Average US TikTok User an Adult ‘Well Past College Age’: CEO

  • TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said the average TikTok user in the US is “an adult well past college age.”
  • He mentioned the demographic info in his prepared remarks for his testimony Thursday before Congress.
  • Over 60% of Gen Z adults use TikTok daily, a 2023 report from Morning Consult found.

TikTok’s average US user might be older than you’d guess.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew revealed this week that the app’s average user in the US is “an adult well past college.” 

Chew made the comment in his prepared written testimony published ahead of a planned appearance before US lawmakers as part of a Congressional hearing about security concerns with the app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

“Although some people may still think of TikTok as a dancing app for teenagers, the reality is that our platform and our community have become so much more for so many,” Chew said in the prepared remarks.

A leaked sales presentation obtained by Insider in 2021 revealed that, at the time, 42% of TikTok’s users were between the ages of 18 to 24, and 17% of its audience were between 13 and 17 years old.

Now, it’s estimated that over 60% of Gen Z adults use TikTok daily, compared to over 20% of US adults who use the app daily, according to a January 2023 data research report from Morning Consult. Facebook, YouTube and Instagram still beat out TikTok by drawing in higher percentages of US adults who used those social platforms daily, according to the research.

But TikTok’s popularity is undeniable, and major social media companies have taken note and tried to replicate the success of the platform. Although Google and Meta have invested heavily in rival products, such as YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels, the tech giants have yet to meaningfully steer users away from TikTok, according to Morning Consult. 

But as TikTok is faced with greater concern over data privacy in the US, it’s possible more users could switch over to Instagram or YouTube.

TikTok’s CEO is about to be grilled over security concerns

The Biden administration is reportedly threatening to ban TikTok in the US if its parent company, ByteDance, doesn’t spin-off the app, and the company is going all-out to try to quell Washington’s concerns.

Two days before the hearing, Chew appeared in a video on TikTok’s official account where he spoke about the ban and how the app currently reaches 150 million monthly active users in the US, including 5 million businesses.

In his prepared remarks, Chew also mentioned the app’s reading community, called BookTok — a section of the platform he said has generated over 100 billion views. BookTok has also been attributed with creating a surge in book sales in the publishing industry over the last few years.

“TikTok has empowered millions of Americans to express their voices in their own authentic way and has provided a global stage for their creativity in a way that cannot be replicated on any other platform or in any other medium,” Chew said in his written remarks.

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