• Snapchat, Twitch and Wish are the top-ranking apps among Generation Z, the world’s first demographic group to grow up on smartphones, per a study researcher App Annie shared with Mobile Marketer. Gen Z’s mobile users spend an average of 3.7 hours a month on each of the top non-gaming apps, and they break up that time among 150 user sessions monthly, 55% more sessions than older generations do.
  • Gen Z’s unrivaled fluency with social media has made them more guarded about sharing their personal lives online, and they’re more likely than older generations to use Snapchat, which deletes messages and Stories after 24 hours. The cohort also is more likely to use Twitch, the Amazon-owned livestreaming platform whose viewership is fueled by the growing popularity of gaming and esports.
  • Gen Z also tends to favor Wish, the e-commerce platform that connects buyers directly with sellers, because its focus on deeply discounted products appeals to budget-minded consumers who prioritize low prices over longer delivery times, per App Annie.


Gen Z is entering adulthood as the first generation that has never known a world without the internet, and which grew up using smartphones for entertainment and social interaction. Brands need to recognize the centrality of smartphones to the cohort, which this year will overtake millennials as the world’s biggest demographic group and has surging spending power. In the U.S., Gen Z collectively spends $44 billion a year and influences another $600 billion in household purchases, per GlobalWebIndex data cited by App Annie.

Smartphones have raised the age group’s expectations for on-demand experiences, making access more important than ownership. Audio streaming provider Spotify and ride-hailing pioneer Uber are emblematic of Gen Z’s demand for access to services through mobile devices, per App Annie.

Gen Z also has higher expectations of brands, with 71% of the group saying that businesses should help them to achieve their personal aspirations and goals, per a PSFK survey. More than half (58%) of people in this age group choose a brand’s purpose, values and mission as its most important trait, the survey found, while millennials ranked purpose as the No. 3 consideration.

To cater to the young generation, App Annie recommends marketers prioritize the development of mobile-specific products and advertising strategies that are tailored to the demands of Gen Z consumers. With the oldest of these consumers entering adulthood and making purchase decisions independent of their parents, brands must have a mobile-first strategy to reach them and capture their spending power. Very few finance and shopping apps have gained widespread usage among Gen Z, App Annie found, leaving the field wide open for brands to focus their marketing efforts on the younger demographic group.