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Carefree 15 to 24-year-olds flock TikTok’s way during lockdown


By John Glenday, Reporter

September 9, 2020 | 4 min read

TikTok has emerged as a primary beneficiary of social distancing rules, with new data suggesting that 15- to 24-year-olds in the UK have been directing much of their newly acquired free time towards the Chinese video-sharing platform, doubling the platform’s reach among this demographic. The findings are from an IPA Touchpoints study drawn from a representative sample of 6,000 UK adults.


TikTok doubled its reach from 14% to 30% in the UK during lockdown

What media are young people consuming?

  • Data compiled by the IPA indicates that the 15- to 24-year-old demographic has greatly expanded their television and video viewing habits, with time spent consuming content rising 17 minutes per day to 3 hours and 58 min.

  • Paid-for, on-demand video has enjoyed a concurrent boom, with Netflix viewership rising from 66% to 73% and viewing hours rising 11 minutes to 2 hours and 34 minutes.

  • More time spent consuming content has translated into greater engagement, with TikTok doubling its reach from 14% to 30% and YouTube expanding its reach from 60% to 63%.

What is the consumer mindset for this age group?

  • TouchPoints figures illustrate an 18% decrease in the number of young people reporting stress, from 71% to 58%, since the imposition of lockdown. This is reflected in a near 10% decrease in the number feeling frustrated, from 62% to 56%.

  • 15- to 24-year-olds are also rising an hour later in the morning, at 8am, with relaxation time jumping from 3 hours 43 minutes a day to 4 hours 15 minutes.

  • Among the pastimes young people are turning to is gaming, which increased by 43 minutes a day to 3 hours and 19 minutes. Allocation of time to cooking is also on the rise, increasing by 10 minutes on average to 1 hour and 8 minutes.

  • Elsewhere, spending time getting healthy is on the up, with the percentage of those using parks and green spaces going from 38% to 50%, the percentage of those running or jogging rising from 26% to 29% and those cycling from 9% to 14%.

  • Young people are also reading more, allowing 56 minutes a day to the pursuit (up from 44 minutes) with a commensurate rise in magazine consumption (both online and digital) from 22% to 27%.

  • Finally, there has been a big increase in the proportion of people planning ahead to improve their life skills, with those looking to the future numbering 43%, up from just 37% before.

How are 15- to 24-year-olds communicating?

  • Voice video calling has surged to 2 hours and 12 minutes a day, up from just one hour and 45 minutes. Adoption rates for the medium have also jumped from 47% to 76%.

  • Social media hours have leapt by 40 minutes a day to 3 hours and 47 minutes, and social messaging has increased by 10 minutes a day to 3 hours and 8 minutes.

  • Conversely, landline, email and text messaging have all decreased.

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