If you follow the news at even a cursory glance, you’ve likely heard a bit of buzz in recent days about TikTok, the president’s desire to ban it due to concerns about national security, and then Microsoft swooping in for a potential purchase of the Chinese app. 2020, right?

All of that aside, new CivicScience data point to continued growth in TikTok’s user base since the beginning of 2020.

In Q1 of this year, 10% of Americans aged 13 and older claimed to be users of TikTok, and that number is up to 14% in the Q3 to date numbers (as of August 4).

Though users have grown overall, daily use peaked amid lockdowns, but has begun to taper off, being swapped with weekly use instead. Perhaps this is due to people getting back to work again or the ability to patronize businesses that were closed in March, April, and May.

It’s Not the Young Folks

The group driving overall TikTok user growth may surprise you. According to the same data set, segmented by 13-24 year olds, use of TikTok has actually declined a bit in the past 7-8 months among the youngest Americans.

The other three age group segmentations, however, have shown increases of the percentage of people who say they use TikTok at all. Yes, though slight, users of TikTok have even grown among those 55 and older. TikTok has gained the most from 25-34-year olds (up from 11% in Q1 to 16% in Q2) and it appears to only be going up one month into Q3, sitting at 19%. 

Even those in the predominantly Gen X group (35-54) have latched on to the platform amid the pandemic. Just 7% reported using it at the beginning of the year, and that’s up to 12% as of August.

The overall user base shift appears to be more so among women. The below data show Q1 data, compared to TikTok users from April 1 and on. Among men, the shift was insignificant, but among women, there’s a noticeable three percentage point difference in a positive direction.

Among the entire data set since January 1, political affiliation of adult TikTok users (those who can vote) is pretty even, though Liberals show a slightly bigger inclination toward the app.

Current Times

To see how TikTok Users compare to non-users amid the pandemic, CivicScience cross-tabulated some key indicator questions, which revealed some telling distinctions. While some of them may be a proxy for age, the data is notable.

TikTok users are much more likely to dine in at a restaurant amid the pandemic than non-users. They are food ordering fanatics, too.

When it comes to job status, TikTok users over-index in working reduced hours and getting paid less right now. In fact, users are nearly twice as likely as non-users to report this current job status as a result of the pandemic.

TikTok users are also more likely to have resumed ‘normal’ activities when they were allowed to do so, but have since pulled back. 

Overall, TikTok is clearly expanding its user base to older generations by the day, but the decline of daily app use (likely spurred by initial lockdown measures) is something to watch. With potential upcoming changes of ownership, CivicScience will monitor how this is impacted.