It’s a record-breaking year for short-form video and social app TikTok, which has become the first mobile app to generate over $10 billion in consumer spending worldwide during a single quarter in Q1 2023.
The platform soared into the year with over $6.2 billion of consumer spending and has added another $3.8 billion onto that total throughout the year. That’s the equivalent of 61% from where it stood at the beginning of 2023 — and 15% greater than 2022’s total sum.
This milestone makes TikTok one of only five mobile apps to cross such a threshold — and the only one that isn’t a mobile game. It has the honor of sitting among mobile gaming greats like Candy Crush Saga (King/Activision Blizzard), Clash of Clans (Supercell), Honor of Kings (Tencent), and Monster Strike (XFLAG/Mixi). The non-gaming apps that come the closest to meeting TikTok at the $1 billion mark are Tinder and YouTube, but they still trail by around $2-3 billion.
That spending comes from TikTok’s in-app purchase of “coins,” which are used to buy gifts for influencers on the platform. Gifts can be cashed out, and reward creators for their content, with TikTok keeping 50% of the payout.
“TikTok is poised to become the highest earning mobile app ever — approaching the $15 billion milestone in 2024. Consumers are spending over $11 million per day tipping their favorite content creators, propelling TikTok past the world’s most lucrative mobile games to date,” said Lexi Sydow, Head of Insights at Data.AI in a statement about TikTok’s report, noting that TikTok users are poised to spend a 40-hour work week each month in the app by the end of 2024 — up 23% from 2023.
TikTok’s most popular in-app purchase this year is its bundle of 1,321 coins for $19.99, which reportedly makes up around a quarter of the platform’s in-app revenue. The short-form video app also generates revenue through advertising and e-commerce.
Concerns about TikTok’s connections to China via its parent company ByteDance have led governments across the globe to ban the app in some form. TikTok has won two back-to-back court victories in the United States earlier this month, which will likely make it harder for the company’s critics to enact change in meaningful ways.