Facebook to lose millions of US teens to Snapchat this year

Although there are signs of Facebook usership waning, the social media network continues to be the most used platform among US adults with audiences increasing 0.9% in 2018 to 169.5 million. However, teens have turned elsewhere.

According to new research from eMarketer, rival Snapchat continues to be the most attractive apps for US teens. Indeed, the app surpassed Facebook as the most popular US teen app in 2016 and continues to attract new users of ages 12 to 17 years.

Meanwhile, Facebook is predicted to lose some 2.2 million teen users until 2022 whilst Snapchat will add 1.2 million.

Surprisingly, Snapchat is also more popular than Instagram for teens – at least in the US, where 16.4 million 12-17-year-olds now use Snapchat compared to 12.8 million using Instagram. The research firm predicts that this trend will continue into 2022.

“Snapchat and Instagram are the top social apps for teens, and this year they’ll add nearly the same number of new teen users,” explained Christopher Bendtsen eMarketer senior forecasting analyst. “Stories is a growth driver for both platforms, yet it’s not helping Facebook retain younger users. Teens continue to abandon or never even sign up for Facebook, and Instagram’s gains don’t completely make up for Facebook’s losses for this age group.”

However, Facebook is still popular among millennials with 58.5 million of them in the US expected to use the platform in 2018. 43.3 million millennials are using Instagram in 2018.

Generation X are the heaviest Facebook users with 45.1 million users this year, projected to drop to 43.8 million in 2022.

Interestingly, baby boomers favour Facebook over other social apps to keep in touch with family (31.9 million in 2018). However, Pinterest ranks as their second choice with 12.9 million users.

“Pinterest is appealing to baby boomers because it’s easy to use when looking for products or ideas for home projects, which are frequent activities for a generation with high spending power and home ownership rates,” Bendtsen said. “And since boomers are already comfortable using Facebook for checking the News Feed or sharing with family, they’re less likely to try platforms like Twitter or Snapchat for similar activities.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Snapchat ranked last among baby boomers with just 3.8 million users this year.

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