According to new estimates from eMarketer, Twitter’s UK audience will shoot from three in 10 social network users in 2012 to nearly half by 2018. Across the country’s total population, more than one-fifth of consumers will use Twitter this year, along with over one-quarter of internet users.
UK Twitter usage is still growing in the double digits this year, unlike Facebook, where UK growth was at 6.3% last year and will be 4.8% in 2014. While the microblogging service still reaches only a minority of social network users, that minority is sizeable.
The continuing growth of the Twitter audience follows typical patterns for post-early-adoption social networking sites. After Facebook attracted a core of teen and young adult users, those users’ parents and grandparents started signing up, and the social networking giant saw its main growth coming from the oldest and youngest users. This pattern is repeating itself on Twitter in the UK: While young children still have substantial growth rates, the 12-to-44-year-old population has slowed to around or below the average growth rate for the service. Meanwhile, we expect usage among those ages 65 and older to increase by 37.8% this year.
Still, that growth is from a small base. Seniors make up a small share of Twitter’s audience, and the bulk of users remain in the 12-to-44 age range, where growth has begun to mature.
In terms of penetration, Twitter is most popular among internet users ages 18 to 24—nearly six in 10 of whom will use the service at least monthly this year. Among social network users the same age, penetration will be 63.0%. No other age groups approach this high level of usage, but even among social users ages 55 to 64, eMarketer expects about one in five to use Twitter this year.
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, and 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.
In addition, 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.