Snapchat’s UK user base grew by 89.9 per cent in 2016, to 11.2m users, while Instagram grew by 46.5 per cent to 14.4 users – following its banner year in 2015, where it grew its user base by 114.4 per cent.
According to eMarketer latest mobile usage forecast, Snapchat will be used by 13.6m people in 2017 – representing 31.8 per cent of all UK smartphone users – and Instagram will reach 33.7 per cent of UK smartphone users with 14.4m people on the platform. By 2021, Snapchat and Instagram are expected to have users bases of 18.3m and 18.7m respectively.
“The huge growth in these newer social platforms reflects a fundamental change in consumer behaviours,” said eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher. “They are fun, visual and much more intimate than the more established broadcast-style networks. And these functions appeal, in particular, to those age groups that are most engaged with their smartphones—millennials and younger consumers.”
Despite the substantial growth of both Snapchat and Instagram, neither will be able to catch up with Facebook – according to eMarketer. The social network will dominate mobile usage, with 30.3m UK mobile users expected this year – representing 92.8 per cent of Facebook users and 71.1 per cent of smartphone users. By 2021, half of the entire UK population is expected to be using Facebook on a mobile phone.
Elsewhere, Twitter has struggled to keep up with the crowd and has been surpassed by Snapchat and Instagram’s newer platforms. Twitter’s user base is expected to be 12.1m this year, lower than both Snapchat and Instagram, and is only expected to grow to 12.6m by 2021.