Facebook losing younger users in Germany and France

20/08/2019

eMarketer has downgraded Facebook user growth in both France and Germany, due to declines among younger age groups as they shift their usage to other platforms.

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Total user growth for the platform will essentially be flat in both countries, according to our latest social user forecast.

GERMANY

The total number of Facebook users in Germany will grow just 0.1% this year to 26.8 million, an addition of about 20,000 users. Importantly, the number of users under 35 years old will drop by 2.2% in 2019. The most significant drop will affect users 12 to 17, who will be down 9.1% year over year. That’s a loss of around 170,600 users in that age bracket.

By 2023, the percentage of internet users in Germany between 12 and 17 who use Facebook will drop to just over one-third. We expect usage among the youngest four age groups to continue declining through 2023.

Adoption among older users is failing to pick up the slack. In 2019, the number of Facebook users 35 and older will grow by just 2.6%, a significant slowdown from 4.7% last year. In fact, by 2021, additional users ages 35 and older will no longer offset declines among those under 35 years old—and total Facebook user growth in Germany will decline slightly.

“The good news for Facebook is that Instagram will pick up at least some of the lost core Facebook users in both France and Germany,” eMarketer senior analyst Jasmine Enberg said. “The question is whether Instagram can continue making up for Facebook’s losses. Competing platforms like Snapchat are diversifying their services and other digital entertainment options, including video and messaging, and continue to capture consumer attention.”

FRANCE

The story is similar in France, but user growth will turn negative sooner than in Germany. The total number of Facebook users will drop this year for the first time by 0.2% to 28.0 million people. The decline will be driven by users under 18 leaving the platform.

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The number of users under 11 will drop by 2.7% this year, while the number of those ages 12 to 17 will drop by 9.3%—the largest decline of any age group.

By next year, the percentage of internet users in France ages 12 to 17 using Facebook will drop below 50%. The decline in total Facebook users in France will continue through 2023, dropping to 27.9 million that year.

Methodology

eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. Each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.

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