Since its acquisition by Facebook in 2012 (widely hailed as an excellent strategic acquisition), Instagram has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity and users. However, a new forecast from eMarketer suggests that Instagram’s user growth might plateau in the near future as older adults are slow to adopt the platform.
The number of Instagram users in the US grew from 100.5 million to 107.2 million between 2018 and 2019, per eMarketer’s report. That represented the first year of growth under double-digits. As a share of internet users, penetration climbed from 35.9% to 37.8%, a sizable figure but one that eMarketer expects to almost plateau at about 40%.
Looking ahead, Instagram’s growth rate is anticipated to further drop by around 1% point each year until 2023: eMarketer predicts that user growth in the US will drop to just 1.8% by 2023. The total amount of users is estimated to rise to exceed 120 million by then, at which point 40.4% of US internet users would have adopted the platform.
These growth estimates represent a downward revision from eMarketer’s earlier forecast, which the research firm attributes to the fact that Instagram is not as popular with older age groups as predicted, leaving out a large chunk of a fast-growing internet population.
Despite this, the image-focused platform remains popular with both marketers and younger users. On the former, a study by SEMrush and Social Media Today found that some 7 in 10 marketers say that Instagram is essential for the future. On the latter, more teens now use Instagram compared to Snapchat – a position that has emerged as Stories become a format of choice on the platform. Data from MarketingCharts’ US Media Audience Demographics Report [available for purchase] also shows that Instagram is popular with young adults and has widened its lead in usage over Snapchat.
The forecast from eMarketer can be viewed online here.
About the Data: Forecasts are based on eMarketer’s estimates.