Posted: Mon 6th Nov 2023
Almost 1.5m small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are using social media app TikTok to connect with their customers.
The release of the data is the first time the company has unveiled a figure for the number of firms that include TikTok as part of their marketing strategy.
Launched in the UK in 2018, TikTok has a community of 150m users across Europe. Hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt have reached over 74 billion views with users accessing the platform to discover products related to beauty, fashion, food, technology and more.
TikTok commissioned a report by Oxford Economics which found that activity by small and medium sized businesses on the social network contributed £1.63bn to UK GDP last year and supported 32,000 jobs.
The study also found that 38% of SMEs that use TikTok are ethnic minority owned, compared to 28% of all SMEs surveyed, while 31% small firms using the site are run by founders under the age of 30, compared to 19% in the whole sample.
Among individuals using TikTok to engage with businesses, 47% said they have purchased a product or service recommended on the platform at least once in the past year, and 45% have visited an attraction, shop, or restaurant that they had come across on the app.
TikTok also encourages businesses to help users develop of real world skills. For example, among users watching content in the food and drink category, 47% have cooked healthier recipes seen on the platform.
The most popular content categories are entertainment (80%), food and drink (62%), and music (50%), while users in Wales and Scotland are more likely to engage with food and drink content than users in the UK as a whole, and users in London have a higher likelihood of consuming art, beauty and fashion posts.
Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones said:
"TikTok has undoubtedly opened up fabulous new opportunities for the UK's resourceful entrepreneurs to build loyal communities and tap into new markets.
"It has allowed enterprising small businesses to tell their story to a much broader audience, showcasing their ideas and products, and ultimately driving sales.
"TikTok has clearly established itself as a key channel for business growth."
TikTok recently supported the Enterprise Nation Fund competition. After more than 4,500 entries, three small business owners were awarded a £5,000 grant, mentoring from a top entrepreneur and other business boosting prizes.