Journalists, analysts and research companies have been warning about a ‘Facebook flight’ – people migrating away from the social network – for years now, yet overall, the company’s user base has continued to grow.
eMarketer has some new predictions out this morning though, focused on two markets – France and Germany – where it says the migration is real, and “even faster than expected”. Here are the key claims. “In France this year, Facebook will experience a decline in users for the first time, whereas Germany experienced its first drop in users in 2018,” suggested eMarketer. “Last year, Facebook usage in Germany dropped 1.2% and will fall another 0.9% by the end of 2019 to 25.9 million people. Our previous forecast predicted growth of 0.1%, however the number of users who left the platform outpaced those who joined. Our revised forecasts for Germany show an average decrease of about 9% in Facebook users under 25 this year. The steepest drop-off will be seen among users ages 12 to 17, decreasing by 19.2%. We expect users 34 and younger to continue leaving the platform through 2023. Incremental user growth among those 35 and over will help Facebook mitigate overall losses, though.”
And France? “In France, 2019 will be the first time that the total number of Facebook users will decline. The user base will shrink by 1.3% to 27.6 million. This decline is expected to continue. In fact, by 2022, less than 50% of internet users in France will use Facebook. The story in France is similar to that in Germany: Younger people are opting for other social platforms over Facebook. In 2020, Instagram users under 25 will surpass Facebook users in that age group for the first time.” But of course: Facebook owns Instagram, and even in Germany, eMarketer is expecting the social network’s ad spending to grow by 11.9% this year.