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  • Writer's picturePeter Hammer

Has TikTok clocked up much reach in Singapore?

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

Lots of people are predicting that 2020 will be another big year for TikTok. Even Snap Inc.’s CEO Evan Spiegel says that TikTok could become bigger than key rival Instagram!

The social video platform, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, was the second most-downloaded app across the App Store and Google Play globally in 2019 according to Sensor Tower. Many of these downloads have come from high-growth Asian markets – with its strong install base in China, and 323 million (44%) of 2019 installs originating from India.

Many marketers are keen to play with this new kid on the block – especially for the younger (Gen Z) market. There is limited usage and audience data available, however GlobalWebIndex data published in Vogue Business, showed that 41% of TikTok’s US users are aged 16 to 24. While the younger (under 18) market is important to many brands, the platform is unlikely to attract large-scale advertising spending without also attracting mainstream audiences.

We collected social media usage data from Singapore in Q4 2019 to understand the consumption behaviours of a broad population of 18 to 69 year olds.

Social Media Brands: % brands used in the past weeks by social media users

Despite all the hype, we found that claimed usage is still relatively low. Overall, TikTok weekly usage was similar to Snapchat, at around 12% of those who had used social media within the last week.

In line with other data, the usage was higher among the younger population. That is, we saw that 65% of TikTok users surveyed were in the younger age bracket (18 to 34), or put another way, 22% of social users aged 18 to 34 had used TikTok in the past week.

We also collected other profiling characteristics about these users. Interestingly, we found that TikTok users had a slight skew to males (58% male : 42% female), and more often worked full-time in larger businesses, compared to non-users. We also observed that TikTok users were heavier media consumers generally, especially for video mediums, and had above-average short-form video (e.g. YouTube), TV and cinema weekly consumption.

What this data tells us is that despite all the excitement, TikTok is still small among the mainstream audiences (18 to 69) in Singapore, relative to other social media brands. This is not to say that it will always be small, but we would caution too much focus on the social video platform just yet, without more robust usage data. Or put another way, marketers need to give TikTok more time to grow it’s mainstream user base before plunging much larger investments into the platform.

If you’re keen to know more about this work, please do reach out at

A further thought :

A clear limitation of this data is that we haven’t included any time metrics here (we didn’t collect it). While we can’t know for sure, we would expect usage time to increase with penetration (reach), as has been clearly observed for other social platforms in currency data (see the differences in Unique Audience and Time per Person for Facebook and Instagram Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings in Australia for October 2019). Functional differences in the platforms (i.e. the focus on video) will also impact usage, but we see in the same data (October 2019) that reach and time-spent figures for YouTube and Facebook aren’t that different.



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