Instagram is becoming cheugy for Gen Z youth. Forrester just got data back from its Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics® US Youth Survey, 2021, which shows a 13-point year-over-year increase in weekly usage of TikTok (from 50% to 63%) among US Gen Z youth (ages 12–17). For that same audience base, Instagram weekly usage declined 4 points year over year from 61% in 2020 to 57% in 2021, while Snapchat remained flat at 54%.

Gen Z Youth Say TikTok Is Funnier And More Positive Versus Other Social Media Apps

Outside of TikTok’s meteoric rise within the cultural zeitgeist, we wanted to find out why Gen Z youth are choosing TikTok over Instagram and Snapchat. Using Forrester’s ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community (MROC), we asked parents to have a discussion with their 12-year-old to 17-year-old kid(s) about what, specifically, they like about TikTok more than other social media choices. Responses fell into three main categories involving TikTok’s:

  • Entertainment value. Respondents frequently used the word “fun” and “funny” when relaying their kids’ preference for TikTok. As one respondent said: “It has funnier videos.”
  • Short-form variety. TikTok is seen among US youth as an entertaining way to pass the time. The platform’s endless scroll of a random variety of short video clips keeps them engaged.
  • Positive self-expression. The “positivity of TikTok” was cited by several respondents emphasizing their ability to freely express themselves (i.e., dancing) — some of whom are motivated by the potential of fame.

Although TikTok overtook Instagram in 2021, it’s still not the top “social media” app among Gen Z. According to Forrester’s 2021 Consumer Technographics US Youth Survey, 72% of US youth (ages 12–17) use YouTube at least weekly — representing a 3-point increase from 2020.

We’ve got lots of other insights about Gen Z youth from our full survey, including streaming behaviors, brands and values, trust, and more. If you’re a Forrester client, look out for a series of consumer data snapshots planned over the next two months that break down the results of our 2021 US Youth Survey. Tweet me your thoughts at @McProulx, and let’s chat more about the data via a Forrester guidance session.