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Snapchat, Instagram Lure Teens Away From Facebook at Increasing Rate

By Published on .

U.S. Child/Young Adult Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat* Users, by Age, 2017 (millions)
Note: internet users who use their Facebook or Instagram account via any device at least once per month; *mobile phone users who access their Snapchat account via mobile phone app at least once per month. Source: eMarteter, Aug 2017.

Tweens and teens are bailing on Facebook, opting instead for younger platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, eMarketer said in its mobile forecast Monday.

Overall, Facebook's domestic userbase will grow to 173 million people in 2017, a 2.4% increase year-over-year. Now here's the rub: Facebook is seeing "higher usage among older Americans," but lower usage among those aged 12 to 17. That age group, eMarketer predicts, will fall 3.4% to 14.5 million people.

Usage among those under 12 will also grow "more slowly than previously forecast," eMarketer said.

"We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram," Oscar Orozco, an eMarketer forecasting analyst, said in a statement. "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," he added.

About 82% of 12- to 17-year-old social users are on Facebook, but come 2021, that number will fall to 76%, eMarketer said. The company also said it is increasing its projections for Snapchat usage. The platform will reach 79 million total monthly users, a 26% uptick from the previous year. Those aged 18-24 will make up 19% of Snapchat's overall growth.

EMarketer adds that Snapchat will overtake Instagram for the first time in terms of users 12-17 and 18-24. "As a result, Snapchat's share of social network users will grow to 40.8% this year, reaching nearly half by 2021," eMarketer said.

Meanwhile, Facebook-owned Instagram will also see its user thrive: The platform, which has been copying Snapchat features, will see its user base grow 24% this year. Much of the growth will be driven by those under the age of 17, eMarketer said.

US Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat* Users, 2016-2021 (millions)
Note: internet users of any age who use their Facebook or Instagram account via any device at least once per month; *mobile phone users of any age who access their Snapchat account via mobile phone app at least once per month. Source: eMarteter, Aug 2017.
Charts by Chen Wu.
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