TikTok’s Power Users Are Driven by a Constant Need for Connection

The psychographic profile of those who use TikTok several times a day illuminates what drives their consumption across sectors
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April 10, 2024 at 5:00 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • People who use TikTok several times a day tend to be younger, overindexing with Gen Zers and millennials, and as such often have children in their households. This group reflects Gen Z’s racial and ethnic diversity.

  • The vast majority (82%) of people who use TikTok several times a day say that they like to be connected at all times, 16 percentage points more than the general population.

  • Their strong social media consumption extends across social networks as well as other types of media, like streaming music and movies, and gaming across devices.

A need for constant connection drives TikTok’s most ardent users. A psychographic profile of those who report using the social media app several times a day reveals a desire to be ahead of the curve on trends, striving for social status, and impulsivity. That bodes well for brands that seamlessly integrate commerce with social media, and not just on TikTok Shop. This cohort uses all social media platforms more often than the general population, and is also more likely to shop through social media and mobile apps.

Morning Consult Audience data draws on millions of survey interviews about consumer behaviors, psychographics and demographics, captured daily in more than 40 countries. This enables users to drill down into compelling behavioral segments like this one: U.S. adults who report using TikTok several times a day over the course of the last year.

Demographics of high frequency TikTok users

It isn’t surprising that TikTok’s power users are young, with the highest concentrations among Gen Zers and millennials. Women are slightly more likely to use TikTok extremely often than men, though looking at all users (regardless of frequency) the difference is less pronounced. 

Demographics of High Frequency TikTok Users

Demographic makeup of U.S. adults who use TikTok several times a day
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Morning Consult Audience gathered 37,257 survey responses April 3, 2023 - April 3, 2024 with a margin of error of +/- 0.5 percentage points.

The younger age of this audience influences other demographic facets. They’re more likely to be single, for example, and more likely to have children in their household given that the group over-indexes with millennials, and older generations’ children have moved out on their own. They tend to live in urban areas, and are more likely to be renters than homeowners as compared to the general population. High frequency users are less likely to be white, reflecting the greater racial and ethnic diversity of Gen Z.

High frequency TikTok users feel a need for constant connection, and social status

The underlying motivations of those who spend an inordinate amount of time on TikTok helps to understand why they love the app so much. Their desire for constant connection and impulsivity is well served by the app. The TikTok algorithm creates a feed so varied that if one video doesn’t engage a user, the next one likely will. This audience is always on the lookout for new trends and desires a high social status, so keeping up with the latest fashion, technology, and viral videos helps ensure these users are always in the know.

Frequent TikTok Users Strive for Constant Connection

Shares who agreed with the following statements:
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Morning Consult Audience gathered 37,257 survey responses April 3, 2023 - April 3, 2024 with a margin of error of +/- 0.5 percentage points.

There’s a catch-22 here: the hamster wheel of chasing status by keeping up with social media trends is risky, given the links between screen time, social media consumption and mental health challenges. However, human connection — generally accepted as a positive force in our lives — is increasingly digitized and commercialized. Learning how to enjoy those connections while limiting negative repercussions is a necessary skill for this cohort. 

The need for constant connection extends beyond TikTok

Despite their high volume of consumption, TikTok is only one part of this cohort’s social media ecosystem. People who use TikTok several times a day also use Snapchat and Instagram at much higher rates than the general U.S. population. In fact, they use all 15 social networks that Morning Consult Audience tracks more often than most people, though their consumption of Facebook, LinkedIn and Yelp is least differentiated. 

High Frequency TikTok Users Are Heavy Media Users Across the Board

Shares who said they use the following platforms
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Morning Consult Audience gathered 37,257 survey responses April 3, 2023 - April 3, 2024 with a margin of error of +/- 0.5 percentage points.

One has to wonder if this cohort is ever not looking at a screen. They also play games on phones, computers and consoles more often than the general population, see movies more often (both in theaters and at home via streaming services) and use more mobile app dating services. 

This constant screen time is not just for entertainment value, but is heavily integrated with commerce activity as well. People who use TikTok multiple times a day shop using mobile apps more often than the general population, and are more likely to make purchases via social media (+15 percentage points versus all U.S. adults). TikTok Shop certainly benefits from this behavior, though a recent increase in seller fees might mean the deep discounts the shop is known for are coming to an end. Brick-and-mortar brands can also take advantage of this behavior by drawing users into their spaces: 79% of them say they enjoy the experience of shopping in stores. 

Morning Consult Intelligence customers can access the platform here. If you are interested in learning more about our audience profile data, reach out to your Morning Consult contact or email [email protected].

Claire Tassin is a retail and e-commerce analyst. She conducts research on shifting consumer behaviors and expectations, as well as trends relevant to marketing leaders in the retail sector.
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