TikTok and the Older Generation
June 2020

By Sophie Haugen

Baking, cycling, jigsaw puzzling; it’s fair to say we have all picked up some new hobbies over the last three months whilst in lockdown. However, one of the biggest surprises has been TikTok. Whether you count it as a guilty pleasure or your new go-to social platform, TikTok has infiltrated many a lockdown household with alarming success. According to Sensor Tower, global TikTok downloads rocketed from 199.4M to 315M in 2020’s first quarter. The UK alone is predicted to grow from 4.9 million to over 11 million users by 2023 (eMarketer).


An even bigger shock? Not all users are teenagers. While a Sunday watercolour session may be age appropriate, TikTok – despite its association with pre-pubescent pranksters – is not. Disclaimer: I spent fifty minutes yesterday watching TikTok dance routines and dog personifications (I’m 32).


Curious if you’re the only non-teen to get sucked into the video vortex? Open the app (we know you have it) and search “Over30”. The four billion hashtag views suggest that elderly thirty-somethings are not alone. Even the “Over40” and “Over50” hashtags have a very respectable 1.3B and 314M views, respectively. Fan favourites are Gordon Ramsay jumping on the #FlipTheSwitch trend and dressing in his daughter’s clothes, as well as Dame Judi Dench dance “Dueting” with her grandson.


To learn more about TikTok and its recent surge in popularity, read our blog: “The 5 Key Social Media Stats from Lockdown”.



Is this just the effect of being in a COVID cocoon for too long? Surely the obsession won’t continue when we’re able to knit in a pub again? To answer the question, take a look at how Douyin (China’s TikTok) has performed. In July 2017, the over 25 demographic counted for 48.1% of the app’s user base, whereas in February 2018 this figure had jumped to 68.3% (WalktheChat Analysis). Considering the Chinese platform is a few years ahead of TikTok, it may be an indicator of what’s in store for the older generation on social.

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