HomeSocial NetworksFacebookStudy: TikTok is rapidly catching up to US services among young people

Study: TikTok is rapidly catching up to US services among young people

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TikTok teaches the big social media platforms to fear. The short video service, which is heavily controlled by algorithms, is particularly popular with young people.


The dominance of social media companies from the USA among young people in Germany is being shaken by the rise of the Chinese short video portal TikTok. This is the result of Postbank’s representative youth digital study, which was published in Bonn on Thursday. Accordingly, the US services YouTube from the Google group Alphabet and WhatsApp and Instagram from the Facebook group Meta are still the most used platforms among young people. More than three quarters of 16 to 18 year olds use them regularly. However, TikTok is catching up rapidly because the Chinese service is growing faster than YouTube & Co.

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According to the study, 63 percent of young people on TikTok now regularly watch videos or upload clips themselves. At the beginning of 2020, only a quarter of young people used the platform. The service from the Chinese ByteDance group is more popular with girls (70 percent) than with boys (56 percent).

However, the study also shows that the steep growth curve at TikTok is slowly flattening out: from 2020 to 2021, the number of users grew from 27 to 58 percent of all young people in Germany. Last year, TikTok gained only five percentage points. The service from Beijing is still two percentage points ahead of YouTube growth. Instagram has stagnated and WhatsApp has even lost users.

In addition to TikTok, platforms from the second row, which are unknown to many adults, also benefit from the weakness of the social media pioneers among young people: Discord was able to increase by six percentage points from 29 to 35 percent. The live streaming video portal Twitch, which also serves as a chat platform, increased slightly by one percentage point to 24 percent.

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Last year’s winners included the long-established adult network Twitter. It increased by six points from 17 to 23 percent among young people like Discord. Pinterest rose from 23 to 28 percent.

The big loser among young people in Germany is Facebook. The former giant of the social media industry has completely lost touch here and is only ranked 10th among the most used networks. Facebook is only four percentage points ahead of Telegram among young people. The use of the platform is also declining: it fell from 17 to 15 percent of those surveyed. The few who remain use them less and less to give others an insight into their lives. The proportion of users who disclose personal information there fell from 47 to 38 percent.

Notes on the methodology: 1,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 18 were interviewed for the study between May and June 2022. In order to depict a structure that is representative of the population, the sample was weighted according to federal state, age and gender. The questions were: “Which of the following channels do you use to obtain information or to exchange information about specific topics?” and “What do you talk about most frequently with other users via the individual channels? So what is the main topic in each case?”

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