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Instagram outshines Snapchat as teens’ preferred social media platform, Piper Jaffray says

Just 28% of teens reported using Facebook, down from more than 40% two years ago, according to the semi-annual survey of teen preferences.

Dive Brief:
Eighty-five percent of teens report using Instagram at least once a month, outpacing Snapchat at 84%, according to CNBC’s reporting on Piper Jaffray’s “Taking Stock With Teens” survey. Among the teens surveyed, 70% said they prefer brands to contact them about new products through Instagram, with Snapchat and email following as the preferred methods for brand engagement at more than 40%. While Instagram is the most used platform, 46% of teens name Snapchat as their favorite, compared to 32% for Instagram. Just 28% of teens reported using Facebook, down from more than 40% two years ago.
Surveyed teens ranked Amazon as their favorite website, with 47% saying Amazon is their preferred shopping site, followed by Nike at 5%. Brands are an important driver in making a purchase for 45%, compared to 33% six years ago. Nike was listed as the top retail brand among teen. Vans, Adidas, Lululemon and Crocs are other popular brands with teens, per the report.

Teens spend 38% of their online time each day watching Netflix compared to 33% watching YouTube, according to the survey. Apple’s share of the wristwatch market increased to 17% among teens, as the Apple Watch ranked as the second most popular watch among teens.

Dive Insight:
With Generation Z contributing about $830 billion to U.S. retail sales each year, Piper Jaffray’s findings illustrate how this cohort, more so than older generations, enjoys interacting with brands on social media and lets brands drive their purchases. The findings can help marketers craft campaigns to reach these young consumers and build brand loyalty, and underscore why marketers shouldn’t lump Gen Z into the same category as millennials.

Instagram and Snapchat have been fierce competitors for Gen Z audiences, and the platforms have recently unveiled some new features aimed at attracting brands and new followers. Instagram expanded its Shopping tool and unveiled Shoppable Instagram Stories. Snapchat expanded its e-commerce offerings, as well, by allowing shopping within Snapchat Stories.

The Stories format has been the main driver of Instagram’s growth. In 2018, 104.7 million people in the U.S. — 31.8% of the population — will use Instagram, a 13.1% increase from last year, according to eMarketer. The growth will mark the first time more than half of U.S. social network users will access Instagram at least once a month.

Along with its Instagram preference, Gen Z shows some fondness for in-store shopping, with 91% of the survey respondents saying they would rather shop for cosmetics in-store. The demographic also has an affinity for fast food, with Chick-Fil-A their No. 1 restaurant, followed by Starbucks. Food was the top spending category at 24%. Many of the findings are in line with previous research on Gen Z, which also highlight how the age group embraces both in-store and online shopping.

Separate research also shows that Gen Z also expects a lot from the brands they support, including that brands support the causes most important to them.