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October 12, 2020
10/12/2020

Back-to-School Takes On A New Meaning For Snapchatters

Recent findings show just how much the pandemic is changing education for the Snapchat Generation around the globe. 
A majority of US Snapchatters who are in school (84%) report that their schooling has changed this year due to Covid-19, moving at least partially to remote learning.1 While it isn’t surprising that this trend is being repeated around the globe, the magnitude of this shift is remarkable. Majorities in virtually all countries—88% in Brazil, 85% in India, 67% in Spain, and 62% in Norway—are having a new, new school year experience.2 Words and phrases like “online school” and “at home” were popping up in conversation among Snapchatters as they prepared to start school this year.3 This shift to remote learning is emerging as a unifying moment for Snapchatters around the globe.   
A Change of Plans
This experience will have a ripple effect among Snapchatters beyond this school year. A quarter of US Snapchatters (25%) report postponing their school plans this year, with the number climbing to 37% in Brazil and 38% in Japan.4 Snapchatters in Western Europe are the least likely to say that their school plans have changed, but they’re still impacted—9% in France, 11% in Italy, 13% in Norway, 14% in the Netherlands, 16% in Spain, 21% in the UK, and 23% in Germany have postponed a school plan due to Covid-19.5 In France, India, Malaysia, and the UAE, males are more likely to report changes to their school plans than females.6 
Covid-19 is having both an immediate effect on education and a long-term impact on Snapchatters’ careers. 19% of Snapchatters in the US don't yet have career plans, but of those who do, they are roughly split down the middle: 47% say that their career plans may change due to Covid-19, or have changed already.7 This number jumps to 63% in Malaysia and 67% in Mexico who report a possible change in their career.8      
As Snapchatters rethink their career paths, it may also spill over into their plans to attend college or university. While the majority still think a degree is worth the cost,9 most Gen Z Snapchatters don’t think it’s necessary to be successful.10 This reflects an emerging shift away from the traditional life path driven by younger generations—about half of today’s forward-thinking Gen Zs and Millennials (47%) want a non-traditional career path, compared to less than a quarter of Gen Xers and Boomers (23%).11 Only 14% of Gen Z Snapchatters in Indonesia think a degree is necessary to succeed, along with 18% in Australia and 19% in the UK.12
That’s not to say Snapchatters don’t value their education. In fact, many say it’s very important to them, with those in Malaysia (67%), Indonesia (58%), Brazil (57%), and Spain (55%) the most likely to agree.13 A majority go so far as to say education is a human right, including 72% in Brazil, 58% in Mexico, 58% in the UK, and 58% in Australia.14 
Nerves Are The Norm
Snapchatters care deeply about education, and one of the top words they use to describe school is “Important.”15 With the significance they place on their schooling, it follows that it can also become a source of stress. Teens use the term “Stressful” to describe school.16 Their education is stressful enough in normal times, but even more so with the added concerns of Covid-19 and new rules to follow on campus.
The Friend Zone
In many countries, the value of school comes not only from classroom learning but also from opportunities to meet and spend time with friends.17 This is especially true among Gen Z Snapchatters aged 13-24. When asked what the most important part of school is, Snapchatters in Japan, France, Germany, Italy, and Saudi Arabia ranked making friends as their top priority and Snapchatters in India and Norway said social experiences.18 
School is an important setting for young people to make new friends and build connections through social activities like having lunch together, hanging out between classes, and going to dances and events. With masks and social distancing guidelines in place and schools having shifted partly or fully online, forming those lifelong friendships will look a little different. Snapchatters will still be searching for fun opportunities to meet and hang out with friends, but may rely on digital tools more heavily when real life interactions aren't an option.
College students are even more likely to be feeling the effects on their usually bustling social lives. For many Snapchatters, university is the first time they’re able to hang out with friends without having parents or family lurking in the background. Evidence of this longing crept into their chatter as the “back to school” season kicked off in early September— “miss” was a common word, along with the many social aspects of university life.19 
Making the Grade
For Snapchatters, getting back to school means returning to familiar routines and seeing their friends again, even if it’s all happening online. Just as they’ve had to adjust to a new normal, brands should adjust their tone and messaging around the back-to-school season, acknowledging students’ new reality and highlighting how they’re here to help. Brands and students can both lean into the best parts of school: the social aspects, the personal challenges, and the sense of moving forward (safely) despite Covid-19.

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1Snap Inc. survey of US Snapchat users September 18 - 21, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Has your schooling changed due to Covid-19?"; n=904
2Snap Inc. survey of BR, IN, ES, NO Snapchat users September 18 - 23, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Has your schooling changed due to Covid-19?"; BR=506, IN=605, ES=551, NO=681
3Source: Snap Inc. Internal Global Snapchat Caption and Search data, August 15, 2020 - September 16, 2020
4Snap Inc. survey of US, BR, JP Snapchat users September 18 - 24, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Have your education plans changed due to Covid-19?"; US=941, BR=527, JP=395
5Snap Inc. survey of FR, IT, NO, NL, ES, UK, DE Snapchat users September 18 - 24, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Have your education plans changed due to Covid-19?"; FR=678, IT=327, NO=723, NL=1169, ES=586, UK=629, DE=668
6Snap Inc. survey of FR, IN, MY, AE Snapchat users September 18 - 23, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Have your education plans changed due to Covid-19?"; FR=678, IN=634, MY=676, AE=736
7Snap Inc. survey of US Snapchat users September 18 - 21, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Have your career plans changed due to COVID-19?"; US=766
8Snap Inc. survey of MY, MX Snapchat users September 18 - 22, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Have your career plans changed due to COVID-19?"; MY=603, MX=576
9Snap Inc. survey of DE, FR, JP, NO, BR, MY, SA, UAE, US, MX, IT, IN, NL, ES, UK, AU, ID Snapchat users September 18 - 24, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Which of the following, if any, do you agree with?"; DE=549, FR=562, JP=338, N0=534, BR=461, MY=595, SA=957, UAE=584, US=737, MX=482, IT=280, IN=539, NL=914, ES=493, UK=528, AU=956, ID=470
10Snap Inc. survey of DE, FR, JP, NO, BR, MY, SA, UAE, US, MX, IT, IN, NL, ES, UK, AU, ID Snapchat users September 18 - 24, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Which of the following, if any, do you agree with?"; DE=549, FR=562, JP=338, N0=534, BR=461, MY=595, SA=957, UAE=584, US=749, MX=482, IT=280, IN=539, NL=914, ES=493, UK=528, AU=956, ID=470
11Cassandra, Generations Report, 2019
12Snap Inc. survey of ID, AU, UK Snapchat users September 18 - 24, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Which of the following, if any, do you agree with?"; ID=470, AU=956, UK=528
13Snap Inc. survey of MY, ID, BR, ES Snapchat users September 18 - 24, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Which of the following, if any, do you agree with?"; MY=595, ID=470, BR=461, ES=493
14Snap Inc. survey of BR, MX, UK, AU Snapchat users September 18 - 23, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Which of the following, if any, do you agree with?"; BR=461, MX=482, UK=528, AU=956
15Snap Inc. survey of DE, FR, JP, NO, BR, MY, SA, UAE, US, MX, IT, IN, NL, ES, UK, AU, ID Snapchat users September 18 - 24, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Which one of the following words most closely aligns with how you feel about education/school?"; DE=568, FR=597, JP=354, N0=580, BR=472, MY=614, SA=993, UAE=613, US=793, MX=503, IT=297, IN=566, NL=956, ES=517, UK=549, AU=1023, ID=479
16Snap Inc. survey of DE, FR, JP, NO, BR, MY, SA, UAE, US, MX, IT, IN, NL, ES, UK, AU, ID Snapchat users September 18 - 24, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "Which one of the following words most closely aligns with how you feel about education/school?"; DE=568, FR=597, JP=354, N0=580, BR=472, MY=614, SA=993, UAE=613, US=793, MX=503, IT=297, IN=566, NL=956, ES=517, UK=549, AU=1023, ID=479
17Snap Inc. survey of DE, FR, JP, NO, BR, MY, SA, UAE, US, MX, IT, IN, NL, ES, UK, AU, ID Snapchat users September 18 - 24, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "The most important part of school is/was..."; DE=604, FR=627, JP=370, N0=629, BR=484, MY=630, SA=1018, UAE=642, US=837, MX=529, IT=302, IN=580, NL=1000, ES=530, UK=576, AU=1063, ID=489
18Snap Inc. survey of DE, FR, JP, NO, SA, IT, IN Snapchat users September 18 - 24, 2020. Age and location data subject to restrictions. See https://businesshelp.snapchat.com/en-US/a/audience-size-tool for details. Question: "The most important part of school is/was..."; DE=604, FR=627, JP=370, N0=629, SA=1018, IT=302, IN=580
19Source: Snap Inc. Internal Global Snapchat Caption and Search data, August 15, 2020 - September 16, 2020