eMarketer has downgraded its estimates for Facebook user growth in France and Germany due to declines among younger users as they shift their time to other platforms. Total Facebook user growth will flatten in both countries, according to our latest social user forecast.
The total number of Facebook users in Germany will grow just 0.1% this year to 26.8 million, an addition of about 20,000 users. Importantly, the number of users ages 35 and younger will drop by 2.2% in 2019. The most significant drop will affect users ages 12 to 17, who will be down 9.1% year over year. That’s a loss of 170,600 users in that age bracket.
By 2023, the percentage of internet users in Germany between 12 and 17 who use Facebook will drop to just more than one-third. We expect usage among those ages 34 and younger to continue declining through 2023.
Adoption among older users is failing to pick up the slack. In 2019, the number of Facebook users 35 and older will grow just 2.6%, a significant slowdown from 4.7% last year. In fact, by 2021, additional users ages 35 and older will no longer offset declines among those under 35 years old—and total Facebook user growth in Germany will decline slightly.
“The good news for Facebook is that Instagram will pick up at least some of the lost core Facebook users in both France and Germany,” said Jasmine Enberg, senior analyst at eMarketer. “The question is whether Instagram can continue making up for Facebook’s losses. Competing platforms like Snapchat are diversifying their services and other digital entertainment options, including video and messaging, and continue to capture consumer attention.”
The story is similar in France, but user growth will turn negative sooner than in Germany. The total number of Facebook users will drop this year for the first time by 0.2% to 28.0 million people. The decline will be driven by those ages 17 and younger leaving the platform.
The number of users ages 11 and younger will drop by 2.7% this year, while the number of those ages 12 to 17 will drop by 9.3%—the largest decline of any age group.
By next year, the percentage of internet users in France ages 12 to 17 using Facebook will drop below 50%. That decline will continue through 2023, dropping to 27.9 million that year.
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