Instagram’s growth in Western Europe will be more than 3 times higher than our pre-pandemic estimate

The number of monthly Instagram users in Western Europe will rise by 17.0% in 2020 to 132.8 million. That’s more than three times higher than the growth rate we had predicted before the pandemic (5.2%) and equates to 19.3 million new users from 2019.

This is also the second time during the pandemic that we have raised our estimate for Instagram users in Western Europe. In our June 2020 forecast, we estimated that Instagram’s user base would grow by 10.4% to 125.4 million. A comparison of our November 2019 and October 2020 forecasts shows there will now be 14.3 million more users in the region than we had predicted before the pandemic began.

Growth in Western Europe will drop to 4.8% in 2021, as the pandemic-related conditions that have caused more users to sign up or increase their usage subside. However, it is possible that figure could be revised upward as stay-at-home measures are reintroduced in some countries and social commerce activity heats up.

On Facebook’s Q2 2020 earnings call, for example, COO Sheryl Sandberg talked about a coffee shop in Italy that successfully used its Instagram account to promote online sales and free home delivery.

There is evidence to suggest that social commerce is taking hold in other parts of the region, too. In an August 2020 study by ChannelAdvisor and Dynata, 20% of UK adults who shopped digitally said that since the start of the pandemic, they had purchased a product after seeing an Instagram post or ad for it, up from 17% in May 2020.

"The Western European countries that will see the highest growth in Instagram users in 2020 are those that have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic: France, Spain and Italy," said Jasmine Enberg, eMarketer senior analyst at Insider Intelligence. "While it's impossible to parse out exactly how much of the accelerated growth is due to the pandemic, it's clear that stay-at-home measures have spurred shopping-related and other activities on the platform, causing new users to sign up."

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