(Bloomberg)—Facebook Inc. is lucky it owns Instagram.
This year, the world’s largest social network will see a decline among teen users in the U.S., according to a forecast by EMarketer. It’s the first time the research company has predicted a fall in Facebook usage for any age group.
EMarketer predicts 14.5 million people from the ages of 12 to 17 will use Facebook in 2017, a drop of 3.4% from the prior year. Teens are migrating instead to Snap Inc.’s Snapchat and Instagram, the photo-sharing app that Facebook owns, the research company said Monday in a statement.
Facebook has continued to grow around the world, with more than 2 billion users this year, but younger people are finding it less compelling, said Oscar Orozco, a forecasting analyst at EMarketer. The company needs to attract younger users so they build a Facebook habit that will carry into their adult years, when they become prime customers for Facebook advertising.
“Teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged—logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform,” Orozco said. “At the same time, we now have Facebook-nevers, many children aging into the tween demographic that appear to be overlooking Facebook altogether, yet still engaging with Facebook-owned Instagram.”