- Getty/Michael Kovac
- Snapchat has struggled to keep its users on the platform after a heavily criticized redesign in 2017.
- eMarketer, a marketing research firm, is predicting that Snapchat’s user base in the US will shrink this year, down to 77.5 million monthly users in the US.
- In turn, Instagram will pick up the users leaving Snapchat and add 19 million US users by 2023, eMarketer predicts.
The past year has been hard on Snapchat, who saw its user base shrank, and now a research firm is predicting the platform’s number of users in the US will fall even more drastically this year.
The research firm eMarketer is forecasting that Snapchat’s user base will drop to 77.5 million monthly users this year, a decrease of 2.8% from 2018’s numbers.
This projection is significantly lower than the research firm expected for 2019 back in last year’s third-quarter – eMarketer initially predicted Snapchat would grow its US user base to 90.4 million monthly users.
However, eMarketer revised its projection after watching millions of users flee the platform in response to Snapchat’s wildly unpopular redesign for iOS devices in 2017. Snapchat Stories from your friends were put back on the page as Stories from celebrities, and Snapchats and chats were listed in chronological order.
Polling at the time showed just how much millennials hated the redesign. Snapchat rolled back the redesign in May to try to stave off the loss of millions of users. But the effects were evident, and shares of Snap fell to a record low to $11.22 that same month.
Snapchat’s monthly active users in North America dipped to 80 million last year, and eMarketer’s prediction of 77.5 million users this year represents a continuation of that trend.
In return, eMarketer says, Instagram will pick up many of those users that are leaving Snapchat. The analysts predict that the Facebook-owned platform will have 106.7 million US users this year, and could add almost 19 million new US users by 2023.
That’s drastically more users than eMarketer projects Snapchat will see by 2023. Following the dip in users this year, Snapchat could see its user growth plateau in 2020, and will add only 600,000 new US users by 2023.
Snapchat issued a statement to Business Insider on Wednesday calling eMarketer’s forecast “flawed.”
“The report does not factor in key recent developments at Snap, such as our revamped Android app, or reference our statement in February that we do not anticipate a sequential decline in our daily active user total in Q1 2019,” a Snap spokesperson told Business Insider. “Its user forecast is more than 10 million off from Snap’s publicly available reach on our ad buying tool, its thesis is narrowly focused on the app redesign from over one year ago, and its methodology draws on self-reported survey data that’s unreliable in our core 13-34 year-old demographic.”
For now, Snapchat still has a lead over Instagram with 13- to 24-year-olds in the US, UK, France, Canada, and Australia, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said in a speech last week at the company’s first-ever Partner Summit.
The Gen Z survey results
These projected numbers from eMarketer come just a day after the investment firm Piper Jaffray released the results of its biannual survey of teens. The results show that 41% of the 8,000 US teens surveyed said Snapchat was their favorite social platform, Instagram beat out Snapchat in monthly users among Gen Zers.
But Snapchat’s lead as the favorite social platform is down 5% from Piper Jaffray’s previous survey done in Fall 2018. Even though Snapchat is still No. 1 as the favorite, more of the teens surveyed use Instagram (84%) more regularly than Snapchat (81%).
Instagram is only a few percentage points behind Snapchat as teens’ favorite social platform, and Snapchat’s lead continues to shrink with each Piper Jaffray biannual survey.
Instagram has also become the place where teens prefer to engage with brands. Instagram recently bet big in this area by adding in-app shopping, a sector that some analysts have said could generate $10 billion in revenue by 2021.