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Snapchat will stall in growth by 2020: report

Alyssa Clementi

For the first time since its launch, Snapchat will lose monthly US users this year, according to a new report by eMarketer. The digital forecaster explained that Snapchat’s loss of popularity and growth could be attributed to its unpopular redesign in 2017. eMarketer has predicted that Snapchat’s growth will all but stop by 2020, and Instagram will reap the benefits.

In its Q3 2018 forecast, eMarketer analysts had originally expected Snapchat to grow by 6.6 per cent in 2019, to 90.4m monthly US users. Now, eMarketer says Snapchat will have about 77.5m monthly US users in 2019, a drop of 2.8 per cent from 2018.

“Many users didn’t like how Stories and chats were mixed together in a confusing redesign that went into effect in late 2017 and was broadly available by early 2018,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Showmik Podder. “The backlash was so severe that Snapchat was forced to scale back some of the changes just a few months later.”

eMarketer predicts that Snapchat will only add 600,000 new US users between 2019 and 2023. By 2020, Snapchat’s growth rate will plummet to 0.4 per cent, which is dramatically lower than that of US social network usage in general (2.4 per cent). The app will attract 37.9 per cent of social media users in 2019, down from almost 40 per cent in 2018.

“Increased competition from new and existing social platforms is partly to blame for Snapchat’s decline,” said eMarketer senior analyst Jasmine Enberg. “But the product launches the company announced last week, including an in-app gaming platform, may improve user engagement and time spent, particularly among its core young user base. Gaming also provides a new revenue stream for Snapchat that could boost its ad business in the future.”

This is all good news to Facebook-owned Instagram, which will have 106.7m US users in 2019, a jump of 6.2 per cent since last year. Instagram will continue to see an increase in users, gaining an additional 19m new users by 2023. The app’s current share of the US social network is now 52.2 per cent, up 2 per cent from 2018.

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