I was reading a piece in the FT on Friday about ‘facebook fatigue.’ It was making the case that Facebook’s growth was slowing and that they were losing the support of the all- important 18-24 demographic. The article was mainly based on on anecdotal evidence but it is something that I have also felt recently so it struck a chord with me.
The ‘buying cycles’ for technology are getting shorter and shorter. This is because devices are cheaper and cloud based services are both easy to sign up to and also to move on from. So we are in a constant state of upgrading and trying new devices and apps.
This is especially true of the consumer market. With the business market cycles will always be longer because of the integration and training implications of adopting new technology.
Young people will generally move away from a mass market player. They want something that’s ‘cool’ and at least a bit anti-corporate.
Facebook is now the ultimate mass-market player. More than a billion people are on Facebook – that’s 1 in 7 of the world’s population and nearly half of all Internet users. What’s more they have moved heavy handedly into commercializing their service. On top of this the whole world is moving more and more onto mobile devices where the Facebook service doesn’t work so well.
With all this in mind it is hardly surprising that the younger generation are looking elsewhere.
Microsoft and Google didn’t face the same problems – or at lest not so quickly. They also relied more on the business buyer and provided more of a utility that was less susceptible to trends.
All this makes me worry about the future for Facebook. I know that with their platform strategy the company ismore entrenched across the web than people realize. I also appreciate that they have made good progress on mobile.
But if you take the younger generation as a proxy for where the market is heading then I’m not at all convinced about their future as a business that will continue to grow and take its place at the top table of lasting technology brands.