App Annie predicts TikTok to reach 1.5 billion active users in 2022

The mobile market estimate service provider expects social apps to see $9 billion in app spending next year.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

Mobile data analytics platform App Annie has released its predictions for 2022, forecasting major milestones for TikTok, Pinterest, and metaverse-based apps.

App Annie predicts that the popular video app TikTok will surpass 1.5 billion active users, something that took apps like WhatsApp nearly two years longer to accomplish. 

"TikTok has grown at a rapid rate compared to social-media rivals in 2021, even after it was banned in India in June 2020 -- previously one of their top high-growth markets," App Annie analysts explained.

"TikTok's global rise could be carving out time away from video streaming providers and attracting significant advertising dollars due to their wide reach and deep user engagement. TikTok will continue as a disruptive and genre-blending force in 2022 as they expand their investment in shopping."

App Annie's data also led them to predict that TikTok will surpass 3 billion global downloads and $3 billion in global consumer spending across iOS and Google Play thanks to live streamers promoting in-app purchases. 

Researchers with the company also suggested Pinterest and Temple Run 2 will join the billion downloads club. They attributed Pinterest's rise to its growth in emerging markets like Brazil and other countries across South America.

Subway Surfers and Candy Crush Saga are the only games to ever reach over 1 billion lifetime downloads, meaning Temple Run 2 would become the third to join the club. App Annie said Subway Surfers will likely reach 2 billion downloads sometime soon, "cementing its role as the most popular mobile game of all time."

Mobile games based in the metaverse will reach more than $3.1 billion in annual spend next year while social apps are expected to grow to a $9 billion market on mobile, according to App Annie.

"In 2022, world-building functionalities that allow users to interact in real-time through their virtual avatars will captivate audiences and capture share of wallet. Smartphones give users the ability to participate in a metaverse from their fingertips, cementing mobile's role as a linchpin form factor for this sector of gaming," App Annie said. 

"Facebook's re-name to 'Meta' is another testament to the predicted growth in demand for metaverses. ROBLOX, one of the most well-known metaverse apps, ranked #1 worldwide under Simulation > Creative Sandbox games by both downloads and spend across iOS and Google Play in 2021 to date (Oct 2021). Minecraft followed closely, ranking #4 by downloads and #2 by spend."

App Annie said there has been a startling increase in "play-to-earn" models of gaming that allow players to monetize their activity, leading to an evolving gaming industry.

App Annie added that they expect the financial involvement of Gen Z to grow by 160%, predicting increases in the amount of time younger generations spend on financial apps. Robinhood, Coinbase, and Webull Stocks topped the list of crypto-trading apps that Android users spent the most amount of time on in 2021.  

"2022 will be an unprecedented opportunity to engage Gen Z on mobile -- as a mobile-first generation on the verge of financial independence, this is the time to cultivate customer loyalties on their preferred device: mobile," App Annie said.

Video streaming subscriptions are expected to drive the financial growth of entertainment apps to $12 billion. 

YouTube managed to reach the $3 billion spend club in October as more people pay for the ad-free version of the app. Other entertainment apps that are on the rise include Discovery Plus, NFT app VeVe and anime app Funimation. 

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