More than a quarter of the UK’s population will log onto Instagram at least monthly by the end of 2017, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast of social network users. In total, 16.7 million people will be regular users of the platform, an increase of almost 35 per cent over 2016.
Snapchat won’t be far behind, with 21.1 per cent of the population—or 14 million people—logging on monthly. As with Instagram, Snapchat has enjoyed strong growth: It almost doubled its user base between 2015 and 2016, and is expected to see an increase of 20.2 per cent in 2017.
eMarketer has raised its estimates for both Snapchat and Instagram since its previous forecast, as both platforms continue to attract younger users, even drawing some of them away from Facebook. However, eMarketer has also lowered its longer-term growth prospects for Snapchat, indicating that Instagram’s attempts to woo younger users with features similar to those of Snapchat are proving successful.
Facebook, with an estimated 32.5 million users this year, remains the most popular social network in the UK. However, as noted above, it is losing share to Snapchat and Instagram among younger age groups. In the 12-to-17 and 18-to-24 age brackets, Facebook’s user numbers will decline by 2.8 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively, this year.
“Facebook is still the big winner in social media,” said Bill Fisher, eMarketer’s UK senior analyst. “But it will be slightly concerned that younger people in the UK are having their heads turned by Snapchat. Of course, its ownership of Instagram is softening the blow, and it will be further enthused to see Instagram’s longer-term prospects looking even better than Snapchat’s.”
Twitter will have a total of 12.6 million users this year, equating to 19 per cent of the UK population. Its user base will continue to grow slightly throughout the forecast period, but will trail far behind Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat’s share. By 2021, 13.2 million people in the UK will use Twitter, representing 19.2 per cent of the population.
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