So far I have made predictions in the Microsoft space and about the rise of the AppStore. Today I turn my attention to Facebook.
Facebook is everywhere, with over 500 million users in about 190 countries, and 250 million who are active daily. If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest country in the world, almost double the size of the United States, which is the real #3. Everywhere I go from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Budapest, Hungary, to Cairo, Egypt, everyone is on Facebook. Even my dad is on Facebook. It appears that Facebook is unstoppable.
Facebook has had unbelievable growth: In just under 2 years, it grew 500% from 100 million users to 500 million users. My prediction is that in 2011 we will see the amazing growth of Facebook slow down.
The reason is simple: Facebook is saturated in the developed countries (when your reclusive Aunt sends you a friend request, you know it is saturated) and in order to continue to grow so rapidly, it has to tap the developing markets in a big way. Already locked out of the largest developing market, China, due to censorship issues, Facebook is behind in other developing markets such as Russia (where it is #5) and Brazil (where it is #3). While there is opportunity for growth in those markets, it won’t be as fast overall (5x) as it has been in the past. Facebook has to compete against already established players and it will take time to gain market share.
As with all predictions, I could be wrong and Facebook could surprise me. If they keep on this rate of growth, there will be 1 billion Facebook users by January 2012.