Instagram's US user growth dropped to single digits for the first time and it will keep falling

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  • Instagram's annual US user growth slowed to single digits for the first time in 2019, according to analysis from eMarketer.
  • Emarketer estimated that Instagram is still growing in the US, but the pace of that growth slowed to 6.7% in 2019. That's down from growth of 10.1% in 2018.
  • The firm also reports that older age groups are not joining Instagram as quickly as anticipated, which could be due to the emergence of TikTok, as well as Snapchat's global revival.
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Instagram's yearly growth among US users will reportedly fall to single digits for the first time.

According to estimates by market research firm eMarketer, Instagram's US user base in 2019 grew 6.7% in 2019, down from 10.1% growth in 2018.
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In short, Instagram is still growing in the US, but it isn't experiencing the hyper-growth of its earlier days. Unsurprisingly, eMarketer predicts that slowing growth will continue over the next five years. Emarketer says this forecast is a little gloomier than it had anticipated. By 2023, the research firm predicts, Instagram will grow 1.8%.

Slowing growth in one of the world's most popular social networks isn't wildly surprising. Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, and the photo-sharing app has experienced phenomenal growth in the subsequent eight years. At some point, it will hit saturation.

It also faces growing competition, such as the resurgence of Snapchat. Emarketer says the platform will have just shy of 300 million global users by the end of 2019, a user increase of 14.3%. Unlike Instagram, Snapchat's annual growth rate is projected to hold steadily around the 10% mark up t0 2023. Snapchat, though, is coming from a lower base.
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Visual China Group via Getty Images; Ruobing Su/Business Insider

Zhang Yiming is founder of ByteDance, the firm behind TikTok.

There's also TikTok, and 2019 was the Chinese app's year.The video-sharing app - which is made by Beijing-based tech conglomerate ByteDance - has exploded in popularity, surpassing 1.5 billion worldwide downloads in November.
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As an app that lets its users create and share short, often humorous videos, it arguably threatens Instagram more than other social media platforms because its primary offering is so different. Where Instagram is about editing pre-existing photos to curate an image of real life, TikTok is more spontaneous, bizarre, or comedic.

Still, eMarketer estimated that TikTok's growth may not be as sustained as Instagram's.

TikTok's quarterly growth reportedly declined for the first time in the third quarter of 2019, according to separate data from Sensor Tower. Though the app saw 177 million new first-time downloads in the quarter ending September 30, that figure represents a 4% growth slowdown on the previous quarter.
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Disclosure: eMarketer is owned by Axel Springer, the owner of Business Insider.

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