Millennials have taken down dozens of industries — but it looks like Gen Z will be the ones to hurt Facebook

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  • Generation Z — the generation after millennials — is migrating away from Facebook in favor of other social media platforms.
  • A recent estimate suggested a declining teenage user base for the social media giant, while Snapchat and Instagram’s user base is surging.

Millennials are responsible for the declines of several American industries — department stores, casual dining restaurants, and paper napkins, to name a few.

But when it comes to social media, it’s an even younger generation — Generation Z — that’s changing the rules of the game.

Defined as people born between 1995 and the mid-2000s, Generation Z has a markedly different approach to social media than the generations that preceded it.

In November, a Piper Jaffray survey found 47% of teens consider Snapchat their favorite social media platform, up from 35% the year before.

Instagram was the preferred platform for 24% of teens, the same number as one year earlier. Meanwhile, only 9% of teens chose Facebook — a decline of 4% from 2016. 

The results were another round of bad news for Facebook. In September, market research firm eMarketer estimated that the number of Facebook users between the ages of 12 and 17 would fall 3.4% to 14.5 million people by the end of the year.

"We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram," said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco. "Both platforms have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate — that is, using visual content."

"Outside of those who have already left, teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged—logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform."

Despite the bad forecast, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform in the US, and the company’s ownership of Instagram should soften any financial hit it takes with a declining user base. 

But if the numbers are any indication, Facebook could have a big Generation Z problem in the future.

SEE ALSO: A 40-year study of teens finds Generation Z is unlike any past generation — here’s what they’re all about

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