Business Insider Edition

TikTok hit 1.5 billion downloads, and is still outperforming Instagram

Isobel Asher Hamilton , Business Insider US
 Nov 18, 2019, 04:55 PM
TikTok has seen a meteoric rise.
Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
  • App analytics site Sensor Tower reported Thursday that TikTok has been downloaded 1.5 billion times to date.
  • The short-form video app continues to grow, with its downloads 6% stronger than this time last year.
  • It is the third most-downloaded app outside of gaming this year. Numbers one and two are WhatsApp and Messenger, while four and five are the Facebook app and Instagram.
  • TikTok poses a major threat to Facebook and Instagram in particular.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Short-form video giant TikTok is still gaining traction.

According to data from analytics site Sensor Tower TikTok has hit 1.5 billion total downloads across the App Store and Google Play. It hit 1 billion downloads in February of this year, and has raked in 614 million downloads so far this year - which Sensor Tower notes is 6% more than this time last year.

Much of TikTok's growth has been driven by an explosion of users in India, who accounted for 31% of the app's downloads. Its second-biggest market was China which made up 11.5% of downloads, then the US with 8.2%.

TikTok is becoming a growing threat to Facebook, especially given its popularity with the younger Generation Z, a demographic Facebook is eager to recapture. Sensor Tower reports that TikTok was the third most-downloaded app behind WhatsApp and Messenger, but came ahead of Facebook and Instagram.

Essentially, TikTok is the only app in the top five that isn't owned by Facebook.

TikTok's main competitor from Facebook's roster of apps is Instagram, which TikTok outstripped by roughly 238 million downloads so far this year.

It's important to caveat that the downloads number doesn't mean that TikTok is bigger than Instagram overall, although it's probably close. Instagram had one billion monthly active users in 2018, suggesting the number is now higher. TikTok hit the same milestone in June 2019. So Instagram is probably ahead by a narrow margin.

Facebook has made conscious efforts to mimic TikTok's success. In November 2018 Facebook launched a standalone video-sharing app called Lasso, and leaked audio from an internal meeting showed that CEO Mark Zuckerberg's strategy was to introduce Lasso in markets where TikTok did not yet have a foothold, such as Mexico. BuzzFeed also reported that Zuckerberg spent six months in 2016trying to acquire Musical.ly, the app which would become TikTok.

Earlier this month Instagram started testing a new feature called Reels with its Brazilian users, which was widely perceived as a TikTok clone.

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