Looking To Reach Commuters? Foursquare Data Shows It's Time

Data from a study released by Foursquare and Apptopia this week reveals insights that are mostly useful for marketers looking for performance in search, mobile and out-of-home. The data shows people have begun once again to venture outside and are willing to travel and taking note of what they find.

Location and mobile app data confirms that public transportation remains down from the highs of last year, as visits to subway and train stations fell to 50% of pre-pandemic levels.

In certain geographic areas, commuters are more inclined to begin using public transit again. Three of those cities include Atlanta, San Diego, and Dallas.

While ridesharing saw a significant drop in use during the height of the pandemic, demand has recovered significantly. Still, rideshare app downloads for Uber and Lyft are down 21% year-over-year.



Location and mobile app data shows consumers are inclined to drive, and are showing interest in buying new and used vehicles.

The urge to travel in private transportation has increased the use of car-buying apps year-over-year. Visits to auto dealerships are back to pre-pandemic levels, and apps like CarGurus and Carvana are up year-over-year. 

  • March – up 12%
  • April – down 13%
  • May – up 5.2%
  • June – up 16.4%

And with the increase in car use, visits to gas stations have returned roughly to pre-pandemic levels. Certain regions are higher, although fewer people are commuting to and from work.

Biking also continues to increase. Usage of bike rental apps is up year-over-year, and visits to bike shares and shops have recovered from the pandemic. While scooters are seeing seasonal upticks, demand is down compared with last year.

Mobile app installs for bike-share apps rose in May by 15.6% and in June by 23.3% year-over-year.

Interestingly, the time of day people travel also changed. Gas station visits by time of day remained about the same, but visits to metro stations rose between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., whereas prior to the pandemic visits were down.

Commuters riding the metro are more often coffee locaters, luxury shoppers and sports fans. Those who ride the train are culture vultures, hosts and foodies, and self-care enthusiasts.

Commuters who drive are more likely fans of fast food, fixer uppers and household CEOs. Bike travelers are more likely to travel frequently, actively eat health foods and love the outdoors.

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