Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) is on track to lose its younger users at a faster rate than the previous forecast. The social media giant is expected to lose nearly two million users under the age of 24 this year alone as more begin to shift to other platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat, Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP), according to data by eMarketer.
Facebook is still adding monthly users overall, but the data shows that older age groups are responsible. The company is expected to reach a total U.S. users of 169.5 million, up approximately 1 percent year over year.
By age group in 2018, it is expected for Facebook users ages 11 and under to decline by 9.3 percent, 12 to 17 to decline by 5.6 percent and 18 to 24 to decline by 5.8 percent, according to eMarketer.
As younger users decline from Facebook, eMarketer forecasts Instagram to add 1.6 million users ages 24 and younger, while Snapchat will add 1.9 million users in the same age group. But overall, Instagram has more users than Snapchat at 104.7 million, while Snapchat has 86.5 million.
“Snapchat could eventually experience more growth in older age groups, since it’s redesigning its platform to be easier to use,” eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said. “The question will be whether younger users will still find Snapchat cool if more of their parents and grandparents are on it. That’s the predicament Facebook is in.”
“This latest forecast indicates that it is more than just a theory. Until now it [Facebook] has been able to rely on platform shifters being hoovered up by Instagram. However, leading the charge for younger audiences is Snapchat. There are now some early signs that younger social network users are being swayed by Snapchat.” says says Bill Fisher, UK senior analyst at eMarketer.
It is forecasted that the largest contributors to new user additions in the upcoming years is age groups 55 and older. There are multiple reasons as to why the later age groups are joining social media, according to analysts. While Facebook still is a highly popular social media platform among the younger generations, the application has already begun to target older and different demographics.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, also announced recently an algorithm that will push family and friends posts to the top over advertisements, which is also appealing to the older generation, especially ones with children.