagement grows, along with shopping on the app: YouGov survey
  • How can online retailers prep for a potential TikTok ban?
  • Battle lines drawn for Tik Tok as parent company says it has ‘no plans’ to sell
  • How can online retailers vibe with Gen-Z? E-comm software exec shares 3 tips

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