TikTok surges past Facebook in average monthly time spent per user

Social platform also set to surpass one billion users in 2021, according to App Annie.

TikTok: average of 19.6 hours spent per month on app across Android users
TikTok: average of 19.6 hours spent per month on app across Android users

TikTok users in the UK almost doubled the time they spent using the app last year, from an average of 10.8 hours a month among Android users in 2019 to 19.6 in 2020, according to research from mobile data and analytics company App Annie’s state of mobile report.

The increase resulted in the short-form video-sharing platform overtaking Facebook, which grew its average hours per month from 14.3 to 16.6. TikTok is also well ahead on this measure against Facebook's other three main apps: Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

The data for other countries shows similar trends, with the average monthly hours spent using TikTok roughly doubling in the US, France and Germany. 

The report, which explores mobile trends across gaming, social network and marketing, found that the total time spent on Android mobiles by users worldwide surged in 2020 to reach 3.5 trillion hours – up 25% from 2019.

"The world has forever changed,” Theodore Krantz, chief executive of App Annie, said. “While people stay at home across the world, we saw mobile habits accelerate by three years."

TikTok was the second-most-downloaded app in the UK last year (across both Android and iOS), behind video-conferencing platform Zoom and ahead of the NHS Covid-19 app. TikTok topped the chart in the US (followed by Zoom) as well as France, Italy and Spain.

But it remains some way behind its more-established social-media rivals by number of monthly users. In the UK, TikTok does not make the top 10 apps on this measure, while WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are in the top five (along with Amazon). In the US TikTok is ranked tenth, with Facebook's apps dominating the top five.

However, App Annie predicts TikTok is on track to surpass 1.2 billion active users in 2021. 

TikTok ranked second in Campaign’s top brands of 2020 (behind the NHS), in light of a staggering uptake in adult visitors at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The social-media platform also launched its first TV ad, “A little brighter inside”, with cameos from Little Mix and Tinie Tempah and diver Tom Daley.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that TikTok faced potential legal action for violating children’s privacy law

App Annie's data shows that older consumers are increasing their use of mobile apps at a faster rate than younger people. Those who are 45 years old and above increased their time spent with the top 50 apps by 27% year on year. For the 18- to 24-year-old and 25- to 44-year-old age brackets, it was 18% and 17% respectively.