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Twitter matures; growth slows

At the moment, one in five internet users in the United States access Twitter at least once a month, but the explosive growth rate that allowed that level of market saturation is set to change according to a study released last week by research firm eMarketer.

According to the eMarketer forecast, Twitter is experiencing a maturation of users, which from 2016 will see more than 25 per cent of internet users aged between 12 and 44 using the site at least once a month.

But this means the significant growth that accumulated such a reach in the last few years will halt relatively quickly, from a growth rate of 19.4 per cent in 2013 to below 10 per cent this year, and down to 6.4 per cent by 2018.

Unlike Facebook, on which teenagers (the 12-17 age group) have the second highest penetration rate, second only to the 18-24-year-old cohort, Twitter has a more mature user group. It appeals most to the 25-34-year-old age group, and according to eMarketer, this cohort will represent nearly double the number of users it did last year – up to 10.4 million compared to just 5.5 million last year.

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And, by 2018, eMarketer forecasts the percentage of 34- 44-year-olds who use Twitter will nearly match the percentage of teens who do; 29.1 per cent, compared with 29.7 per cent of teens. This is in contrast to Facebook, where the number of teens using the site monthly steadily outpaces the older cohort (of 34-44-year-olds) by 15 per cent each month. eMarketer expects this gap will remain relatively stable over the next few years.

“A maturing user base means that steep growth is in the rear-view for Twitter in the US,” eMarketer wrote in its report.

But a maturing user base isn’t necessarily the worst thing for Twitter. eMarketer says older users are more likely to engage with advertising, which is the primary way Twitter earns its revenue.

“A well-established user base can also be a less volatile user base, and Twitter’s maturing users not only in numbers but also in age could influence its advertising revenue potential.”


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