TikTok, a short-form video social platform, is now more popular with KSA internet users than Facebook, according to a report released today by socially led creative agency We Are Social and Hootsuite, a global social media management software.
TikTok’s penetration rate in KSA rocketed by 24 percentage points to 64% in 2021. KSA has the largest audience reach on TikTok with 87.9% of this audience available to advertisers via the medium.
During the same period, Facebook usage tumbled by 11% in KSA to 63%, meaning it is now at number seven in the top ten social platforms in the country. It has been overtaken not only by TikTok but also by Snap, which is now used by 69% of Saudis, up 16% points in 2020.
The report also reveals that the UAE's 59.7% of the population are now regular users of TikTok. It trails only KSA in terms of the potential audience reach for advertisers, a figure currently standing at 81.3% for audiences above the age of 18 years. Snap and Instagram also boosted their user numbers in UAE, up by 6% and 10% year on year respectively.
Saudis spent significantly more time on social networks during 2021 than they did a year before, with average use up by almost 10% to 3 hours and 24 minutes a day. There has also been a 5% increase in the number of people who are active on social media, bringing the total up to 29.3 million, representing 82.3% of the population.
Time spent on social platforms also rose in UAE, with the daily average for 2021 standing at 3 hours and 4 minutes, compared to that of 2 hours, 55 minutes the year before.
In both markets, a high percentage of internet users turn to social channels for brand and product information – 80% for KSA and 76% for UAE.
Other key findings for the Digital 2022 report for UAE and KSA include:
Platform Usage - Consumers in both UAE & KSA have proven to be hyper fluid across platforms, with the average number of social platforms being used by internet users aged 16-64 in KSA at 7.7 and UAE at 7.8.
Gaming - Both countries remain in the top 10 global ranking for internet users aged between 16 to 64 years, who play video games on any device, with 90.3% in UAE and 91.4% in KSA – ahead of the global average of 83.6%.
Streaming - Time spent watching television (broadcast + streaming) had increased dramatically in 2020 in KSA, a symptom of the global pandemic & local lockdowns, from 3 hours 27 mins to 4 hours 13 minutes per day; however this figure in 2021 has decreased back to pre-pandemic consumption times of 3 hours 35 mins.
Social Media for Work - KSA remains in the top 10 global ranking of internet users ages 16-64 who use social media for work purposes, almost 8% above the global average.
Akanksha Goel, CEO at Socialize, part of the We Are Social network, commented on the report, “The role of digital and social in our lives continues to change, with more and more people discovering the power of TikTok’s fabled algorithm, delivering content which isn’t just well-tailored but which inspires and educates in a way we haven’t seen before. The opportunities here for brands in KSA & UAE are huge, with our high penetration of consumers gaming and our superfluidity across social platforms – it is definitely time to hone social community-based strategies, regardless of what industry or category your brand sits in.”
For more on trends on social media, the internet, gaming, smart homes, and e-commerce, read the Digital 2022 report here.