As mobile device “chat apps” continue growing in popularity among Generation Z, the original social network, Facebook, is losing its luster. Tweens and teens have officially become disenchanted with Facebook, according to a study released by eMarketer.
The report’s forecasts and estimates are based on analyses of quantitative and qualitative data provided via research firms, government agencies, media firms, public companies and interviews with top executives.
In eMarketer’s latest forecast on U.S. Internet and mobile usage, the firm reduced its “usage estimates” for Facebook users under 25 but maintained or elevated its estimates for Snapchat and Instagram usage. Though Facebook is projected to grow 2.4 percent and reach 172.9 million people in the U.S. this year, the percentage of users in the 12- to 17-year-old range dropped 3.4 percent over the last year. While 14.5 million teens will still use Facebook, the data led eMarketer to predict a decline in its usage for any age group. The firm also predicts that usage among under 12 and 18- to 24-year-olds also will slow down in growth.
Oscar Orozco, an eMarketer forecasting analyst, said, “We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram. Both platforms have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate — using visual content.” Orozco added, “Outside of the Facebook-cutters, teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged — logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform. At the same time, we now have Facebook-nevers, many children aging into the tween demographic that appear to be overlooking Facebook altogether, yet still engaging with Facebook-owned Instagram.”
Snapchat is projected to grow 26 percent to reach 79.2 million total monthly users in the U.S., with usage growing 19 percent this year for 18- to 24-year-old users. And Snapchat supersedes both Instagram and Facebook in total users aged 12 to 17 and 18 to 24. Snapchat’s share of social network users is projected to grow to 41 percent this year, researchers of the report noted.
Instagram usage will grow 24 percent this year to 85.5 million U.S. users, a higher number than what was previously forecasted. Its user base for Americans under age 12 will grow by 19 percent and 9 percent for users aged 12 to 17.
Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst for eMarketer, said, “Facebook is fortunate that it owns Instagram, which remains a strong platform for teens. Although usage of the main Facebook app is declining among teens, marketers will still be able to reach them on Instagram.”
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