Facebook market share predicted to fall as young people shun it in favour of Snapchat
Young people are turning their backs on Facebook, according to a new report. Two million people under the age of 25 will stop using the social network this year, research firm eMarketer predicted.
Facebook has a "teen problem", eMarketer said, adding that it expects fewer young people to continue to use the site in the future.
For the first time, the majority of US internet users aged 12-17 won't use Facebook once a month this year, eMarketer stated.
It added that, while 83% of social network users aged 18-24 will use Facebook in 2018, its share will fall to 81.5% by 2021.
The number of Facebook users in the US aged 11 and younger is also expected to decline by 9.3% over the year. eMarketer also expects the number of Facebook users aged 12-17 and 18-24 to decrease by 5.6% and 5.8%, respectively.
"This is the first time eMarketer has predicted a decline in the number of US Facebook users in those age groups," the firm said.
"Facebook has a 'teen' problem," said Bill Fisher, eMarketer's UK senior analyst. "This latest forecast indicates that it's more than a theory."
The site's overall user base continues to grow, however, thanks to its increasing popularity among older people.
"In general terms we expect social network users under age 24 to show declining interest in Facebook as time goes on," Karin von Abrams, principal analyst at eMarketer, said.
"Facebook may have been central to defining the social media category, and it still has many uses. But younger consumers in particular are looking for something beyond utility. They want novelty and exclusivity too; the search for the latest buzz in social media will continue to lead them away from Facebook."
eMarketer also expects the number of Facebook-nevers -young people who don't use and have never used Facebook - to increase.
"Many teens already prioritise social networks such as Instagram and Snapchat over Facebook, and that trend is bound to increase as ever-younger consumers join social media," von Abrams added.
Snapchat in particular could be set to gain from Facebook's loss.
Around 43% of social media users will use Snapchat this year, which eMarketer said is more than twice its penetration rate from three years ago.
"Snapchat's popularity with teens and young adults has grown significantly since the platform first launched in 2011," eMarketer said. "Snapchat has also introduced a range of interactive features that have appealed to teen audiences, in turn driving up the user number.
"Conversely, that has arguably turned off older audiences who favour Facebook's less complicated social network experience."