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Sorry, kids, the oldsters are moving in on Snapchat

Sharon Gaudin | July 7, 2016
With Snapchat graying, will younger users move on to next big social app?

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Sorry, kids, but you won’t have Snapchat all to yourselves anymore.

It seems the adults are crashing the party.

While Facebook and Twitter have been the bastions for people who are well passed their teen years and early 20s, Snapchat and Instagram have been home to younger users.

Those younger users wanted social networks where they wouldn't find their parents, aunts, uncles and even grandparents.

Now that social oasis for the younger generation may be vanishing.

Three years ago, Snapchat’s app was being used by 5% of smartphone users between the ages of 25 and 34. The number was even lower – 2% -- for users 35 and older, according to comScore Inc., a U.S.-based media measurement and analytics company.

The number of older users is on the rise, with comScore reporting Tuesday that 38% of smartphone users between 25 and 34 years old, and 14% of those 35 and older are now Snapchat users.

Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group, said it’s too soon to know if those younger users, so elusive to Facebook’s efforts, will leave Snapchat as older users move in.

“This demographic change hasn’t gotten much ink yet, and currently, it still looks like the vast majority of users still trend below 34 or not quite in the parents of teens class,” Enderle said. “However, the trend suggests, in the next decade, if an alternative does show up, those younger users are increasingly likely to jump to it if they feel their parents are monitoring them.”

If their parents, teachers, aunts and uncles show up on Snapchat and begin to monitor what they’re doing, younger users will look for an alternative.

While that isn’t great news for young users who don't want to share their photos and exploits with Aunt Rita, it is really good news for Snapchat. With the Snapchat mobile messaging app, users can send photos and videos that disappear from the screen in a few seconds .

“Back in 2014, we wrote about Snapchat's potential to go mainstream,” wrote Adam Lella, an analyst with comScore, in a post. “Now, as its smartphone penetration nears 15% to 20% among the age 35+ population, it appears that the social network is approaching the point at which critical mass is achieved within a particular audience segment that eventually propels it to much greater heights.”

Lella credits Snapchat’s increasing success with older users to the launch of several popular features over the last few years.

Stories, which enables users to see people’s photos and videos in chronological order, has been one of those popular additions to the app. The Stories feed also includes coverage of various live events or places, culling the best “snaps” from the event into one showcase.

 

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