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Snapchat sees slow but steady growth in Western Europe—with differing fortunes in core markets

We predict reasonable Snapchat user growth of 6.8% in Western Europe this year, resulting in 76.2 million new users on the platform, or nearly 22% of the region’s internet users. However, this growth is up only slightly from our November 2019 prediction of 6.3%.

While a pandemic-induced bump was expected, competition from TikTok will prevent Snapchat from growing more robustly. We expect to see strong TikTok user growth rates this year across France (88.7%), Germany (79.7%), and the UK (75.2%).

Whatever the story, Snapchat user growth in Western Europe is slowing substantially—the rate of growth will be almost half that of 2019 and drop to just 1.2% by the end of 2024. And across the three biggest economies in Europe—the UK, France, and Germany—Snapchat’s user growth will vary.

Those differences begin with the UK set to post the smallest increase in user numbers, rising by 3.4% to 16.1 million in 2020. Although that growth rate will be up from our previous prediction—we expected only 2.1% growth in our November 2019 forecast—it represents only a small pandemic bump.

TikTok’s increasing prevalence will likely contribute to this muted growth. In late September, Bloomberg reported that TikTok had 17 million monthly active users (MAUs) in the UK, according to internal TikTok data. This self-reported information is unverified and likely included multiple accounts for a single user and nonhuman accounts, but the story is quite clear: Snapchat faces stiff competition.

France, meanwhile, will remain the largest market in Europe and the third largest worldwide in terms of Snapchat user numbers, with 17.8 million, or 32.5% of internet users in the country.

Although Snapchat will see a better annual growth in France than in the UK, at 8.4%, that figure represents only a small increase over our November 2019 prediction of 6.3%.

Germany’s Snapchat user numbers, on the other hand, will spike, with year-over-year (YoY) growth accelerating—the only one of the three core countries that will do so. The number of Snapchat users in Germany will reach 12.2 million in 2020, up 16.3% YoY, a growth rate more than triple 2019’s.

During the pandemic, people in Germany have gravitated toward Snapchat in large numbers—fully 1.7 million new users will join the app. That’s not much more than in France, though, which will see 1.4 million new users. The relatively small user base in Germany thus plays a part in this growth spike.

First Published on Dec 28, 2020