Millennials are a coveted group of users when it comes to a targeted audience for an app. They make up the overwhelming majority of working adults, which means they are most likely to have the income to make purchases and drive downloads and revenue. When it comes to app marketing, they’re not a demographic to be ignored. It’s easy to focus solely on social apps and try to parse out their preferences between platforms such as Snapchat, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. But in order to truly understand what millennials value, it’s important to look at their habits when it comes to using apps overall. For that purpose, we will take a look at the top ten apps millennials are using in 2021.
Overall Trending Apps Among Millennials
Airbnb – This mobile app originally began as a website. It was initiated as a home sharing option for people staying in places with few traditional accommodation options or overly expensive ones. The site launched in 2008 which made it primetime for the millennial generation. Older generations like boomers may be less likely to embrace the idea of home sharing over a private hotel room. And Gen Z was and largely still is too young to fully take advantage of the site’s services due to a lack of independent income and age restrictions for rentals.
Since the site’s inception, Airbnb has grown to include not only shared spaces, but full home rentals. There’s even a subsection of the service called Airbnb Luxe, which only includes high-end rentals in different locations. However, the core features that first attracted its users remain the same. The site offers millennials the opportunity to visit a variety of destinations and experience the area through the lens of a local rather than the commercial hotel sector. And unlike a hostel, users can experience a more private stay even if their home is being shared between two to five people. Airbnb is able to appeal to the senses of individuality and adventure that millennials prioritize in order to maintain an app that is widely used and loved.
Mint – Mint is a personal finance app that helps users make budgets and keep track of their spending and credit score, among other services. According to its description in the Apple App Store, it is the #1 most downloaded personal finance app, and this is true among millennials specifically as well.
Mint goes beyond a simple budget tracker to become an education center for almost all things regarding personal finance. Once you link all of your related accounts, the app can track your net worth, help you stay on top of loan, investment, and property payments, and recommend different credit cards for you based on your score and spending habits. Recently, Mint has even introduced the “Mint 10k Giveaway”, a sweepstakes that allows app users to enter daily by logging in for a chance to win a $10,000 reimbursement of transactions tracked by the app in the past year. On top of all this, the app is completely free. For all these reasons, it’s no wonder that it’s irresistible to millennials.
Venmo – Venmo came on the scene in 2009 as a mobile money sharing app and was quickly adopted by millennials as the preferred payment system amongst friends. Where once people would have had to split a bill four ways at a restaurant to the chagrin of a waiter, or one person would have had to pay with the hope of being covered later, now they are able to engage in a variety of paid activities with ease thanks to the app.
The unique aspect of Venmo comes from its combination of utility as a money sharing app with the interface of a social media app. Users connect their bank accounts to the app and from there are able to pay and receive money from anyone else who uses the app as long as they know their username or phone number. Additionally, people can see records of their friends’ activity in the app and like said activity. When creating a request or payment, app users can also insert emojis or in-app gifs in order to add a casual air to their financial dealings. When you combine simplicity with fun and the opportunity for connection, you’ve hit the sweet spot for millennial app users and Venmo is clear proof.
Tinder – Tinder is a dating app owned by Match Group which quickly flew from new on the scene in 2012 to the leading dating app in the industry today. According to a survey, millennials were found to be the leading users of Tinder at 41% of the app’s base. Tinder is not the first or last online dating service created by any means, but its simple and accessible interface has kept it high at the top of the game. The app is synonymous with the idea of swiping and the easy and inclusive filters for features like location, sexual orientation, and age. As millennials become the primary working generation and continue to move into bustling metropolitan areas, they are relying more and more on an app like Tinder to help them make connections as they maintain their quick-paced lifestyles.
Most Popular Apps for Social Media
Facebook – There is no social media app more popular worldwide than Facebook, and this trend permeates the specific demographic of millennials. As a younger generation, they of course gravitate to the mobile version of the site in order to scroll on the go. Millennials watched Facebook grow as they did. The original site was founded in 2004 and it quickly boomed. By 2007 the Facebook mobile app had been developed and like the web page, it has rapidly grown and improved for its user base.
Facebook has many engaging features including photo sharing, status updates, reactions (which have expanded beyond just likes to angry, sad, caring, laughing, surprised, and love reacts), private messaging, and the ability to make groups for different interests or activities. As the site has grown, it’s added even more features such as in-app shopping via the Facebook Marketplace and the ability to send people money through Messenger. With its all-in-one structure and top-tier mobile optimization, it’s no wonder that Facebook is still one of the top apps for millennials in 2021.
Instagram – While Facebook does have a strong hold on millennials, social media metrics have shown that Instagram is the second most popular app for millennials who currently make up 33.1% of Instagram users. Instagram’s close proximity to Facebook makes sense considering that Facebook now owns the platform and thus has been able to update Instagram in ways that can appeal to Facebook’s long established base. Additionally, Instagram has its own unique features that make it an appealing social app to use. These include Instagram Stories (which Facebook has since adapted), fun filters, and the widespread use and power of hashtags. Many millennials use Instagram to keep up with friends much the way people use Facebook to keep up with family. Because of this, millennials log onto the app almost every day to post and scroll.
YouTube – According to Hootsuite, YouTube is right behind Facebook as the second most used social media platform worldwide. Specifically in the US, 77% of YouTube users are millennials. YouTube is a noteworthy social media app because it is entirely video-based. Many millennials no longer subscribe to a written newspaper, but with YouTube they are able to receive updates about what’s going on in the world through short or long-form videos that they can access from their pockets. While they are watching videos, millennials are also watching ads. In an age where few people watch network television, YouTube ads are a major way for millennials to learn about new brands and products that they may want to try.
Best Fitness Apps for Millennials
Nike Run Club – There are many popular apps in the fitness industry but Nike Run Club is taking millennials by storm. The app was created by the popular activewear brand, Nike, and has found an innovative way to combine fitness and social activity. With Nike Run Club, runners can set goals, go on guided runs, and track run metrics such as distance, time, elevation, and speed. Additionally, the app encourages runners to join group challenges to help them reach their goals. The challenges have set distances such as 30, 60, or 90 miles to run within a month and users of the app can be invited to join a group challenge by its host. This allows runners to train on their own schedule, but still feel connected to friends through the app. There is even a feature that allows users to upload their specific pair of shoes so that they can keep track of miles they’ve run in them and know when it’s time to purchase a fresh pair. This app appeals to millennials’ sense of community and their surprising measure of brand loyalty. Those who are already tied to Nike for their activewear love the ability to rep the brand from all sides. Despite this, the app is available to all users whether they have Apple watches, iPhones, Google devices, or FitBits, further stretching its reach.
MyFitnessPal – This app has been around since millennials were still using messaging apps on their iPod touches, but its popularity remains.It has 1.3 million downloads in the App Store and counting. The app allows users to track calories and macros, log activity, and set goals. Continuous tracking allows users to check their progress regularly and adjust accordingly. There are also recipes and meal plans available to look at and use. A community aspect shows success stories from different users to inspire others. The app is all encompassing when it comes to looking at health and wealthness and so similarly to Mint, millennials are able to keep everything they need on the topic of their personal health at their fingertips in one place.
Best Online Shopping Apps for Millennials
Amazon – Over the past few years Amazon has risen to the top of the chain when it comes to online vendors, even extending its reach to physical stores such as Whole Foods. Currently it is the most popular mobile shopping app for millennials, 81% of whom, according to a YPulse survey, use the mobile app to shop weekly. This makes sense for millennials because Amazon is a one-stop shop for all of their needs. Whether looking for a bed frame or a last minute outfit for a costume party, millennials can log into the app and tap to receive their items quickly – sometimes just one day after ordering.
Poshmark – Another category gaining popularity with younger consumers is secondhand/thrifted clothing. Poshmark is in the lead when it comes to apps that people can use to purchase gently used (or even unworn) clothing. Users create profiles that they can use to buy and sell with ease. The image-based app gives a nod to Pinterest, allowing users to click on pictures of clothing items to see more details. Once interested in an item, buyers can even negotiate to get discounts for buying multiple items or waive shipping fees. The app is easy to use and is reminiscent of buying from a small business on Etsy, making it a huge favorite among millennials.
Best App Takeaways for Creators
All of the popular apps for millennials range across many different categories but they all have a few similarities. Each app provides value to its users and each app is convenient for those who lead busy lifestyles. Some of these apps pointedly make those busy lifestyles more manageable. If you’re brainstorming app ideas or thinking of ways to improve your current iteration of an app, these are important factors to keep in mind. Whether you want to create a dating app, a fitness app, or a social media app, make sure that it is specific in its value and that it’s quick and easy to use. If you can meet these two requirements, you may find yourself in a top ten apps for millennials article down the line.