31% of Americans agree with Trump to ban TikTok in the United States

A few weeks ago, President Trump issued an executive order giving ByteDance 90 days to either ban TikTok’s operations in the U.S. market or sell them to an American company in order to continue its activity. Trump mentioned in his order: “There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” TikTok jumped from 269th position to 4th position in the global app download rank in February 2019 & today its estimated monthly active users (MAUs) are approximately 800 million users worldwide.

Trump’s decision to potentially ban TikTok in the U.S. has raised a huge debate on whether his decision is in the right direction. At Pollfish we surveyed 1,000 TikTok users in the U.S on presenting their view on this matter. The results can be found here.

48.75% of Americans who currently use TikTok, disagree with the President’s Trump decision to possibly ban TikTok from the US market within the next few weeks.

TikTokers are not confident about whether or not TikTok will eventually get banned from the US market.

Almost 40% believe that TikTok will eventually get banned from the US market.

TikTok’s competitive landscape

At the moment, the American market does not have a frontrunner for replacing TikTok in case it’s banned from the U.S. market. Rumors for its potential buyers have been witnesses like Microsoft, Twitter, Oracle & Facebook. However, without a deal in place, it’s unclear which apps would be able to take some of TikTok’s glory. In the Pollfish survey:

9 out of 10 TikTokers are willing to replace it with a similar or competing app.

There are a number of apps that can be considered as direct competitors of TikTok like Triller & Dumbmash and some others which have released features like short-form video and a combination of editing tools and music. Those are Snapchat and Reels by Instagram. In the Pollfish survey, TikTokers were asked which app(s) they are willing to replace TikTok in case it is banned in the US.

The majority of respondents selected Snapchat (72.8%) which is not a direct competitor of TikTok. However, Snapchat announced earlier in August that it will be testing a new feature allowing its users to set in their snaps to music similarly to TikTok. This will enable Snapchat to capture a part of TikTok’s audience in the US

The second most popular candidate for a replacement of TikTok was the Reels by Instagram (40.46%), which was launched last month. Reels is allowing users to edit a 15-second video clip in combination with various camera filters and music. However, Reels has gathered mixed reviews so far. According to The New York Times, Reels is characterized as a “dud” on arrival. Moreover, NYT’s mentioned that “Not only does Reels fail in every way as a TikTok clone, but it’s confusing, frustrating and impossible to navigate. It’s like Instagram took all the current functionality on Stories (a tool to publish montages of photos and videos with added filters, text, and music clips), and jammed them into a separate, new complicated interface for no reason”.

On the direct competitors’ side, the apps which were most popular on the users’ preferences were: Triller (19.66%), Dubsmash (18.97%) & Likee (16%) For example, Triller can automatically edit user videos using AI-powered software compared to TikTok users can edit their own videos. Last month, Triller rose to the top of the App Store charts across 85 countries including the United States. Triller’s success in the U.S. can follow the same pathway within the Indian market since TikTok faced a ban in India as well. That made Triller the №1 app for photos & videos in India last July.

Similarly, according to App Annie, Dubsmash reached 800k weekly active users during the week of August 2nd to August 8th.. It got as high as №10 in overall downloads on AppStore. Both Snapchat and Facebook have reportedly held discussions for the Dubsmash’s acquisition. The discussions took place in the last weeks but they didn’t progress further. Therefore, concluding that the TikTok’s events during the last month have concentrated the interest of different players on the space, for either taking the throne from TikTok in case it is banned from the US or taking advantage of the uncertainty this situation has brought by rising on the charts.

No one really knows what would happen if TikTok would entirely disappear from the U.S.market. Definitely, a drain of its users across competitive apps would further take place. Others said that other foreign-owned apps might also get banned beside TikTok & WeChat.

32% believe that other foreign-owned apps should get banned as well from the US market.

In conclusion, the next steps with TikTok’s story in the United States have already created some consequences in the industry: apps like Triller have been grown in terms of users (and logically revenue), TikTokers seem to have a strong bonding with the “TikTok habits” for 2 reasons: firstly they disagree with the ban scenario and secondly, they have already explored alternatives in case the ban scenario takes place.