The top 6 mobile apps trending with Gen Zers, according to 50 of them

  • Gand Z users are less interested in social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
  • Photo sharing apps like BeReal and Locket help them connect with close friends.
  • They use astrology apps, such as Co-Star and The Pattern, to find new communities.

Gen Z is the first generation to mature with a smartphone in hand.

Researchers have broadly defined this generation as people born between 1992 and 2012. They are often referred to as digital natives because they have never known a life without the internet. Insider’s Hilary Holloway said they’ve finally wiped millennials off the stage. Now they are the “it” generation and VCs are taking note.

Gen Z’s habits are driving the next big trend in consumer technology.

They transformed Depop, a clothing resale app, into a popular marketplace for Y2K jeans, baguette bags, and vintage bombers. When e-commerce giant Etsy got wind of the promotion in 2021, it acquired the startup for $1.6 billion. The video app TikTok has grown into the amphitheater of Gen Z in recent years. It is the most downloaded app in the world, CNET reported, with more than 175 million downloads since the start of 2022. Nearly 60% of users are between 16 and 24 years old, Wallaroo Media said. It’s clear that Gen Z maneuvers through the virtual world like no generation before.

Still, the pandemic forced many of them to rethink the apps they were using.

Susanna, a 25-year-old living in Portland, Oregon, was less engaged with her social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook. “It really diminished the appeal for me to the point where I could finally go cold turkey,” she said. “I notice that I have much less superficial friendships. I stay really close to my inner circle.”

Rex Woodbury, a partner at Index Ventures, believed this was part of a larger phenomenon he termed “social bifurcation.” In his Substack newsletter, ‘Digital Native’, he illustrated our social networks through a series of four concentric circles. The first ring consists of close family and friends. The second is for common friends. The third is for acquaintances and the fourth is for strangers.

Concentric Circles

Rex Woodbury

“The next wave of

social platforms

will also be built to serve ring 1 and 4,” he wrote.

The idea is for Gen Z to retreat to platforms that strengthen their most intimate relationships, such as BeReal, Locket, and Snapchat. These photo sharing apps encourage users to interact through unfiltered snapshots. The kind of pictures they would only send to friends they know inside out.

At the same time, they are drawn to apps that help them answer big questions. Astrology apps, such as Co-Star and The Pattern, have become an outlet for Gen Z users to answer questions of identity and purpose with like-minded communities they might not have encountered otherwise.

“There has been a loss of geographically rooted or religious identity, which has led to an increase in mobile and fluid chosen identities,” said Paige Doherty, one of the founders of Behind Genius Ventures. That’s one of the reasons she believed that astrology apps were not only getting more popular, but they were steadfast.

We asked 50 Gen Zers and a handful of Gen Z VCs to think about the apps they download.

These are the top they mentioned.

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