Video-sharing platform TikTok has become the first app that isn’t a mobile game to generate $10 billion in global consumer spending, according to a new report, and is expected to become the highest earning app ever.
The other four apps identified by app intelligence provider data.ai as having reached the milestone are all games: Candy Crush Saga from Activision Blizzard, Honor of Kings by Tencent, Monster Strike from Mixi and Supercell’s Clash of Clans.
Candy Crush is the current all-time top earner with than $12 billion in lifetime user spending, according to the Monday report. The totals are based on revenue derived from Google Play and Apple’s iOS App Store. But TikTok is expected to be even bigger than the popular game.
“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,” Lexi Sydow, head of insights at data.ai, said in a statement introducing the report.
“TikTokers are poised to spend a 40-hour work week each month in the app by the end of 2024, [which is up] 22% from 2023,” she added.
The spending comes from TikTok’s in-app purchases of “coins,” which can be used to buy gifts for influencers on the platform. These gifts reward creators for their content and can be cashed out, with TikTok retaining 50% of the payout.
According to data.ai, TikTok’s most popular in-app purchase this year has been its bundle of 1,321 coins for $19.99, which said it makes up about a quarter of the app’s in-app revenue. Besides in-app spending, the wildly popular short-form video app has other other revenue streams including advertising and e-commerce.
The data provider said dating app Tinder and video platform YouTube are the next closest apps to the $10 billion milestone, but they trail TikTokby between $2 and $3 billion as 2023 comes to a close.
TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, has won a pair of back-to-back court victories in the United States early this month that are likely to make it harder for the company’s critics to clamp down on it.
Concerns about TikTok’s connections to China have led governments worldwide to ban the app on official devices. The app has also been accused of addicting teen users and causing other mental health harms, which TikTok denies.