Just before IPO, Facebook U.S. growth slows

Nathan Pensky · January 3, 2012 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/2330
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Biggest international growth in Facebook users in Brazil and India

Social networking giant Facebook has experienced amazing growth in the past few years -- about 609 million followers sine 2009. Yes, you saw that figure right: 609 million followers in about 32 months, for a total of more than 800 million users. That comes to about 600,000 users per day or about seven per second.

However, in the past year, and especially in the past two months, that growth has slowed considerably, according to Facebook ad-testing and management system Optim.al, in a study conducted over 1,001 days between 2009 and 2011.

From April to November 2009, the rate of growth was at seven users per second, while from November 2009 to July 2010, it slowed slightly to 6.96 per second. Then in the period between July to March 2011, growth increased to 8.39 per second. That growth levelled out again from March to September 2011, growing at 7.02 users per second. After that things slowed down considerably. From September to December 2011, users joined Facebook at only five per second. 

While five is nothing to sneeze at and many companies are lucky to see one user sign up per second or minute, Facebook's valuation demands almost perfect stats. Facebook is expected to go public sometime in the second quarter, with a valuation exceedig $100 billion. 

So why the sudden downturn? One report claims the slowndown may be because Facebook has become so pervasive that everyone who is going to be on Facebook already is, and that those who are joining the site now are people who are new to the Internet altogether.

Also new to the site are international users. American Facebookers still overwhelmingly represents the largest number of new users of the site, with 97 million new accounts from people in the U.S. during the 1,001 day study. But in the last 90 days, U.S. accounts for only 4% of user growth. Conversely, Brazil makes up 19% of the growth during the pastt three months, ending in December 2011, even though Brazillian Facebookers are only 4.4% of the site's total users.

In the past three months, Brazil's 7.2 million new users has been the largest amount of international growth. Behind them, India has added 5 million in that time, accounting for 13% of the site's growth. It's interesting to note that current Indian Facebook users account for only 3.4% of the country's population of over 1.2 billion people.

Data from 2010 shows that only about 100 million people in India, or 8.5% of their population, have access to the Internet. Compare this to China's 400 million Internet users, which is about 29% of their total population of 1.4 billion people.

In the past 30 days, Brazil and India have added more users than the next 32 most-added combined, including the U.S. More than 75% of Facebook users live outside the U.S. So what does this all mean? It means that while America might be getting Facebook saturated, there could still be huge potential for growth overseas.

[Image Credit: Hidden Harmonies]

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