Snap Inc., the company behind the Snapchat app for sharing messages, photos, and videos and the compatible Spectacles smartglasses, today provided new information about Snapchat’s historical usage and recent momentum.

Snapchat had 161 million daily active users (DAUs) in the last month of the quarter that ended on December 31, Los Angeles-based Snap Inc. said today in the S-1 filing it submitted to the U.S. Securities and Regulatory Commission, kicking off the process of going public.

Snapchat user growth through the years.

Above: Snapchat user growth through the years.

Image Credit: Snap Inc.

Snapchat’s biggest user base is in North America, with 69 million DAUs in the continent at the end of the fourth quarter. In Europe — sans Russia and Turkey — it had 53 million DAUs, according to the filing.

Snapchat's international user growth.

Above: Snapchat’s international user growth.

Image Credit: Snap Inc.

Globally, Snapchat’s DAU growth rate has slowed, not gradually but actually rather suddenly. For the quarter ending March 31, 2014, the growth rate was a whopping 415 percent. But in 2015 and 2016, the growth rate has hovered between 46 and 66 percent. The highest growth is coming not from North America or Europe but from everywhere else. The DAU growth rate outside those continents was 53 percent in the fourth quarter, while in North America it was 39 percent and in Europe it was 51 percent.

With regard to risks related to its user base, here’s what Snapchat had to say:

We anticipate that our Daily Active Users growth rate will decline over time if the size of our active user base increases or we achieve higher market penetration rates. If our Daily Active Users growth rate slows, our financial performance will increasingly depend on our ability to elevate user engagement or increase our monetization of users. If current and potential users do not perceive our products to be fun, engaging, and useful, we may not be able to attract new users, retain existing users, or maintain or increase the frequency and duration of their engagement. In addition, because our products typically require high bandwidth data capabilities, the majority of our users live in countries with high-end mobile device penetration and high bandwidth capacity cellular networks with large coverage areas. We therefore do not expect to experience rapid user growth or engagement in countries with low smartphone penetration even if such countries have well-established and high bandwidth capacity cellular networks. We may also not experience rapid user growth or engagement in countries where, even though smartphone penetration is high, due to the lack of sufficient cellular based data networks, consumers rely heavily on Wi-Fi and may not access our products regularly.

Plus, Snapchat revealed more information about the nature and behavior of its users. Here are some of the interesting tidbits:

  • Most users are 18-34 years old. “This demographic may be less brand loyal and more likely to follow trends than other demographics,” Snap said. “These factors may lead users to switch to another product, which would negatively affect our user retention, growth, and engagement.”
  • Users who were 25 years old or older opened Snapchat around 12 times a day and spent 20 minutes a day in the app on average in the fourth quarter of last year. But users who were younger than 25 visited Snapchat more than 20 times a day and spent 30 minutes in it. But altogether people visit “more than 18 times per day and spend 25 to 30 minutes on Snapchat every day,” Snap said.
  • Most user engagement happens on iOS, not Android — let alone desktop operating systems. Which is interesting considering that when Snapchat launched in 2011 it was iOS-only. “Although our products work with Android mobile devices, we have prioritized development of our products to operate with iOS operating systems rather than smartphones with Android operating systems,” Snap said.
  • More than 60 percent of users use the app’s chat function every day.
  • More than 25 percent of users post content to their stories every day.
  • People watch more than 60 percent of ads on Snapchat while their mobile devices have audio on.

This is the first update to publicly known user statistics since June, when Bloomberg, citing sources, said that Snapchat had 150 million daily active users. That was up from 110 million daily active in December 2015, and 74 million in December 2014, according to TechCrunch.

For context, earlier this week Facebook said it had 1.23 billion daily active users in the fourth quarter of 2016. When Facebook filed to go public in 2012, Facebook had 483 million daily active users.

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.