Following a redesign in late 2017 that prompted some US users to leave the platform and stifled growth elsewhere, Snapchat is making a comeback. New features and a rebuilt Android platform are giving the social network new momentum. In its latest forecast on worldwide social network users, eMarketer has upgraded its estimates for Snapchat users for 2019 through 2023.
By the end of the year, Snapchat will have 293.01 million users worldwide, up 14.2% over last year. That’s an upward adjustment from 281.27 million in our Q2 forecast. With higher growth rates built into our new forecast, we expect Snapchat to add more than 63 million users by the end of 2023, vs. our previously estimated 52 million.
“Snapchat has reported gains in users every quarter so far in 2019, and we believe that the relaunched Android app has reinvigorated growth,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “In addition, features such as the successful baby face and gender swap filters earlier this year have driven increases in user engagement with the app.”
The US is Snapchat’s largest market, representing 27.4% of its 2019 users. The market was particularly hard-hit by the unpopular redesign that rolled out to most users by early last year, with its user base declining 1.4% in 2018. Growth will return to positive territory by the end of this year, increasing 5.9%, and pushing its US user base past 80 million for the first time. The biggest turnaround will come from users ages 12 to 17, 1.1 million of whom left the platform last year. This year, the social network will add more than that number back.
The number of users ages 35 to 64 is also growing in double digit percentages, but from a very small base. This year, just 15.4 million of Snapchat’s 80.2 million US users will be in that age group.
Despite a resurgence, Snapchat faces stiff competition from Instagram, which will grow its US user base 6.7% to 107.2 million this year. Worldwide, Instagram will grow 11.6% to 788.43 million users.
“Snapchat has regained momentum, but Instagram never lost it,” Williamson said. “These apps will continue to compete for users as we head into 2020.”
Instagram not only has more users than Snapchat, but also commands a larger slice of the worldwide digital ad pie. Instagram net revenues globally will reach $15.01 billion this year, giving it a 4.6% share of digital ad spending. Snapchat will generate $1.53 billion in net ad revenues this year, capturing 0.5% of worldwide digital ad spend.
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