eMarketer: Snapchat is losing users as redesign takes its toll

According to market analysts, eMarketer, there is an exodus from Snapchat in the UK. For the first time since its inception, the social network’s user base will begin to decline in 2019, according to eMarketer’s latest UK social usage forecast. Since the redesign of the platform in late 2017, users have been leaving in favour of Instagram and other competitors.

  • This year, 14.5 million people in the UK will use Snapchat, down 2.3% from last year. Usage will continue to decline through 2023, when it will drop to 14.1 million. eMarketer has cut its forecast substantially since Q3 2018, when it forecast 17.0 million users for 2019.
  • Snapchat will lose users in every age group in 2019. Two key demographics for social networks will see the highest numbers of departures: users ages 12 to 17 (down 2.8%) and those 25 to 34 (down 2.7%).
  • Rival Instagram will pick up many of those leaving Snapchat. Its user base will grow 8.0% in 2019, reaching 21.0 million. While Instagram’s growth will slow to single digits this year, it will remain positive through 2023, when its user base will reach 23.3 million.

Many of Snapchat’s users didn’t like the way Stories and chats were mixed together in a confusing presentation, a change that went into effect in late 2017 but continued to roll out throughout 2018. The backlash was so severe that Snapchat was forced to scale back some of the changes just a few months later. While it’s too early to tell whether Snapchat’s ad revenues will suffer as a result of the redesign, a declining number of younger users could make advertisers less inclined to spend on the platform if that same audience can be reached elsewhere.

Showmik Podder, forecasting analyst, eMarketer