TikTok is top-grossing iOS app for December

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U.S. investigations of TikTok gather steam.
TikTok had a very strong 2020.
Photo: Kon Karampelas/Unsplash CC

TikTok, the ultra-popular short-form video app, finished 2020 on a high note as December’s top-grossing non-gaming app. According to app analytics platform Sensor Tower, TikTok pulled in $142 million that month across iOS and Android.

That’s 3.3 times the revenue TikTok produced in December 2019. The overwhelming majority of this money (86%) came from China, where TikTok is known as Douyin. The United States ranked second for TikTok spending, accounting for 7% of revenue.

In second place on the list — both in terms of overall revenue and specifically on iOS — was YouTube with $95 million in gross revenue.

While the Sensor Tower report doesn’t break down the revenue split between iOS and Android, Apple’s platform pulls in significantly more money for developers. That’s despite the fact that iOS runs on a smaller number of handsets.

TikTok throughout the year

Looking back at Sensor Tower’s reports for the year, TikTok consistently appeared as the top-grossing app. It came in at the No. 1 slot in eight months out of 12. Its lowest-ranking month was January 2020, when it came in at No. 6. By February, it climbed to the No. 3 spot. In March, it came in No. 2 after YouTube. After that, TikTok remained No. 1 for every month except August, when it was briefly overtaken again by YouTube.

While TikTok proved extraordinarily successful in 2020, it was also an extremely turbulent year for the platform. President Donald Trump spent much of the year trying to get TikTok removed from the App Store for alleged security reasons. In August, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigned after just three months at the helm.

At the start of 2021, TikTok feels like it’s in a great place to continue its string of successes. Buoyed by strong user reviews and more growing mainstream awareness (bolstered by emerging TikTok superstar influencers like Charli D’Amelio), the app is in a very strong position.

Source: Sensor Tower