The dramatic surge in social networking in Russia during the country’s 2011 elections led eMarketer to estimate earlier this year that in 2011, the number of social network users in Russia experienced an uptick in growth of 25%.
However, based on later research, eMarketer believes that the growth of social network users did not actually rise 25%, but instead, slowed to 11.6% that year. Between 2011 and 2013, Russia’s annual growth will temper to just above 11%, eMarketer estimates.
Russia’s slower-than-expected growth for 2011 has caused eMarketer to revise the estimated number of social network users in Russia for 2012 from 57.9 million to 51.8 million, ranking it sixth in the world in number of users.
Social network users in Russia comprise more than one-third of Eastern Europe’s total and so, unsurprisingly, the country’s large share has a considerable effect on the region’s total user base. eMarketer estimates that 129.9 million people in Eastern Europe used social networks in 2011, down 10 million from eMarketer’s earlier projection. The estimate for the number of social network users in Eastern Europe in 2012 has been decreased to 145.6 million from 157.4 million.
eMarketer has also reduced the number of Facebook users in Eastern Europe for 2012 from 77.3 million to 74.7 million based on this smaller-than-expected number of social network users. Despite this decrease, more than one-third of internet users in Eastern Europe will use Facebook this year. Additionally, those in Russia who use social networks are moving to Facebook from local social networks such as VKontakte, Odnoklassniki.ru and Mail.ru (My World) faster than expected. eMarketer has increased the estimated percentage of social network users in Russia who access Facebook from 22.7% to 25.3% for 2012.
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