Teens’ Favorite Social Platform Is… Still Snapchat

April 17, 2017

Teens over the years have had some fairly fickle preferences when it comes to their social platforms. But it seems that Snapchat has some staying power with youth: not only does it remain their favorite social platform, but it’s increasing its lead over its competitors, according to Piper Jaffray’s latest bi-annual survey of US teens.

Snapchat first ascended to the throne of teen social popularity in the Spring 2016 survey, when it pipped Instagram – and it hasn’t looked back since. While Instagram has stayed steady in the second spot since then, Twitter and Facebook have receded into the distance, now each the favorite network for only about 1 in 10 teens surveyed. By contrast, Snapchat has continued to build its dominance, climbing to become the favorite for an impressive 39% of teens surveyed, well ahead of Instagram (23%).

If you’re keeping count, more teens now say their favorite platform is Snapchat than do Facebook or Instagram, combined.

Snapchat’s continued appeal with teens comes despite well-documented “copycat” moves from those other platforms, and interestingly also comes amidst a changing user base. Whereas once upon a time there was talk of Facebook no longer being “cool” as kids’ parents and grandparents joined the platform, that doesn’t seem to have affected Snapchat, at least not yet. To be fair, Snapchat is still the most youth-oriented social platform, but recent data released by comScore shows that the age distribution of its adult audience has changed dramatically in the past year. Specifically, whereas young Millennials aged 18-24 comprised almost half of the adult audience in December 2015, that share had plunged to just over one-quarter of the adult user base a year later. The biggest gainers in user share? The 55-64 bracket…

It’s worth noting that Facebook and Instagram are far from irrelevant with teens, though. The latest Infinite Dial report from Edison Research and Triton Digital found that Facebook is the most-used platform for the largest share of 12-24-year-olds, followed by Snapchat and Instagram. And in this latest Piper Jaffray survey, teens (14-18) were as likely to say they use Instagram (79%) as to say they use Snapchat (81%), though Facebook was considerably behind (51%), with its popularity decreasing with younger respondents.

In other results from the survey:

  • Nike is the top footwear and clothing brand for teens, far ahead of its closest competitors in each category;
  • Amazon is the top shopping website for 43% of teens, with the next-closest competitors, Nike and American Eagle, favored by just 5% each;
  • Starbucks is the the top restaurant for both average-income and upper-income teens;
  • More teens report watching Netflix (38%) and YouTube (26%) daily than do cable TV (23%);
  • Some 81% of teens expect their next phone to be an iPhone, the highest mark recorded in the survey’s history and up from 79% in the previous survey;
  • Teen spending declined by 2.4% year-over-year, with parent contribution to the teens wallet down to 63%; and
  • Food makes up almost one-quarter (24%) of teens’ spending and amid rising share of wallet, while clothing takes up close to one-fifth (19%) of spending.

About the Data: The Piper Jaffray data is based on a survey of 5,500 teens with an average of 16 and an average household income of $66,100. Some 55% of respondents are male.


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