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US: Youth Exodus From Facebook Accelerates

It will lose 2 million users under 25, but not all are migrating to Instagram

February 12, 2018 (New York, NY) — According to eMarketer’s latest forecast on social network usage*, Facebook is losing younger users at an even faster pace than previously expected. And while the social media platform in the past was able to count on Instagram to retain that younger audience, the forecast shows that Snapchat may now be siphoning more users away. This year, for the first time, less than half of US internet users ages 12 to 17 will use Facebook.

Facebook is still adding monthly users overall, but older age groups are mainly responsible for this. The number of total users in the US will reach 169.5 million this year, growing by just under 1%. Meanwhile, Facebook’s proportion of social network users accessing the platform will continue to decline over the forecast period.


In 2018, US Facebook usage among those younger than 12 will decline 9.3%. Additionally, growth among 12- to 17-year-olds and 18- to 24-year-olds will decrease by 5.6% and 5.8%, respectively. This is the first time eMarketer has predicted a decline in usage among 18- to 24-year-olds and those younger than 12.

Facebook will lose 2 million users under 25 this year, eMarketer estimates.  But not all of those users are migrating to Instagram. For example, we predict that Instagram will add 1.6 million users under 25. Snapchat, meanwhile, will add 1.9 million users in that age group. Snapchat will continue to have more users ages 12 to 24 compared with that of Instagram.


However, Instagram overall is still bigger in the US than Snapchat. The number of Instagram users will total 104.7 million users, up 13.1% year over year. Snapchat, meanwhile, will increase 9.3% to 86.5 million users. Facebook will remain the leader in 2018 with 169.5 million users.

“Snapchat could eventually experience more growth in older age groups, since it’s redesigning its platform to be easier to use,” eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said. “The question will be whether younger users will still find Snapchat cool if more of their parents and grandparents are on it. That’s the predicament Facebook is in.”


*eMarketer Definition of MAU

eMarketer defines a social network user as someone who accesses their account at least once per month. 


eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. Each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.

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Founded in 1996, eMarketer is the first place to look for research about marketing in a digital world. eMarketer enables thousands of companies worldwide to understand marketing trends, consumer behavior and get the data needed to succeed in the competitive and fast-changing digital economy.eMarketer’s flagship product, eMarketer PRO, is home to all of eMarketer’s research including; forecasts, analyst reports, aggregated data from 3,000+ sources, interviews with industry leaders, articles, charts and comparative market data. eMarketer’s free daily newsletters span the US, EMEA and APAC and are read by more than 200,000 readers globally. In 2016 eMarketer, Inc. was acquired by European media giant Axel Springer S.E.


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Posted on February 16, 2018.