TikTok May Need To Rewind the Clock
January 23, 2024
1 min 52 sec read
TikTok was the world's top app in 2023 when it came to downloads and consumer spending, but it was a far cry from popularity in 2023 for, you know, actual users.
That honor goes to Facebook, holding the number-one spot for monthly users, followed by even more Meta-owned apps, including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger. All of these platforms beat out TikTok, which came in at number five. New data now suggests that TikTok's growth is beginning to get stagnant
, with many suggesting the move into e-commerce brought to you by the TikTok Shop might be at least partially to blame.
In 2022, TikTok's monthly active users expanded an average of 12% year-over-year per quarter but plummeted to 3% year-over-year per quarter in 2023. All of this coincides with the release of the anticipated TikTok Shop, but now many call TikTok an "ad-filled wasteland" and a "dystopian" place. On Reddit, where they blame TikTok Shop for the platform's woes, Reddit users are saying TikTok is overflowing with "people dropshipping/selling cheap products."
Sounds like fun.
"Personally, I'm starting to get really annoyed by how almost every other video on my [For You Page] is someone overhyping a product from the Shop feature to try to get it to go viral and make a lot of commissions," wrote Redditor u/megg-salad-sammich, one of many users who find the new "buy me-buy me" attitude of TikTok annoying.
Creators think it's excellent that TikTok is offering a way for them to put some cash in the bank, but the downside is that many users don't want to waste time scrolling through when they know that just about every video they watch will be trying to hard-sell the latest fashion, music, or whatever random off the wall product they think will get them rich.
To put this in perspective, and so as not to muddy the waters, the TikTok Shop Seller app has grown 230% year over year, but with only 6M monthly active users compared to the platform's 1.4B, it's not all sunshine and roses.
Does this mean people start gravitating to Instagram Reels for fewer ads?
That would be great news for Instagram, which is already on the path to becoming a shopping and influencing hotspot. Instagram got rid of its Shop tab in January of last year and abolished live shopping in March, almost as if they saw the writing on the wall. This could perhaps make it more acceptable to users who want to stay away from those ugly direct calls to action to shop in-app.
This is still speculation because TikTok users haven't yet gotten so fed up with the platform that they're ready to abandon it fully, but it's clear there are some concerns. For now, we'll just have to see how the TikTok Shop saga plays out.
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