Piper Jaffray: Snapchat's reign over teen social media use continues
- Snapchat is holding firm atop teens’ social media hierarchy. Almost 40% of teens declare Snapchat is their favorite social platform, compared to 35% in the fall of last year, and 81% use Snapchat at least once a month, up from 80% in the prior period, according to Piper Jaffray’s semiannual consumer insights project called “Taking Stock With Teens.” Despite Snapchat’s dominance, Piper Jaffray highlighted that Snapchat hasn’t caused steep declines in Facebook usage. Roughly half of teens regularly use Facebook, and 33% identify it in their top three social networks.
- Amazon is winning over youngsters. Piper Jaffray noted the e-commerce giant made gains in teen mindshare, and that Walmart and Target trail far behind it on the metric, posing no threat. Furthering Amazon’s household penetration, the firm documented Amazon Prime adoption rates haven risen across all income brackets in each of its past six surveys.
- Teens have a clear preference for Apple phones. Piper Jaffray’s survey found 76% of them own an iPhone, up 2% from fall of last year. The firm was bullish on teens’ interest in the upcoming iPhone 8 as 80% of teens said their next phone will be an iPhone. Teens’ preference for iPhones doesn’t translate into demand for other Apple devices. Only 13% of teens plan on purchasing an Apple Watch over the next six months.
Rumors of Facebook’s descent into the uncool abyss were greatly exaggerated. The social media colossus has been cribbing Snapchat features to stay relevant, and that strategy may be paying off. In its survey of 5,500 teens, Piper Jaffray found Facebook adoption has been stable. The firm elaborated, “Facebook surprisingly held onto its teen engagement despite heavy competition for teen attention.”
Facebook-owned social media network Instagram is a particularly strong bulwark against Snapchat. Piper Jaffray discovered it’s exhibiting strong adoption among the youngest teens, indicating it has long-term staying power. Furthermore, Piper Jaffray pointed out monetization opportunities abound on Instagram. The image-fueled platform bests Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat as teens' chosen channel for receiving communications about new products and promotions. To Instagram’s probable dismay, however, Piper Jaffray also suggested Snapchat is “set for solid monetization.”
In the short term, Snapchat’s prospects look promising. Piper Jaffray emphasized teens are extremely attracted to Snapchat’s approach, and it foresees daily active user growth in Q1 for Snapchat. Longer-term prospects for the mobile app are murkier. Piper Jaffray's analysts underscored Snapchat is under immense pressure from “diversification use cases” at Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
Mobile game developers and marketers will find a mixed bag in the survey results. Teen mobile game play is down to 73% from 77% in the fall of last year, and it’s down from 83% four years ago. The good news for the mobile gaming segment is that teens demonstrate a willingness to pay for virtual goods within mobile games. When asked about forking over dollars for energy, coins or extra levels, 28% of teens responded they do shell out for those in-game boosts compared to 24% in the fall that did so.