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UK Loses Top Social Networking Spot in Western Europe

Still No. 1 in the region for Facebook usage

The UK will be edged out of its seat this year as the top social networking country in Western Europe, eMarketer estimates based on our latest forecast of internet, broadband and social network users worldwide.

eMarketer forecast in August that the UK would reach a population of 32.1 million social network users this year, including individuals of any age who log on to a social networking site at least monthly from any electronic device. That’s up nearly 2 million from last year’s user numbers, but faster growth expected in Germany will put the island nation in second place.

The gap between Germany and the UK is expected to widen over the forecast period, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.0% predicted for the UK’s social networking audience between 2012 and 2017, vs. a CAGR of 6.1% expected for Germany. Still, the UK will hold second position in the region through 2017, with France coming up third.

When it comes to Facebook usage, however, the UK is still tops. Nearly 30 million UK residents will access Facebook each month this year, based on eMarketer’s August estimates, coming in well ahead of the 22.1 million users expected for each of France and Germany. And it’s not just absolute numbers where the UK shines: Nearly half the population and more than six in 10 internet users will use Facebook this year, putting the UK behind only highly developed and homogeneous markets like Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden. When examined as a percentage of total social network users in the country, the Facebook population rises to 93.4% penetration—just a shade lower than Spain’s rate of 93.9%.

eMarketer bases all of our forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends as well as trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

Additionally, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all our forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.

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