Snapchat May Surpass Facebook, Instagram Among Young US Users

Leigh Mccormick
August 23, 2017

While Facebook now has more than two billion users, and overall numbers continue to grow, the predictions suggest that younger people find the site less compelling.

But, Facebook's monthly user base between 12- and 17-year-olds-an age group "coveted" by marketers-will fall 3.4 percent this year to 14.5 million, eMarketer predicts. The researcher expects Snapchat's share of social network users in America will grow almost 41 per cent.

The usage of Facebook among 18 to 24 age group will grow slow than previously predicted.

By contrast, researchers expect Snapchat's share of the US social network market will expand to 40.8 percent.

In the United Kingdom, among the 12-to-17 and 18-to-24 age brackets, Facebook's user numbers will decline by 2.8% and 3.1% respectively this year according to eMarketer. The social network's USA user base is expected to grow 25.8 percent to 79.2 million monthly. However, taken together, these data suggest that Facebook's repeated copying of Snapchat features - such as selfie masks and 24-hour "stories" - has not had a significant impact on young users' loyalty.

In this regard, Facebook is fortunate to have Instagram, which is popular among teens, says eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

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Snapchat usage is expected to increase this year, with the U.S. user base to grow 5.8% to 79.2 million monthly.

eMarketer Senior Forecasting Analyst Oscar Orozco claimed in the report that they "see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram".

What's more: There are now "Facebook nevers", children becoming tweens who are skipping Facebook altogether. Though the gap between the two is small, the ability of Snapchat to reach more users aged between 13 and 24 years on a daily basis is a plus for advertisers conducting flash sales such as retailers and movie studios. "Both platforms have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate - that is, visual content". Instagram is owned by Facebook so it's got that going for itself.

"Facebook is still the big victor in social media", said Bill Fisher, UK senior analyst at eMarketer. As for the teens and "tweens" who opt to remain on Facebook, their engagement levels are dropping.

eMarketer reported that the platform's overall user numbers are projected to increase by 2.4 percent this year, bringing the total to roughly 172.9 million. Younger people have cooled on the platform.

Its user base will continue to grow slightly throughout the forecast period, beating Facebook's by an incremental degree this year, but its rate of increase will trail Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat each year between 2018 and 2021.

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