Snapchat vs Instagram: US user battle hots up ahead of Snap's IPO

Snapchat vs Instagram: US user battle hots up ahead of Snap's IPO
PHOTO: Reuters

The battle between Snapchat and Instagram continues apace, with figures out today showing that the former's growth is being driven by older Americans.

As Snap Inc prepares to announce its initial public offering (IPO) price after the market closes on Wednesday, it will have a job on its hands to fight off Instagram.

According to a study by eMarketer, Instagram will have 77 million US users in 2017, while Snapchat will have 70.4 million. These figures are likely to increase to 98.7 million US users for Instagram and 89.2 million users for Snapchat by 2021.

Read also: Facebook is putting a Snapchat clone inside WhatsApp

While Snapchat is often thought of as a teenagers' platform, it is those aged over 45 that will drive some of its growth, according to eMarketer, which estimates that 6.4 per cent of US Snapchat users will be aged between 45 and 54 this year, up from the 4.2 per cent it previously forecast.

Snapchat's content focus will help it have broader appeal, said Jaimie Chung, an Instagram forecasting analyst at eMarketer. It has recently expanded its deal with broadcaster Turner and this month announced a partnership with BBC Worldwide, for example.

"The usage trends are largely the result of a shift in the primary use case of Snapchat," Chung said in an emailed statement. "Older groups are now more likely to tune in for content. The platform has multiple partnerships with television networks for mini episodes. Meanwhile, the younger groups are less likely to add Snapchat when Instagram Stories can fulfil their broadcasting needs."

Meanwhile, WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) has also launched what could be seen to be a contender to Snapchat Stories - as well as competing with Instagram Stories (also owned by Facebook).

Its WhatsApp Status lets people share photos and videos in a montage that disappears after 24 hours - very similar to how Instagram and Snapchat Stories work.

The forecast from eMarketer includes people who access their Snapchat app at least once a month.

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