TikTok Makes History as First Non-Game App to Hit $10B in Consumer Spending

TikTok’s short-form video app is hitting a new milestone. The app, which reached 1 billion monthly active users in 2021, has now become the first non-game mobile app to generate $10 billion in consumer spending across the Apple App Store and Google Play combined, according to a new analysis by app intelligence provider data.ai. The only other apps to have achieved this are all games, including Candy Crush Saga from King/Activision Blizzard, the top earner at over $12 billion, plus Tencent’s Honor of Kings, XFLAG/Mixi’s Monster Strike, and Supercell’s Clash of Clans.

The report notes that TikTok entered 2023 with more than $6.2 billion in consumer spending already and then added another $3.8 billion throughout the course of the year, or 61% growth from the year’s start. The figure is also 15% higher than 2022’s total of $3.3 billion, data.ai says. For reference, its report includes only TikTok’s consumer spending across iOS and Google Play, not the third-party Android app stores in China. That means TikTok’s total consumer spending could be even higher.

The spending comes from TikTok’s in-app purchases of “coins” — a virtual currency that users can spend on gifts for creators on the platform. These gifts reward creators for their content and can be cashed out as fiat currency, with TikTok retaining 50% of the payout. The app’s most popular in-app purchase is a bundle of 1321 coins for $19.99, which makes up a quarter of its revenue. TikTok also generates revenue outside of in-app purchases, like via advertising and e-commerce with TikTok shop, but these weren’t counted in data.ai’s analysis.

Data.ai says U.S. consumers and iOS users in China accounted for the majority of the in-app spending that pushed TikTok to the the $10 billion milestone, as both markets drove approximately 30% of the revenue on their own, or 60% of the total, when combined. Following are other markets including Saudi Arabia, Germany, the U.K., and Japan, which combined accounted for 13% of the app’s in-app purchase revenue.

Though TikTok is the only non-game app to reach $10 billion, other non-game apps pull in billions — but they’re well behind TikTok. Its next nearest rivals are Tinder and YouTube, but both trail TikTok by between $2 to $3 billion, the report notes.

Image Credits: data.ai

“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 game to date: the addictive and beloved Candy Crush Saga,” said Lexi Sydow, Head of Insights at data.ai, in an announcement about the new milestone. “TikTokers are poised to spend a 40-hour work week each month in the app by the end of 2024, +22% from 2023,” she added.

The firm predicts TikTok revenue will grow again in 2024, reaching $15 billion in consumer spending.

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