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New eMarketer Estimates Show Huge Snapchat User Growth in UK

Instagram also logs significant gains

February 7, 2017 | Mobile | Social Media

Snapchat’s UK user base experienced explosive growth in 2016, jumping nearly 90% to reach 11.2 million users, according to eMarketer’s latest mobile usage estimates.

UK Snapchat Users and Penetration, 2015-2021 (millions, % change and % of social network users)

eMarketer projects Snapchat will register strong growth again in 2017—but nowhere near the superheated pace of 2016. This year, Snapchat’s UK base will jump to 13.6 million people, which works out to roughly one-third of all UK smartphone users.

Instagram is a little further along its path to maturity, with its banner year of growth occurring in 2015—when its UK user base more than doubled. In 2016, there were 12.2 million users of the platform; in 2017, that number will reach 14.4 million.

By the end of the forecast period in 2021, Snapchat and Instagram are expected to have 18.3 million users and 18.7 million users, respectively.

Even with such growth, however, Snapchat and Instagram remain well behind Facebook, which will have an estimated 30.3 million mobile users this year—working out to nearly three-quarters of all smartphone users in the country. By 2021, half of the entire UK population will be using Facebook on a mobile phone.

Meanwhile, Twitter's mobile user base is expected to reach 12.1 million this year. By 2021, there will be an estimated 12.6 million mobile Twitter users in the UK.

“The huge growth in these newer social platforms reflects a fundamental change in consumer behaviors,” said eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher. “They are fun, visual and much more intimate than the more established, broadcast-style networks. And these functions appeal, in particular, to those age groups that are most engaged with their smartphones—millennials and younger consumers.”

Within the smartphone category, Android will dominate, with more than 57.2% of the UK market in 2017, followed by iOS with a share of 34.2%.

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