Facebook has a "Facebook-nevers" problem, and it's getting worse

Richard Baker  Getty Images

Some teens and tweens are breaking up with Facebook, as its use in these age groups will actually decline this year.

For the first time, eMarketer also has forecasted Snapchat overtaking Facebook and Instagram for users age 12 to 17 and 18 to 24.

Instagram is also continuing to grow, with the report estimating a 23.8 percent increase, to 85.5 million users, by year-end.

Monthly users aged between 12 and 17 years old will fall 3.4% to 14.5 million people this year, an accelerated decline from the 1.2% fall in 2016.

Interestingly, while Instagram will have more US users than Snapchat, the latter will beat Instagram for users ages 12 to 17 and 18 to 24.

eMarkter sees gains coming for both Snapchat and Instagram. These visual platforms are a better fit for the way young people today communicate, says eMarketer forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco. There's a growing demographic of "Facebook-nevers", which are younger social network users who simply avoid Facebook altogether.

Despite this, "Facebook's community of monthly users in the USA will grow 2.4% this year to 172.9 million people", which eMarketer attributes to an increase in older Internet users. Instagram has more users, but Snapchat is stronger with those between the ages of 12 and 24.

Facebook is predicted to have 32.5m monthly active users in the United Kingdom this year, but is also losing ground to Instagram and Snapchat amongst younger audiences on the other side of the pond with declines of 2.8 per cent amongst 12 to 17-year olds and 3.1 per cent amongst 18 to 24-year olds. As a result, Snapchat's share of USA social network users will grow to 40.8%.

Like in the USA, more than a quarter of the UK's population will log on to Instagram at least monthly in 2017, according to eMarketer's latest forecast of the country's social network users. A total of 16.7 million people will be regular Instagram users, up from nearly 35 percent from 2016. Snapchat will follow with 21 per cent of the population. Instagram has seen its growth explode since it introduced Snapchat-clone features at the end of 2016.

However, it is losing share to Snapchat and Instagram among younger age groups.

Of course, as Instagram's parent company Facebook likely isn't too bothered by this news.

Many other social media platforms have come along that threatened to become the new alternative to Facebook, but few have achieved as much lasting power and ubiquity as the social media giant, said Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser. And both Instagram and Snapchat are seeing double-digit yearly growth among young people, indicating their picture and video-driven platforms are drawing in the all-important young demo.

eMarketer reported that the platform's overall user numbers are projected to increase by 2.4 percent this year, bringing the total to roughly 172.9 million.

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