Instagram user growth expected to slow to a halt

Posted on January 6, 2020

 

According to the latest data from market research analysts eMarketer, photo-sharing platform Instagram could soon be facing a user growth issue.

The growth of the company with the UK has been slowing down over the last couple of years, dropping from a 34% year-on-year increase in users in 2017, to a 7% increase in 2019. eMarketer has also highlighted that this is the first time that the company’s user growth has dipped into single figures.

It is not just in the UK where Instagram’s user growth is falling either. In the US, the figure has dropped from 10.1% in 2018, to 6.7% last year. In terms of worldwide users, the figure has fallen to 18% in 2018, to 12% in 2019 and it is predicted to further diminish in 2020, with the expected growth figure estimated to be 8%. eMarketer predicts that the rate of growth will fall to just 1.8% in three years’ time in 2023.

What is the reason for this decline in growth?

eMarketer believes that there are two main reasons why the growth of Instagram is starting to stagnate. The first is the platform’s failure to entice older users as quickly as it had anticipated. Instagram’s main demographic at present is those aged between 25 and 34, with those in the 16-24 age group being the next most popular.

In the past, social media was seen as a younger person’s game, but in recent years, older people have started to join Facebook and Twitter. They do not seem to be joining Instagram at the same rate, meaning that its growth is likely to halt, especially if it has hit the majority of its current most popular demographics.

The second reason why experts are predicting a plateau in growth is the rise of other platforms and their appeal to the younger demographics.

Snapchat has seen a bit of a resurgence in recent times after a period of decline, but statistics are showing the platform Tik Tok, and its Chinese equivalent Douyin, are seeing the biggest rise. Tik Tok is a video-sharing social platform highly popular among the teen demographics. It is primarily used to create short videos of dance and lip sync – no dissimilar to an amateur music video. It is now developing into more than this, with users uploading other types of video perhaps as a replacement for Vine, which was switched off in 2017.

While there is always a new competitor to worry about, companies that are finding themselves growing at a slower rate than expected need to find ways of appealing to new markets and audiences, and in this sector, it can be done through the introduction of new features. With Instagram introducing ‘shoppable’ ads and making changes to the Discover tab, it will hope that it can curb this slump in growth.

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