Last year, Indians spent 240% more time on TikTok than in 2018

Just five more minutes.
Just five more minutes.
Image: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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In India, 2019 was the year of the TikTok.

The country’s obsession with it—a staggering 240% annual increase in time spent—fuelled the short video-sharing platform’s astronomical global growth last year. The Chinese app is fast becoming a global social media leader, according to a report released last week by mobile app data and analytics company App Annie.

TikTok also emerged as the most downloaded mobile application in India in 2019, followed by Facebook, video-sharing app Likee, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, according to App Annie.

India in TikTok-land

Its home country still remains TikTok’s leading market.

Users in China account for eight out of every 10 minutes spent on the app globally, said App Annie. Their combined 7.2 billion hours spent on TikTok in 2019 is still an unassailable lead over the rest of the world.

However, the app’s popularity outside China hinges on India’s tier-2 and tier-3 cities. TikTok’s emphasis on visual content, use of music, and an algorithm that allows for instant virality have broken through literacy barriers to capture the attention of non-metro users.

Indians accounted for 48% of the 1,560 hours spent on TikTok by users outside China.


However, TikTok’s journey in India wasn’t smooth. The Bytedance-owned app was banned temporarily by the Madras high court in April 2019 for allegedly featuring pornographic content. It was also mired in global security concerns and censorship requests.

In spite of these controversies, however, Indians remain hooked.

Meanwhile, if Firework’s entry into India last September and Facebook’s plan to launch Lasso by May 2020 are anything to go by, Silicon Valley’s gearing up to lock horns with Bytedance in the country.

For now, though, India’s got eyes only for TikTok.