U.S. teens use of social-media platform Snapchat will overtake their use of Facebook for the first time this year, forecast marketing-research firm EMarketer. The firm predicts that Facebook will have 14.5 million Facebook users in the ages 12-17 demographic this year, a 3.4% drop from 2016, while Snapchat use will see a double-digit percentage increase.
“Teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged—logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform,” Oscar Orozco, an EMarketer forecasting analyst, told Bloomberg.
Orozco and colleagues also charted a rise in “Facebook-nevers,” meaning children and teens who never create a Facebook account. Most of these Facebook-nevers opt for Instagram or Snapchat instead.
Orozco attributes some of these two rival platforms’ success to the ease with which users can create and share visual content, which is “how they (young people) communicate.”
Facebook’s user base is growing overall and now has more than 2 billion users worldwide, when all ages are included. But the platform has been losing ground among 12-17 year-olds since 2013, as noted by the Pew Research Center and other research groups.
Orozco said that Facebook will need to find ways to become more compelling to the youth demographic. Facebook owns Instagram and can recoup some of its lost Facebook profits from Instagram’s growing popularity. But EMarketer projects that Snapchat, which Facebook does not own, will overtake both rival platforms in the youth demographic this year.
By the year’s end, Snapchat will have a 40.8% share of total social-network usage among 12-17-year-olds, but all users up to age 24, according to EMarketer. The firm predicts that by 2021, Snapchat’s share could be a near-majority.