Facebook is now officially for old people, new data reveals

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FACEBOOK is set to haemorrhage younger users - who prefer rival services like Snapchat - in 2018, according to top analysts.

The growth trends predicted by eMarketer indicate Facebook is reaching a saturation point in the US and needs to boost its younger user base in order to sustain future growth.

"Snapchat could eventually experience more growth in older age groups since it's redesigning its platform to be easier to use", eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said.

As Facebook ages, its younger users seem to be leaving - or just not joining at all, in the first place.

The number of Facebook users aged 12 to 17 will decrease by 5.6 per cent in 2018, according to a forecast from New York-based market research company eMarketer.

The outside research firm eMarketer estimates that Facebook lost almost 2.8 million USA users younger than 25 years old in 2017. Snapchat, owned by Snap (SNAP), may now be siphoning away more users than expected. Most of whom likely ditching Facebook in favour of Snapchat and/or Instagram.

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In the U.S., Instagram will continue to reign supreme with 104.7 million users in 2018, a 13 per cent jump from past year, but Snapchat will see its user base increase as well by 9.3 per cent to 86.5 million.

Snap's shares soared 30% last week after it revealed better-than-expected financial results and continued steady growth in its global user base, up from 178 million in the third quarter to 187 million in Q4. But its new users tend to be in older age groups, eMarketer said.

Facebook continues to add monthly users overall.

Ready to get started? According to a survey, less than 50% of Internet users in the 12-17 age bracket will access Facebook once a month. Snapchat has also introduced a range of interactive features that have appealed to teen audiences, in turn driving up the user number. Looking at all age groups, Facebook is still growing in the US. Moreover, eMarketer expects Facebook to lose even more young users this year, especially in the United States. In addition to the stereotypical uncool mom and dad (and grandma and grandpa), kids usually don't want older family members seeing what they're talking about.

The world's most extensive social network enjoyed a 47 percent increase in revenue in the fourth quarter of past year compared with income recorded during the same period in 2016.

In order to grow a bigger number of users worldwide, Snapchat needs to woo the older generations (people 35 or older).

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