The number of users accessing Facebook in the UK fell in December with analysts pointing to the site reaching saturation point as the reason for the dip in the number of people using the social networking site.
According to SocialBakers, a firm that monitors and measures the level of traffic using social networks for advertisers, the number of people using Facebook in December in the UK fell by 1.86 percent.
It is common for Facebook to see people using the social network less over the festive season but usually the number slows rather than actually falling.
However, the fall in the number of users has not stopped Facebook from being the number one social networking site in the UK with more than 33 million people in the UK using the service.
In total Facebook has managed to engage 53 percent of the total market in the UK making it one of the most developed in the world and only second to the US where there are 169 million users representing 54 percent of the possible market.
Specialists in the area believe that a saturation point in a country comes when a network reaches around 50 percent of the total population and this has now been achieved in both the US and the UK and the number of users seems to point to saturation with the uptake of new users slowing for several years in the UK already.
Although Facebook may have reached saturation point in the UK this is not the end of growth as the chief executive of SocialBakers, Jan Rezab told the British newspaper the Telegraph.
He said that around 15 percent of the British population are under the age of 13, anyone under this age is not allowed to use Facebook so there is the potential to engage all of these children as they reach the age of 13 and to see the usage of the social network increase as the years go by.
Equally only 16.5 percent of people in the UK using Facebook are over the age of 65 and account for 4 percent of the UK population which could cause problems ion the future as these users potentially die in the coming years.
Jan Rezab said: “This effectively means that UK is inflecting in terms of numbers at near full penetration on Facebook.
“I can’t imagine their fans could grow by 10–20 million new users, although this depends if they allow teens under 13 on the platform and furthermore largely depends on their mobile adoption.”
He added that the slowdown over Christmas was also hard to pinpoint to being specific to this time of year because social media has grown so quickly and in so few years it is impossible to compare the usage on a year by year trend basis with the figures currently available.
“The monthly active user count is statistically vulnerable to more casual users of the platform, users that don’t use it that often and might fall out of the 30-day range from time to time… my grandpa might sometimes not be an active user on Facebook, even though he is using it,” he said.
The challenge for Facebook will now be to engage the next generation of users and to encourage irregular users to log in more frequently.