TikTok Beats YouTube in Average Watch Time Per User for Apps in US, UK: App Annie


TikTok has overtaken YouTube in terms of average watch time per user in the US and UK, according to a report released by analyst firm App Annie. The short-video app is considered to have “upended the streaming and social landscape”. It led the app market worldwide in terms of downloads in the first half of 2021. The growth comes despite the ban of TikTok in India, which was the largest market for the app. YouTube retains its leadership for overall time spent among social, communication, photo and video, and entertainment apps globally.

The report by App Annie shows that the average watch time per user in the US on TikTok was nearly nine percent more than that on YouTube. However, the gap was much wider in the UK where the average time spent per user on TikTok was over 64 percent more than on YouTube, the data highlights.

TikTok first surpassed YouTube in the UK back in May 2020 and it has maintained the lead since. In the US, TikTok and YouTube have been swapping the top spot since August last year, though the former started to dominate in April this year.

tiktok youtube average time spent us uk app annie image TikTok  YouTube  App Annie

TikTok and YouTube average time spent in the US (left) and UK (right)
Photo Credit: App Annie

It is important to note that the average time spent data posted by App Annie is based solely on the consumption of Android users.

App Annie notes that TikTok’s gain over YouTube “could shake up the rankings in years to come” as people are spending more time on short-video content.

TikTok also continued to lead the worldwide app market on both Android and iOS devices on the part of downloads in the first half of the year. But at the same time, YouTube maintained its domination for overall time spent on Android devices globally. Google’s video platform also managed to beat TikTok in consumer spending in the first half of 2021.

App Annie says that YouTube continues to lead in the streaming, social, and photo and video space due to depth and breadth of engagement. The firm also says that livestreaming is one of the features that is driving growth in time spent.

In the last few months, YouTube has tried taking on TikTok with its feature called Shorts. The company had also announced a Shorts Fund worth of $100 million (roughly Rs. 734 crores) in May to “monetise and reward” creators developing short-video content for its platform.

Alongside TikTok and YouTube, Snapchat is silently growing its presence in overseas markets, with its downloads growing 45 percent in the last 12 months compared to two years prior, according to App Annie. Downloads for Snapchat in India were up by 190 percent year-on-year for the 12 months ending June.

TikTok alternatives MX TakaTak, Instagram, Josh, and Moj were the top four most downloaded apps in the country in the first half of 2021. On the other hand, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Truecaller were the five leading apps in the Indian in terms of the most time spent by consumers. It was similar to the data for the whole of 2020, though Truecaller overtook MX Player to come in the list of the top-five apps where the users spent most time in the country.

The report also mentions that TikTok, Twitch, and Bigo Live were among the top 10 apps by consumer spend worldwide in the first half, thanks to in-app gifting mechanisms introduced by these apps. In India, Disney+ Hotstar continued its domination on the consumer spending front, followed by Chamet, Tango Live, Truecaller, and Zee5.

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