That’s according to marketing research firm eMarketer. The firm has released its latest forecast on U.S. social network users and says that 2019 will be the first time Snapchat loses users. In 2018, Snapchat had 79.7 million users, but eMarketer says that number will fall by 2.8% down to 77.5 million users in 2019. The firm also says Snapchat will stay below its 2018 user peak for at least the next four years. Matter of fact, between 2019 and 2023, eMarketer forecasts that Snapchat will only add 600,000 new U.S. users.
eMarketer blames Snapchat’s disastrous redesign in 2017 for the downturn–something users still have not forgiven the company for–as well as increased competition from social media competitors. Speaking of competitors, eMarketer says Instagram will be the one to gain from Snapchat users abandoning the platform.
The firm says that in 2019 Instagram will have 106.7 million U.S. users, up 6.2% from 2018. And by 2023, Instagram will gain another 19 million users in the U.S.
Update: A Snap spokesperson has reached out to us to dispute eMarketer’s report. Per the Snap spokesperson:
The methodology of eMarketer’s recent forecast is flawed. The report does not factor in key recent developments at Snap, such as our revamped Android app, or reference our statement in February that we do not anticipate a sequential decline in our daily active user total in Q1 2019. Its user forecast is more than 10 million off from Snap’s publicly available reach on our ad buying tool, its thesis is narrowly focused on the app redesign from over one year ago, and its methodology draws on self-reported survey data that’s unreliable in our core 13-34 year-old demographic.
Update x2: In response to Snap’s statement, eMarketer has reached out to us with a reply of their own:
eMarketer’s forecast is based on an unbaised, multi- pronged approach where we look not only at the Snap ad buying tool, but also combine that with an analysis of numerous third-party survey and traffic data about Snapchat’s usage and other technology adoption metrics, such as internet and social media usage.
While we are aware of key recent developments such as the revamp of the Android app, we will wait for more data to determine whether that initiative is successful in bringing users back or attracting new users.
Also, we look at monthly active users rather than daily active users, as we think it is a better measure of engagement longer-term, as DAU inherently suffers from seasonality. Our definition of MAU is also more strict than those of the social platforms themselves, as we count only those who log in consistently at least once a month (every month) during a calendar year, and we weed out fake accounts.