Best Cities For TikTokers In 2021

Based on 5G coverage, smartphone prices, the cost of living, and more.

View data (.xlsx)

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Best Cities For TikTokers

Boston, USA.

Boston, MA USA 🇺🇸

Fast internet, full 5G coverage, and frequent concerts

Phoenix, USA.

Phoenix AZ, USA 🇺🇸

Fast internet, plenty of WiFi hotspots, and a low cost of living

Philadelphia, USA.

Philadelphia PA, USA 🇺🇸

Fast internet, full 5G coverage, and frequent concerts

Worst Performers

Karachi, Pakistan.

Karachi, Pakistan 🇵🇰

TikTok often banned or restricted

Mumbai, India.

Mumbai, India 🇮🇳

Full TikTok ban ❌

Delhi, India.

Delhi, India 🇮🇳

Full TikTok ban ❌

 

Complete Rankings*

CityCountryAverage download speed (Mbps)Average upload speed (Mbps)WiFi hotspot coverage4G coverage5G coverageiPhone 12 Pro Max 256GB cost (USD)New iPhone release delay (days)TikTok users in the countryMajor concerts each yearAverage unit rent (USD)Overall
BostonUSA15145GreatFullFull1199032.57%203215030
PhoenixUSA11837GreatFullPartial1199032.57%73126529
PhiladelphiaUSA10831LimitedFullFull1199032.57%370164529
New York CityUSA8824GreatFullFull1199032.57%510264529
OsakaJapan13380GreatFullPartial128909.93%3763228
HoustonUSA10332GoodFullFull1199032.57%120138828
IndianapolisUSA10027GoodFullPartial1199032.57%90118228
AustinUSA10067GoodFullPartial1199032.57%125167928
San FranciscoUSA14337GreatFullPartial1199032.57%243339028
AtlantaUSA9626GreatFullFull1199032.57%199159328
Las VegasUSA10331LimitedFullPartial1199032.57%245123028
Los AngelesUSA9928GoodFullFull1199032.57%353235728
LondonUnited Kingdom6545GreatFullFull1514022.07%512233828
San JoseUSA15337GreatFullFull1199032.57%18247827
Hong KongHong Kong16593GreatFullFull1313034.51%6225227
BucharestRomania16869GreatFullFull15082115.37%1247127
ColumbusUSA10428LimitedFullPartial1199032.57%111110827
ChicagoUSA8828GoodFullPartial1199032.57%429182127
MilanItaly10065GreatFullFull1668017.21%44141826
Fort WorthUSA8124GoodFullFull1199032.57%10121726
SeoulSouth Korea657265GreatFullFull142077.02%1098026
San DiegoUSA13432GreatFullPartial1199032.57%113219526
DenverUSA10533LimitedFullFull1199032.57%174182426
San AntonioUSA9425GoodFullPartial1199032.57%41130225
TokyoJapan10559GoodFullPartial128909.93%39116825
JacksonvilleUSA8126LimitedFullPartial1199032.57%41117925
SeattleUSA10934GoodFullPartial1199032.57%129221425
DallasUSA9726GoodFullPartial1199032.57%131150725
MadridSpain135109GreatFullPartial163207.64%21112024
CharlotteUSA8721GoodFullPartial1199032.57%81152324
Abu DhabiUAE8134LimitedFullPartial1394044.32%3126023
RomeItaly6235GreatFullPartial1668017.21%16110323
BirminghamUnited Kingdom2825GreatFullFull1652022.07%75118323
GlasgowUnited Kingdom2526GreatFullFull1652022.07%116115023
BarcelonaSpain6157GreatFullFull163207.64%41149922
WarsawPoland5527GreatFullPartial1617015.16%1078422
RiyadhSaudi Arabia2612LimitedFullFull1359075.54%449722
VancouverCanada6828GreatFullFull1346013.62%92163222
AmsterdamNetherlands6719GreatFullFull1612023.86%132164222
LeedsUnited Kingdom2622GreatFullFull1652022.07%64118322
BerlinGermany4325GreatFullPartial1620011.07%11194222
CopenhagenDenmark9956GoodFullPartial1687013.11%37168621
DubaiUAE7832LimitedFullPartial1394044.32%8158921
CologneGermany6323GreatFullFull1620011.07%50119421
MoscowRussia4215GreatFullPartial1605019.78%2088221
HamburgGermany4216GreatFullFull1620011.07%51111721
MontrealCanada4117GoodFullFull1346013.62%78103521
TorontoCanada6923GoodFullFull1346013.62%211171421
SheffieldUnited Kingdom2120GreatFullPartial1652022.07%37115820
ShanghaiChina177GreatFullFull1558047.52%10115620
CalgaryCanada3715GoodFullFull1346013.62%3697020
BudapestHungary5235GoodFullPartial173508.13%1851320
BradfordUnited Kingdom2718LimitedFullPartial1652022.07%672220
ParisFrance4524GreatFullPartial1632015.27%99140520
ManchesterUnited Kingdom2614GreatFullFull1652022.07%135134020
Mexico CityMexico4117LimitedPartialNone1649016.18%20163020
Tel AvivIsrael6520GreatFullPartial16454231.96%7158119
MunichGermany4828GoodFullFull1620011.07%48127919
StockholmSweden7865LimitedFullPartial1764013.53%48146419
HelsinkiFinland4221GoodFullFull1656013.33%15119419
BeijingChina166GoodFullFull1558047.52%5111919
EdmontonCanada3012GoodFullFull1346013.62%3593519
SofiaBulgaria4526GoodFullPartial168879.91%1349319
KievUkraine4136LimitedPartialNone1593013.22%2958419
St PetersburgRussia3212GreatFullNone1605019.78%952819
EdinburghUnited Kingdom2915GreatFullPartial1652022.07%12162618
PragueCzech Republic3926GoodFullPartial169307.41%2382218
BrisbaneAustralia2710GoodFullPartial1498013.84%51121818
MelbourneAustralia2912GoodFullPartial1498013.84%160133118
OsloNorway4942LimitedFullPartial1736016.92%41161217
AucklandNew Zealand4512GreatFullPartial1596012.34%23129517
ViennaAustria2713GreatFullPartial1620011.23%34106317
LimaPeru4216GoodFullPartial161674.91%850717
BogotaColombia5824LimitedPartialNone168205.41%839116
JohannesburgSouth Africa198GreatPartialPartial18835620.01%544616
DurbanSouth Africa2711GoodPartialPartial18835620.01%237816
IstanbulTurkey186GoodFullPartial20714237.73%1232016
SydneyAustralia2810GoodFullPartial1498013.84%126164616
WellingtonNew Zealand5314GoodFullPartial1596012.34%6151415
SantiagoChile3514LimitedFullPartial179209.78%2244215
Sao PauloBrasil3113LimitedFullPartial228177.04%3644112
KarachiPakistan73LimitedPartialNone1491450.00%318210
MumbaiIndia104GoodPartialNone187270.00%355710
DelhiIndia104GoodPartialNone187270.00%723810

Our Comments

We found that the USA is the best country in the world for TikTokers. American cities took out nine of the top ten spots, as TikTok has extremely high market share in the US, and smartphones cost less in America compared to many other countries.

Boston, MA, topped the list, as it has fast internet and full 5G coverage, allowing TikTokers to upload their creations quickly, and scroll through the app without buffering. The Massachusetts capital also has a decent number of concerts each year, helping TikTokers discover new music to use in their videos.

Phoenix, Philadelphia, and New York City tied for second place, followed by Osaka. Although TikTok isn’t extremely popular in Japan, Osaka has fast internet, and it’s also possible to buy smartphones for a reasonable price in the city.

Other cities underperformed because their governments restrict TikTok usage as of 2021. India has banned the app completely, while Pakistan recently removed TikTok from the App Store after it had been available for the beginning of the year.

– Tom Paton, founder, Smartphone Insight

Performance By Continent

NORTH AMERICA

North America performed extremely well in the rankings, with most cities in the United States making the top 30.

Boston led the way, as it offers a good overall package – fast internet, great 5G coverage, and a good number of concerts. However, other American cities, such as Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Houston had a much lower cost of rent. Charlotte, NC underperformed compared to other US cities, as it has slower upload speeds and only partial 5G coverage.

Interestingly, TikTok is less popular in Canada compared to the United States – since the app likes to promote local content, this meant that Canadian cities generally performed worse than those in the US. Vancouver led the way thanks to its 5G coverage and decent internet speeds.

EUROPE

Despite its high cost of living, London led the way in Europe. It has good internet speeds, and 5G coverage is excellent. Plus, if you visit London, you don’t have to worry about uploading TikToks on your data, as the city has invested heavily in public WiFi infrastructure. London is also a cultural hub, averaging more than 500 concerts each year performed in the city.

Bucharest came a surprise second in the European rankings. Although TikTok is not massively popular in Romania, average broadband speeds are extremely fast, and 5G signal is easy to come by. Plus, it’s cheaper to buy the latest iPhone in Bucharest than in Milan or Madrid, in absolute terms at least.

Other than London, much of the rest of the UK underperformed, thanks to slow internet and inconsistent 5G coverage. Many Scandinavian cities also did worse than average, because of the high cost of living – rent costs and high-spec smartphone prices are relatively high in northern Europe.

ASIA

China is the birthplace of TikTok, and the local version of the app, Douyin, is estimated to have around 500m monthly active users. Douyin users are also helped by the fact that most major cities have excellent 5G coverage, so it’s easy to upload videos on the go. However, internet speeds can be quite low in China, although fast public WiFi is easy to come by in Shanghai.

Other than China, many Asian countries performed well because high-spec smartphones are relatively inexpensive by global standards. Osaka, Japan performed extremely well thanks to its low cost of living and fast internet, although 5G coverage is not available everywhere in the city.

India and Pakistan came at the bottom of the rankings because TikTok is currently banned in both countries.

SOUTH & CCENTRAL AMERICA

Many South and Central American cities struggle with slow internet speeds and a lack of 5G coverage. This makes it harder to stream TikToks without buffering, and results in longer wait times when uploading your newest dance challenge.

South and Central American TikTokers also face high smartphone prices. While the latest iPhone 12 Pro Max costs about $1200 in the US, the same device is nearly twice the price in Sao Paulo. If you’re dedicated to having the best phone camera for shooting your TikToks, living in Brasil makes this very expensive.

Mexico City was the standout South/Central American city, coming in 59th place. The Mexican capital has a decent number of concerts each year, and rent is reasonably cheap. Internet speeds are also good, although 5G coverage could be better.

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

Surprisingly, TikTok is extremely popular in the Middle East. Nearly half of people living in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates use the app. Along with its fast internet speeds, this helped Abu Dhabi to 32nd in the rankings.

However, Middle Eastern and African cities were let down by a lack of 5G coverage. Only Riyadh has 5G data available throughout the city. Meanwhile, Durban and Johannesburg have partial 5G coverage.

Also, the region sometimes struggles with the high cost of smartphones. It generally costs about 50-80% more to buy an iPhone in Africa or the Middle East compared to the United States. South Africans also had to wait nearly two months for the release of the iPhone 12, making it one of the worst places to be if you want to always have the latest smartphone for shooting TikToks.

OCEANIA

Despite TikTok having decent market share in Australia and New Zealand, no cities in Oceania made it into the top half of the rankings.

While Melbourne and Sydney are cultural hubs with plenty of concerts each year, the cost of living is extremely high in both Australia and New Zealand. Rent is expensive, as is the cost of buying a new iPhone.

Also, internet infrastructure is worse in Oceania than in most parts of the US and Europe. Australia has very low average internet speeds, and even the major cities do not have full 5G coverage as of July 2021.

Our Methodology

Here’s how we found and ranked the best cities for TikTokers in the world right now.

Factors we assessed

Average download speed. To browse TikTok for inspiration and watch videos without buffering, you need a good download speed. We used the average download speed to measure the availability of fast internet in the city.

Average upload speed. Even though TikToks must be less than three minutes long, you don’t want to be waiting around forever while your creation is uploading.

WiFi hotspot coverage. When travelling to a given city, you might want to save on roaming charges by uploading TikToks over public WiFi. As well as assessing the availability of WiFi for restaurant and cafe customers, we also looked at to what extent local governments had invested in free public WiFi available for anyone to use.

4G coverage. If you want to upload a TikTok but don’t have WiFi, you need 4G coverage, otherwise your video will take hours to put online.

5G coverage. Similar to the above, having 5G is a massive bonus for uploading TikToks when not at home – and it can also make browsing the app a lot smoother.

iPhone 12 Pro Max 256GB cost. While you don’t necessarily need the newest top-of-the-line iPhone to make amazing TikToks, it certainly helps to make your videos pop. We used the iPhone 12 Pro Max 256GB price to measure the cost of new smartphones in each city.

New iPhone release delay (days). New smartphones are released at different times in different countries. We looked at how long each city had to wait for the iPhone 12 Pro Max to be released, beyond the date it first became available in the United States. While you may not need to immediately upgrade to the newest phone to make good TikToks, major influencers need to have the latest tech as soon as it becomes available.

TikTok market penetration. The TikTok algorithm likes to show videos from local creators. Therefore, to become a TikTok influencer, it pays to be in a country whether the app is popular.

Average number of major concerts each year. Not all TikTok creators are die-hard concert-goers, but concerts are a good barometer of music culture in a given city, and many TikTokers use them to find new music. Plus, the #concert hashtag has 5.5b views on the app.

Average unit rent. Some cities have cheap smartphone prices but a high cost of housing. We looked at the average unit rent to get a better idea of the cost of living in each city.

Scoring methodology

Each factor was given a weighting to calculate each city’s final score. For example, depending on the city’s average internet speed, it got a “score” for this metric:

< 20 Mbps: +0 score
>= 20, < 40 Mbps: +1 score
>= 40, < 60 Mbps: +2 score
>= 60, < 80 Mbps: +3 score
>= 80, < 100 Mbps: +4 score
>= 100 Mbps: +5 score

We used a similar method with different weightings for each metric we analysed. See the complete spreadsheet to see the exact scoring methodology.

Currency conversions

Each cost was initially recorded in the city’s local currency. These costs were then converted to US dollars simultaneously on July 9 2021 to ensure a fair comparison.

Why are certain cities missing?

For this study, we focused on major developed or semi-developed cities with a population of at least 500,000 people, to ensure a fair comparison. We recognise that there may be other smaller cities that have a low cost of living and cheap, fast internet, which would be perfect for some TikTokers who mostly shoot videos at home.

If we’ve missed a city that you think we should include, let us know and we can include it in next year’s rankings.

Resources

Press release

Download our complete press release as a PDF document

View press release (.pdf)

Complete data

Download an Excel spreadsheet containing the entire dataset and score calculations

View data (.xlsx)

Contact Us

Tom Paton, founder, Smartphone Insight

tom(at)smartphoneinsight.com

*Data collected during July 2021. Where a country has no TikTok users, this means that the app is currently banned. Smartphone Insight makes no warranties or guarantees as to the accuracy of the data provided.

Annual concert data thanks to Concert Archive.

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