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Facebook Reaches Nine in 10 UK Social Network Users

Facebook’s share of the UK social audience is dropping, albeit slowly

September 1, 2016

Facebook reaches about nine in 10 social network users and six in 10 internet users in the UK this year, according to eMarketer’s latest estimates of internet usage in the country. That amounts to 48.0% of the total population accessing a Facebook account on at least a monthly basis this year.

UK Facebook User Penetration, 2015-2020 (% of population, % of internet users and % of social network users)

Earlier this year, eMarketer predicted an outright majority of UK residents would use Facebook in 2016, but in August revised our estimates of Facebook usage in the UK downward based on company reports from the social network.

Now, we forecast Facebook will reach exactly 50.0% of the population in 2020, the last year of our forecast period.

Facebook usage is still going up in the UK—but at a slow rate due to the social platform’s maturity.

UK Facebook Users, 2015-2020 (millions and % change)

This year, 31.6 million UK internet users will use Facebook regularly, up 3.6% over 2015. Growth rates will dip below 2% annually beginning in 2018, when 33.1 million people will use the site.

Meanwhile, overall social network use in the UK is growing more quickly—which means Facebook is actually losing share of social network users in the country. Last year, for example, more than 90% of social network users were also Facebook users. By 2020, the figure will be 87.8%.

Mobile-phone-based user growth is faster, but even there Facebook is relatively mature. This year, Facebook’s monthly mobile phone audience will grow by 6.5%—faster than its overall growth rate, to be sure, but still well under 10% annually. By 2020, growth on mobile will be just 2.2%, and 29.9 million people in the UK will use Facebook via phone.

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