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After Meteoric Rise, Threads Growth Stalls

Usage ranks near bottom of social apps in US

September 26, 2023 (New York, NY) – Meta’s Threads skyrocketed almost immediately following its launch in July, breaking social media growth records. But the X (formerly Twitter) rival is losing its luster, according to the inaugural Threads forecast from Insider Intelligence.

By the end of 2023, we expect Threads to have 23.7 million monthly users in the US, less than half the user base of X. That equates to 10.4% of social network users and 17.5% of Instagram users.  This year, it will rank second-to-last among social networks in the US—a position that will remain unchanged through 2025.

“The path to 1 billion Threads users is longer than Meta would like,” said Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. “The link to Instagram can only take Threads so far, and the clock is ticking for the network effect to take hold. While a drop in sign-ups and engagement was to be expected after Threads’ hyped-up launch, Meta needs early adopters to actively use the platform to continue to grow its user base.”

Next year, Threads will grow its US user base by 26.4% to 30.0 million, and another 13.1% in 2025. By the end of the forecast, the app will have added just over 10 million users in the US. At that point, 23.3% of Instagram users will also use Threads. 

“It took Instagram roughly 3 years and Twitter (now X) nearly 6 to reach the same number of US monthly users as Threads will have in less than a year and a half,” Enberg said. “But Instagram and Twitter both launched when social networks were still relatively new. In 2010, the year Instagram rolled out, just 43.9% of US consumers used a social network monthly. The social landscape may have been less competitive back then, but user acquisition was more difficult.”


For comparison, X this year will have 56.1 million users in the US. But its user base is declining. By 2025, it will have dropped to 47.0 million, due to concerns over the content and stability of the platform. Even as growth slows for Threads in the coming years, it will close the gap with X.

“Threads received an initial boost from Twitter’s missteps, but it can’t rely on X defectors to continue to grow,” said Enberg. “Still, Musk’s recent announcement to charge all X users a monthly subscription fee could open up a clearer avenue for Meta to monetize Threads. Assuming Musk doesn’t backtrack, the move will likely alienate more X users and potentially increase advertiser interest in Threads.”


With 102.3 million US users, TikTok continues to be Meta’s biggest threat. It will remain the third-most-popular social app behind Facebook and Instagram through 2025.

“TikTok was able to break through largely because it offered users a unique new social experience,” Enberg said. “For Threads to carve a long-lasting place in the social landscape, it needs to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. It must also do so fast: Meta isn’t above ditching new apps or folding them into existing services. And Threads’ identity must be more than an extension of Instagram or an alternative to X.”


Insider Intelligence forecasts and estimates are based on our proprietary analysis, and include both quantitative and qualitative data curated from public companies, government agencies, research and media firms, and interviews with expert executives in relevant fields. We regularly re-evaluate available data to ensure our forecasts reflect the latest business and economic  developments and trends.

About Insider Intelligence

Insider Intelligence is a leading research provider focused on digital transformation. We empower professionals with actionable data, insights, and analysis to make informed decisions in a digital world. Formed as a merger of eMarketer and Business Insider Intelligence in 2020, we produce nearly 200 forecasts, 300 reports, 7,000 charts, and 1,500 newsletters across the Advertising, Media, and Marketing; Financial Services; Healthcare; and Retail and Ecommerce industries. Insider Intelligence is a division of Axel Springer S.E.

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