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WINNING THE SOCIAL MEDIA WAR

A record number of Apple users downloaded TikTok last quarter

TikTok head office in United States
Reuters/Mike Blake
Top of the charts.
  • Ananya Bhattacharya
By Ananya Bhattacharya

Tech reporter

Published

Massively popular TikTok has become even more popular.

The Bytedance-owned app reached a new high of 69.2 million downloads globally on the Apple app store in the quarter ending September 2021, up a whopping 38% from a year ago, data from analytics firm Sensor Tower show.

Across both the App Store and Google Play (for Android users), TikTok has been the most downloaded app worldwide for five consecutive quarters now.

It became the first non-Facebook app to pass 3 billion downloads in July, and was also the highest-earning app during the July-September quarter.

TikTok’s Douyin advantage in China

The figures also include the downloads for Douyin—TikTok’s twin in China.

The Chinese variant’s reach is massive: In 2020, Douyin users comprised more than two-thirds of China’s mobile social network users and three in five smartphone users, eMarketer’s data show.

Like TikTok, Douyin also has entertaining videos and scores of influencers on its platform. But in many ways, it’s a more advanced version of the international app. The Chinese app, also owned by parent firm Bytedance, offers shopping tools, hotel bookings, virtual city tours, coupons and more, all within the app ecosystem.

Moreover, a pared-down “lite” version of Douyin—which also had its best-ever quarter on the Apple app store in the last three months—boosted overall numbers further, Sensor Tower noted.

Everyone wants to be TikTok

The US tried to block TikTok, and India and Pakistan actually did it. And yet, nothing has stopped its march. As of Sept. 27, TikTok claims to have over 1 billion monthly active users. Its biggest markets are the US, Europe, Brazil, and southeast Asia.

Of course, rival apps are taking the fight to TikTok’s turf. In June, Instagram, which has been aggressively pushing its TikTok-clone feature Reels, said its “no longer just a square photo-sharing app.” Additionally, it’s been actively curbing the reach of users recycling watermarked TikToks.

Meanwhile, tech giants Facebook and Google-owned YouTube are also aping the app, and even discussion forum Reddit is exploring the format. But it’ll take some doing to emulate TikTok’s current supremacy.

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