eMarketer Sees TikTok Topping 50 Million U.S. Users by 2021, 60 Million by 2024

The video creation app’s 97.5% surge in 2019 is not sustainable

Business of Apps estimated that TikTok has 800 million monthly active users worldwide Anatoliy Sizov/iStock

A repeat of TikTok’s breakout year in 2019 is not in the cards, according to research firm eMarketer, but the video creation application is still projected to post solid user growth in the U.S. this year.

eMarketer said TikTok’s user base grew 97.5% in 2019, and it forecasts a 21.9% uptick in 2020, to 45.4 million at year-end.

U.S. user growth is projected to slow into the single-digits by 2022, and eMarketer projects that it will top 50 million by year-end 2021 (reaching 52.2 million) and 60 million as 2024 concludes (60.3 million).


Earlier this month, app industry analysts Business of Apps estimated that TikTok has 800 million monthly active users worldwide, adding that the app was downloaded 738 million times globally in 2019, with 46 million of those coming in the U.S.

Business of Apps added that only 9% of U.S. internet users have used TikTok, and 5% are more interested in using the app, with that figure rising to 49% among teens.

eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said in an email, “TikTok had a breakout year in 2019, and it is incredibly popular among teens at this point. Some are spending multiple hours per day on the app, which is a testament to the incredible stickiness of its scrolling video format. But it has yet to develop a strong following among older generations.”

App marketing intelligence provider Sensor Tower said last November that TikTok topped 1.5 billion total downloads via the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

eMarketer said that in 2020, 21.6% of social networks users in the U.S. will use TikTok at least once per month, and Williamson added, “Properties like TikTok are supporting and creating new forms of self-expression, and brands want to tap into that. It’s an experiment for many marketers. In many ways, TikTok is where Facebook was in the late 2000s, and where Snapchat was three or four years ago.”

The research firm also warned of potential speed bumps for TikTok in the form of competition, as well as questions about censorship, data privacy and brand safety due to its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

Williamson said, “This year, we expect new entrants like Firework and legacy players like Instagram and Facebook to take on TikTok. Instagram is a particularly large threat; it recently added new tools to its Boomerang looping-effect feature that mimic similar features on TikTok.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.