People like to laugh. And that leads to Tears of Joy accounting for over 5% of all emoji use in 2021. We also love to love. That put the heart in second place.
The Unicode Consortium compiled a list of all the most popular emoji for the year. And also shared data on the different types of emoji that get used the most.
Top 10 most popular emoji
The emoji most often used worldwide are:
😂 — Tears of Joy
❤️ — Red Heart
🤣 — Rolling on the Floor Laughing
👍 — Thumbs Up
😭 — Loudly Crying
🙏 — Folded Hands
😘 — Blowing a Kiss
😍 — Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes
😊 — Smiling Face with Smiling Eyes
The list comes from the Unicode Consortium, the organization responsible for deciding which emoji will be available. Who also points out that 92% of the world’s online population use emoji.
What makes an emoji popular?
Because the Unicode Consortium gets to decide on future emoji, it wants to know what makes some of the current ones popular but leaves others gathering dust. As it points out, the top 100 emoji make up about about 82% of total emoji usage, leaving 3,563 mostly ignored.
Its research shows that non-literal uses is the key to success. For example, in the clothing category, the most popular option is the Crown 👑. That’s because it denotes someone in charge, not just a funny hat. And the Rocket Ship 🚀 shows progress being made or anticipated.
The least popular emoji are flags. Especially country flags.
“This data is a strong signal to encode fewer specific concepts like flags and less single-use objects like shower caps,” says the Unicode Consortium. “And, instead focus on globally-relevant, well established communicative concepts.”
Source: Unicode Consortium