Snapchat to lose UK users to rival Instagram following app redesign

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. April 5, 2019

Snapchat could be losing UK users for the first time in 2019 since the app’s redesign in 2017. The latest eMarketer forecast predicts that UK Snapchat users dropped from 14.8 million in 2018 to 14.5 million in 2019 – a change of -2.3%. Usage then continues to decline until 2023 to 14.1 million.

Although some of the user decline is being attributed to a fundamental redesign of Snapchat two years ago, which angered users and left advertisers and publishers concerned about the visibility of their content, Instagram has emerged as a major competitor over the last few years by often copying many of the most popular features on Snapchat.

“Many of Snapchat’s users didn’t like the way Stories and chats were mixed together in a confusing presentation, a change that went into effect in late 2017 but continued to roll out throughout 2018,” explains Showmik Podder, eMarketer forecasting analyst. “The backlash was so severe that Snapchat was forced to scale back some of the changes just a few months later.”

However, user backlash and frustration didn’t immediately cause the app to lose users in the UK in 2018. Instead, usage grew strongly last year.

The research adds that the drop in user numbers affects all age groups. However, the majority of users are leaving within the 12 to 17-year-old demographic (-2.7%) and those aged 25 to 34 years (-2.7%).

It’s unclear if Snap’s ad revenue could take a hit as a result of the redesign and user departure. However, a declining audience may lead to more concerns among advertisers and brands in including Snapchat in their social media mix.

Meanwhile, Instagram is likely to benefit growing its user base 8% in 2019 to 21 million, reaching 23.3 million by 2023.