News & Events

These were the most used emojis of 2021

*Tears of joy emoji*

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Dec 21, 2021

Emojis are used by 92 percent of people online, according to the Unicode Consortium, a non-profit that oversees the universal character encoding standard. It’s easy to believe. Emojis can be found on social media platforms, messaging apps, billboards, and retail outlets, among other places. We’re all hooked on the brightly colored emoticons.


The Unicode Consortium has now released the top emojis for 2021. There are over 3,500 emojis at your disposal, but you’d be amazed how many of them are rarely utilized. It is insane that we are able to single out 10 emojis that have been the most used this year from this ocean of options. So, without further ado, here are the top 10 emojis of 2021.


The most popular emojis in 2021 were:

  1. πŸ˜‚ Face with tears of joy
  2. ❀️ Red heart
  3. 🀣 Rolling on the floor laughing
  4. πŸ‘ Thumbs up
  5. 😭 Loudly crying face
  6. πŸ™ Folded hands
  7. 😘 Face blowing a kiss
  8. πŸ₯° Smiling face with hearts
  9. 😍 Smiling face with heart-eyes
  10. 😊 Smiling face with smiling eyes


Breaking it down

Face with tears of joy is the most popular emoji, accounting for nearly 5% of all emoji usage. While the red heart comes close, none of the other emojis come close to the popularity of the red heart. Is there a perfect moment to utilize emojis? Isn’t the face with tears of joy always appropriate?


The top emojis in 2019 were very similar to this year’s top emojis. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant that health-related emojis were used more in 2021 than 2019, though not by a significant amount.


Overall, it looks like the flag category was the least popular, despite representing the largest collection of emojis, 258 in total.


One of the most appealing aspects of emojis is that they can each symbolize something different to various individuals. It depends on the situation and whether you want to utilize them seriously or in a lighthearted manner. Anyone using a smartphone these days has used emojis at one point or another, so they have really become a very important part of communicating with each other. They are expressive, easy to use, and can definitely add levity to any situation.


Emojis are the global language in many ways, and it will be interesting to observe how their use evolves in the next years.


In other news, new emojis are on the way and this time they’re inclusive.


Photo via Thomas James Caldwell/Flickr