TikTok Is Upstaging The Old Guard In South Africa’s Shifting Social Media Landscape

By  |  July 4, 2023

Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok, a subsidiary of ByteDance, has gained major ground in the South African social media landscape, surpassing Instagram to claim the second position, according to recent research conducted by brand intelligence consultancy Ornico and technology research firm World Wide Worx.

In their report titled “South African Social Media Landscape 2023,” the researchers revealed that Facebook continues to dominate the social media scene in South Africa, with an impressive penetration rate of 56.7% among individuals aged 15 and above residing in urban areas. However, TikTok has experienced explosive growth and now holds a substantial 30.6% share, solidifying its position as the second most popular platform. What’s noteworthy is that TikTok’s appeal extends beyond its primary target audience of under-15s, as it has made significant inroads into the 15+ market.

The findings are based on the Ask Afrika’s Target Group Index survey, which collected data from 24,744 respondents, weighted to represent the South African population of approximately 28.1 million people.

Arthur Goldstuck, the head of World Wide Worx, emphasized the significance of the youth audience in South African social media usage, stating, “When a platform like TikTok, which has deep reach among those aged under 15, breaks through to this extent in the older youth market, as well as among young adults, we can see the landscape undergoing a significant shift.”

Despite TikTok’s surge, Instagram remains a popular choice among South African social media users, boasting a penetration rate of 27.6%. Twitter, despite its troubled takeover by Elon Musk, still retains a significant following in the country, capturing 22.5% of the market.

However, Twitter experienced a decline in the percentage of major brands utilizing it as a marketing platform, dropping from 69% to 63% compared to its peak of 88% in 2019.

In contrast, professional networking platform LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, lags behind in terms of popularity but still maintains a healthy 14.7% penetration rate, considering its focus on the professional demographic and lack of youth appeal.

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