The magic of Harry Potter has boosted attendance at Universal Studios theme parks across the country, with millennials in particular falling under the spell of the boy wizard.
That is the main conclusion from a study of foot traffic data collected by Foursquare, the tech company known for social media and check-in apps used by 50 million people a month.
The study used location data collected by Foursquare apps to determine attendance trends at U.S. theme parks.
Foursquare has already shown it can use its foot traffic data to make spot-on predictions: The company accurately predicted sales of iPhone 6s last year and forecast the magnitude of the sales decline at Chipotle restaurants following an E. coli outbreak.
“In the aggregate, we can see the cultural trends and economic trends — who is winning and who is losing,” Foursquare Chief Executive Jeff Glueck said.
Theme park companies typically don’t release attendance numbers for individual parks, so Foursquare’s location data may be helpful at showing the immediate impact of new attractions.
Foursquare said most app users also supplied biographical data, which helped the tech company determine that millennials (ages 18-34) represented a big share of the surge in attendance at Universal Studios parks in California and Florida.
More recently, the Foursquare data showed the July 4 opening of Universal Studios Hollywood’s new Walking Dead attraction increased millennial attendance by five times compared to a typical week.
But Universal Studios’ good fortune doesn’t appear to have come at the expense of its biggest rival, Walt Disney Co. Foursquare data indicate that Universal took visitors from smaller theme parks and water parks rather than Disney parks.
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