Summits Yellow

UK youth abandons Facebook, flocks to Snapchat

Tim Maytom

Snapchat is set to overtake Facebook among UK users aged 18-24 years old this year, as the video messaging platform continues to surge in popularity. According to the latest figures from eMarketer, Snap's app is also outpacing both Facebook and Instagram among users aged 12 to 17 in the UK.

The number of Snapchat users in the UK is expected to reach 16.2m this year, of which 5m (or nearly 31 per cent) will be between 18 and 24. By comparison, the number of UK Facebook users aged 18 to 24 will total 4.5m, down 1.8 per cent over the course of 2017. Instagram will have 4.2m users in this cohort, while Twitter boasts just 2.6m. While the Facebook-owned Instagram is still growing its youth user base, eMarketer's forecast suggest Snapchat will keep the upper hand for several years.

While Facebook is still adding monthly users overall, the growth is coming overwhelmingly from older age groups. There will be 32.7m Facebook users in the UK this year, up two per cent over 2017.

Snapchat's popularity among young users, combined with Facebook's user growth levelling off and a number of high-profile controversies for the social network have all combined to create a new generation of users forgoing Facebook altogether for more mobile-first alternatives.

"These so-called Facebook-nevers are eating into Facebook's user growth significantly," said Bill Fisher, senior analyst at eMarketer. "And while the media giant's Instagram purchase looks to have been a shrewd move in as much that it's picking up some of that young user base, it's struggling to hold onto the coattails of Snapchat among these cohorts."

Snapchat has been placing an increased focus on revenue generation in recent months, working more closely with developers and marketers to provide them with tools to reach its users. Its most recent quarterly financial results saw revenues exceeding expectations for the firm, but it suffered its first ever drop in users, with daily active users dropping two per cent quarter-on-quarter.