A quarter of UK will be tweeting by 2018, over-65s driving the growth

Over a quarter of the UK will be tweeting by 2018 with the number of social network users flocking to Twitter mushrooming to 17.1 million people – up from the 12 million active users it reached by the end of 2013.

Related: A guide to getting more Twitter followers – the right way

New estimates from eMarketer show that 47.1 per cent of UK social network users will use Twitter once a month by 2018, which is an increase from the 38.7 per cent that were engaging with the service by the end of 2013.

Figures for the last year show a 40.6 per cent increase in those using the service at least once a month and 18.8 per cent of the UK population are using the social network. This number will reach 25.8 per cent of the population by 2018 and much of the growth will be among the older quartile of the population, which follows a similar trend to Facebook.

“The continuing growth of the Twitter audience follows typical patterns for post-early-adoption social networking sites. After Facebook attracted a core of teen and young adult users, those users’ parents and grandparents started signing up, and the social networking giant saw its main growth coming from the oldest and youngest users,” stated an article from eMarketer.

It’s illustrated by eMarketer’s figures for the current year that show it expects usage of those over 65 to increase by 37.8 per cent whereas the rate for 12-to-44-year-olds has slowed to around the average growth rate for the service as a whole.

eMarketer’s figures on the total amount of users taking to the service conflict with those reported by Twitter itself, former UK general manager Tony Wang stating that it had 15 million users in the UK back in September 2013.

Related: Football, Wimbledon and One Direction dominate Twitter in 2013

Although eMarketer did confirm to The Guardian that the figure it arrived at is based on numerous sources including web traffic data and surveys, and doesn’t include multiple accounts, fake accounts or those that are business-related.