TikTok has achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first non-gaming app to generate a staggering US$10 billion in global consumer spending, surpassing even Candy Crush Saga, the current top earner. According to app intelligence provider data.ai, TikTok is expected to approach the US$15 billion milestone in 2024, potentially becoming the highest-earning mobile app ever.

TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, has disrupted the app landscape with its short-form videos, attracting massive user engagement. The achievement is particularly notable as the other four apps in the $10 billion club are all games, including Candy Crush Saga, Honor of Kings, Monster Strike, and Clash of Clans.

Lexi Sydow, Head of Insights at data.ai, highlighted TikTok’s trajectory, stating, “Consumers are spending over US$11 million per day tipping their favorite content creators, propelling TikTok past the world’s most lucrative mobile game to date.” The platform’s revenue is driven by in-app purchases of “coins,” allowing users to buy gifts for influencers, with TikTok retaining 50 percent of the payout.

While TikTok faces criticism for its addictive nature and concerns about its Chinese connections, it has emerged victorious in recent US court battles. As of now, dating app Tinder and video platform YouTube are the closest contenders to the US$10 billion milestone, trailing TikTok by US$2 to US$3 billion as 2023 concludes. TikTok’s multifaceted revenue streams, including advertising and e-commerce, continue to contribute to its remarkable financial success.