ByteDance's TikTok had an eventful 2020, setting new records and thriving despite threats of government bans in more than one country. Although the app was removed from India, its biggest market, TikTok's popularity in the rest of the world has continued growing. Driving home this fact, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data reveals that the app—including the iOS version of its Chinese release, Douyin, and excluding third-party Android marketplaces—has now passed 3 billion installs globally from across the App Store and Google Play.
TikTok was the most downloaded and highest grossing non-game app globally in the first half of 2021, reaching nearly 383 million first-time installs and an estimated $919.2 million in consumer spending. Although new downloads of the app were down 38 percent year-over-year from nearly 619 million in 1H 2020—a decline partially attributable to its removal from India's app stores—consumer spending in TikTok was up 73 percent from $530.2 million in the year-ago period.
In Q2 2021, TikTok saw its greatest quarter-over-quarter growth in consumer spending since Q2 2020, climbing 39 percent to $534.6 million from $384.7 million in the previous quarter. TikTok's adoption has also accelerated in 2021, as first-time downloads climbed 2 percent Q/Q to 177.5 million in Q1 2021, and surged 16 percent Q/Q to 205.4 million Q2 2021, the most growth the app has seen since its record-breaking Q1 2020 when it accumulated more than 315 million installs, the most any app has seen in a single quarter.
With the 3 billion install milestone, TikTok is the fifth non-game app to join a tier that's historically been the exclusive domain of Facebook. Based on worldwide installs from the App Store and Google Play and excluding pre-installed apps, the four other apps that have accrued more than 3 billion installs since January 2014 include WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram.
Consumer spending in TikTok has now surpassed $2.5 billion globally. Only 16 non-game apps have seen more than $1 billion in gross revenue since January 2014—five of which, now including TikTok, have reached more than $2.5 billion. The other apps that have generated more than $2.5 billion in consumer spending include Tinder, Netflix, YouTube, and Tencent Video.
TikTok's metrics tell a story of astounding growth, but it doesn't stand unchallenged in the social video space. Popular apps such as YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram have integrated similar features into their platforms, hoping to appeal to new and existing users. Standalone competitors such as Kwai and Moj are also jostling to lead the pack. To stay competitive, ByteDance will undoubtedly continue to innovate and build out the creator ecosystem on TikTok.