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26% of Gen Z users ‘chose’ TikTok as their no. 1 social media platform: Reporter

The New Consumer Founder and Editor-in-Chief Dan Frommer sits down with Yahoo Finance Live to break down his latest report, including how generations are using popular social media platforms, the popularity of TikTok's marketing in younger demographics, and Facebook and YouTube's positioning in the space.

Video Transcript


SEANA SMITH: Well, speaking of TikTok, it's one of the many topics covered in the latest Consumer Trends Report that we just got from the New Consumer. Here to tell us about it is New Consumer Founder and Editor-in-Chief Dan Frommer. Dan, great to have you. Let's start with TikTok, the popularity of it. It was downloaded, what, over 4 billion times since 2018? Talk to us just about that and who is exactly downloading TikTok.

DAM FROMMER: Right. Well, social media is now almost 20 years old, which is a crazy thing to say. But Facebook, kind of famously, very much a thing with millennials and older Americans. But we've seen that Gen Z, the youngest-- well, not the youngest, but a younger group of American consumers who are kind of entering their prime age of their professional careers, their prime spending areas-- spending era, so we pay a lot of attention to them, they really love TikTok. They love TikTok in a way that previous generations don't.

We asked a poll of 3,000 Americans last month-- if you were trapped on a deserted island, you could only use one social media site, basically forever, which one would you pick? And overwhelmingly, older Americans, not even old people, but millennials and older, chose Facebook. 53% of those people chose Facebook in our survey, whereas TikTok really resonates with the younger consumer. Gen Z chose TikTok as their number one. 26% chose TikTok, Instagram after that, and then Facebook third place after that. So really, a big difference there between Gen Z and the rest of the US consumer population.

By the way, hat tip to the great analyst Mark Mahaney for first, I believe, entering that survey into my life. He started asking that survey question many years ago-- the stock analyst-- and I thought it would be fun to redo that one with today's era of social networks.

And what's great about TikTok or what's interesting about it, going back to the thing you were just talking about with Amazon, it's not just that people are watching TikTok for mindless entertainment, although that is, in our survey, the number one use for TikTok, 43% of our survey panel of TikTok users said that mindless entertainment is their-- is the reason that-- one of the reasons they use TikTok.

But really, it's used for so many more things. We asked-- which of the following have you done because of a TikTok video in our survey? And 35% of people said that they prepared a new food or beverage recipe. 30% of people basically said they developed a new interest or hobby.

27% of people said that they purchased a new product. So-- and, in fact, even more than 10% of people said they traveled to another city or country because of TikTok. So it's really interesting. This is a great form of digital native entertainment, but it really is so much more. And that really speaks to its power.

DAVID BRIGGS: Yeah, you know, I thought it was really interesting that 22% of the people said that they use it for news, which was news to this old guy. One interesting thing that made me very happy about TikTok-- I judge it-- but almost no one said it gets them stressed out or sad. It makes them happy and amused was the overwhelming emotion, according to your survey, not the case always with Instagram.

But, Dan, your numbers also found a reminder. Facebook is still massively influential, 2 billion daily active users. And in terms of those asked who they could not live without, millennials and older, it was easily number one. We so often talk about the death of Facebook and the death of Meta. Your survey says not so fast.

DAM FROMMER: Precisely, not so fast. You know, you could say that perhaps growth has slowed for Facebook, both in terms of their user base and their revenue. But it's still the most popular social network on the planet. It has a lot of use cases.

You think, oh, when's the last time you uploaded a photo to Facebook? Maybe years ago. When's the last time you published an album of pictures to Facebook? Probably right after college or something like that. But there's so many more things that people do on Facebook they're not even thinking about, using their marketplace, using groups.

I'm in a group for my car, my television, my camera, just enthusiast groups of people that have the same stuff as I do. And we share tips and tricks. We ask, hey, what do you-- what do you do when this thing does this thing? It's actually phenomenally useful. And it's a Facebook property that we're not even really thinking about the fact that it's part of Facebook.

But there we are using Facebook every day. So it is tremendously useful. It certainly is having trouble with younger consumers, though, and that's why you see, both in the Facebook app and in the Instagram app, this very thirsty Reels product trying to steal the magic of TikTok. And still yet to be determined if that's going to work or not.

SEANA SMITH: Dan, you also asked the deserted island question that you asked of social media-- you asked it when it came to streamers. And what topped the list was YouTube. That took me by a bit of a surprise. Maybe we're underestimating YouTube's role here when we think about the future of TV.

DAM FROMMER: Totally. That was one of the more surprising things, not only because YouTube did so well on this question-- again, the question was, if you are trapped on a deserted island-- so thank you Mark Mahaney for that inspiration-- and could only access one streaming platform, which would it be? And YouTube was-- and this is over 3,000 Americans we asked, YouTube was number one with 27%. After that, Netflix number two with 26%. And then kind of a steep drop off, you have Amazon, Hulu, Disney, et cetera.

The streaming wars that people talk about are typically you think about Netflix and Disney, maybe some Hulu, maybe some Amazon and Apple, but they're kind of in it for different reasons, then a long list, and then you get to Paramount Plus and Peacock and whatever it is. YouTube is almost never in that conversation. And I think that at this point, YouTube is now underrated and underappreciated as part of the future of entertainment and TV.

It is kind of a different product. The types of long-form narrative, story and drama and comedies and that sort of stuff that you would watch on a Netflix or a network show, YouTube has more YouTube native content, whether that is vloggers or ASMR or short shows, whatever it is, explainers.

There's some really great content on YouTube that wouldn't make sense probably on HBO or something like that. But it really, really makes sense on YouTube. And so it's a little tricky to compare them apples to apples. But I think the point is, the consumer says, that actually YouTube is their number one choice if they were to pick one of those.

DAVID BRIGGS: Get your Yahoo Finance on YouTube, of course. The New Consumer Founder and Editor-in-Chief Dan Frommer. Good to see you. Great revelations. Appreciate that.