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US: eMarketer Slashes Snapchat User Estimates

Instagram will benefit, adding nearly 19 million users by 2023

April 10, 2019 (New York, NY) – Following its unpopular redesign, Snapchat has been struggling to gain users in the US.  As a result, eMarketer has significantly downgraded its growth outlook for Snapchat in its latest US social usage forecast.  For the first time, Snapchat will lose US users this year, with growth expected to flatten in 2020.

In 2019, Snapchat will have 77.5 million monthly US users, down 2.8% from last year.  This represents a significantly lower projection than eMarketer expected in its Q3 2018 forecast, which anticipated 6.6% growth to 90.4 million monthly US users this year.

“Many users didn’t like how Stories and chats were mixed together in a confusing redesign that went into effect in late 2017 and was broadly available by early 2018,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Showmik Podder. “The backlash was so severe that Snapchat was forced to scale back some of the changes just a few months later.”

That wasn’t enough to forestall a dip this year. Snapchat user growth will plateau in 2020, much slower than previously expected.  Between 2019 and 2023, we forecast that Snapchat will only add 600,000 new US users.

In 2020, Snapchat’s growth rate (0.4%) will remain well below that of US social network usage as a whole (2.4%).  As a result, Snapchat’s share of US social network users will continue to drop from its peak in 2017.  It will capture 37.9% of social users this year, down from nearly 40% in 2018.

“Increased competition from new and existing social platforms is partly to blame for Snapchat’s decline,” said eMarketer senior analyst Jasmine Enberg. “But the product launches the company announced last week, including an in-app gaming platform, may improve user engagement and time spent, particularly among its core young user base. Gaming also provides a new revenue stream for Snapchat that could boost its ad business in the future.”

Instagram will pick up many of those leaving Snapchat.  This year, it will have 106.7 million US users, up 6.2% from 2018.  The Facebook-owned property will add nearly 19 million new US users by 2023, despite a slowing growth rate.

Unlike Snapchat, Instagram’s growth rate is higher than that of social network users in general, pushing Instagram’s US share to 52.2% this year, up nearly 2 percentage points from 2018.

 

Methodology
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.

 

About eMarketer
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.

 

For more information, contact:

Douglas Clark
Global Director of Public Relations
646-863-8807
dclark@emarketer.com

Corinne Weir
Public Relations Coordinator
646-863-8814
cweir@emarketer.com

Posted on April 10, 2019.