InnovationSocial mediaLocation, location, location: Where do Snapchat users go before shopping?

Location, location, location: Where do Snapchat users go before shopping?

Much more forthcoming with marketers these days, Snapchat has valuable location data that demonstrates where users tend to go before and after they shop.

Five months ago, Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, reported dismal earnings for Q1. We speculated about the messaging app’s future and deduced that location data would be its key differentiator going forward.

It seems that Snapchat also thinks of location data as its MVP. More than 90% of users opt-in to location sharing. This gives the company tremendous insights into where consumers go, what they do, and how they shop. Once a garden with particularly high walls, Snapchat has taken to sharing those insights not just with advertisers, but with the world.

Last week, Snapchat released the latest edition of Footprints, a series focused on its audiences’ habits. And since that audience is both young and engaged—less so than Instagram Stories, but there are still 188 million daily active users who use the platform an average of 25 times a day—these reports provide valuable information for marketers. Here are some key takeaways:

Snapchat users shop for clothes at the end of the month and on a full stomach

Sure, ecommerce and mcommerce are on the rise. But the overwhelming majority of retail sales still happen in physical stores. Based on two months of location data, Snapchat found that 18- to 24-year-olds visit clothing stores more than any other age group.

Most of these visits happen on Saturdays, which makes sense; it’s the weekend. However, Snapchat users do more of their shopping at the end of the month, as well. The average user visited an apparel store eight times a month and were 7% more likely to do so after the 21st.

Snapchat users before and after

They’re also likely to shop after they’ve eaten. Before going to clothing stores, Snapchat users overindex on visits to burger joints, juice and smoothie bars, delis, and Italian, Indian and Mexican restaurants.

If they head to an eatery after the shopping trip, it’s far more likely to be at a coffee shop or a sweet shop. Snapchat users also engage in post-purchase productivity. After buying clothes, they run errands, overindexing on trips to the bank, car repair shop or hair salon. Those who regularly go to clothing stores are more than twice as likely to be yogis and readers, and 2.8x more likely to be coffee lovers.

Big box stores aren’t one-stop shops for Snapchatters

Apparel shoppers and those who prefer big box stores have different habits. They all shop more on Saturdays, but the latter group is more active during the middle of the month. Snapchat users are 8% more likely to visit big box store shoppers from the 11th through the 20th.

Like Snapchatters who go to clothing stores, those who head to big box stores—Snapchat didn’t specify which ones, but we’re guessing Target—typically eat beforehand. However, their preferences lean more toward American and Chinese cuisines. They’re also 2.9x more likely than other users to appreciate a good burger.

Despite big box stores’ endless inventories, shoppers still visits other, more speciality retailers before and after. Beforehand, these users overindex on visits to book, convenience, footwear, furniture, sporting goods and toy stores, as well as pharmacies. While the clothes shoppers run errands after they shop, this group overindexes on visits to gyms and yoga studios afterwards. Compared with other Snapchatters, they’re more into gadgets, DIY projects and streaming TV.

What big box shoppers prefer


The third installment of the Footprints series focused on luxury retailers. Like clothes shops, luxury retailers’ biggest consumers are 18- to 24-year-olds. They also tend to shop at the end of the month, 7% more likely to visit a store after the 21st.

Luxury-minded Snapchatters have the shortest list of before locations, which includes airports, colleges and athletic wear retailers. After shopping, they overindex on visits bars, clubs and music venues, and buying accessories.

Luxury shoppers before and after

Lifestyle wise, the luxury consumers are bigger runners, wine drinkers, organic cooks and college football fans.


I find Snapchat particularly interesting because of how much the platform has changed during my time writing for ClickZ. When I was editor back in 2016, Snapchat had emerged as the favorite among younger consumers. That made brands want to be there, even if they didn’t understand quite how to use the platform to their best advantage. The lack of metrics certainly didn’t make it easier.

By the time I started writing for the site again last year, Instagram had duplicated one of Snapchat’s signature features and eclipsed the platform in popularity, both for consumers and brands. As a result, Snapchat has become a lot more friendly to marketers, for whom location data is hugely valuable. It allows them to target consumers in real time. Knowing more about foot traffic also gives them a greater understanding of consumers’ habits and lifestyles.

Starbucks sends push notifications to nearby app users. Who knows, with Snapchat’s audience insights, maybe the coffee giant will be more inclined to send them to those people in close proximity to both Starbucks and clothing stores, in case they’re itching for a post-shopping coffee.


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