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How to Build a Mobile App for Generation Z

  • Rating — 5 (3 voices)
  • by Ivanna Denys
  • Updated on September 26, 2019
  • Read —
    6-7 minutes
development for Gen zers

Gen Z is growing up and this means that they’re going to replace millennials as the major group using digital products in the next 5 to 10 years. For app developers, this creates a whole bunch of new challenges. It’s hard to predict at this point how exactly generation Z will influence the world when their finest hour comes. But we can clearly see that these people greatly differ from their predecessors and so do their habits, needs, and expectations.

To help you build a stunning mobile app that would appeal to Gen Z, we’ll explain who they are and what they like. We’ll also take a look at the main aspects you should consider during app development to make your product more Gen Z-friendly.

  1. Gen Z: getting to know them better
  2. What do Gen Zers expect from a mobile app?
  3. Examples of mobile apps Gen Zers just love

Gen Z: getting to know them better

In short, generation Z is a demographic cohort representing people born between 1995 and 2010. If you google it, you may also find that Gen Z is sometimes called iGen. The latter name refers to the environment these people were raised in. 

Unlike millennials who can still remember the pre-Facebook era in their childhood or even teen time, Gen Zers are digital natives. Most of them have been using smartphones since they learned how to hold items. Such things as good Internet speed and variety of social media have been around their whole life. Naturally, all this has a huge impact on how generation Z sees the world, behave, and interact with technologies.

Gen Z

In particular, study shows that more than half of them (55 percent) cannot go without Internet access for more than 5 hours while 27 percent of Gen Z representatives are not ready to spend even 60 minutes without entering the world wide web. The good news for app creators is that generation Z is online almost constantly using their mobile phones on average for 5 hours a day. However, they are also much more demanding having rather high requirements to the apps they choose. 

What do Gen Zers expect from a mobile app?

Good speed

Since generation Z has had access to the Internet and, thus, to the huge amount of information since they were toddlers, they are able to process everything faster. But the downside is that their attention span is shorter as well. So if your app doesn’t hook them up in approximately 8 seconds, you’ll lose this audience. 

The above not only applies to what your product does or what problems it solves. The speed of downloading should be impeccable, the app has to work smoothly, and the user interface must be intuitive so users do not lose time searching for the necessary button. 

Control over their digital footprint 

One of the reasons why Facebook became a global social media is that it gave its users an opportunity to share their content to the large audiences. As a result, people started posting literally everything that happens in their lives, from thoughts on some political events to photos of breakfast. So generation Z was raised in a world where borders between public and private information are blurred. 

As a protest to such openness, they started to lean more towards platforms which offer better control over their personal data. Statistics show that about 25 percent of teens between 13 and 17 years left Facebook in 2014. At the same time, Snapchat that allows its users to share their stuff with selected peers is growing in popularity among representatives of the same age group. So be clear with your privacy policies and let your Gen Z users set limitations on who can access the content they share.

generation Z

Niche products 

If you envisioned an app development project aimed at Gen Zers, you’d better forget about the idea to build a product they all will love and instead focus on something more niche and specific. You should understand that your future users aren’t ready to waste time tweaking preferences, looking for like-minded people, or trying to adjust their needs and habits to what an app can offer. This new generation wants to get an application that caters to their particular interests right away. 

To create a mobile app that has the potential to become popular among representatives of generation Z, choose a narrow target audience and learn about them as much as possible. How does their typical day look like? What are their concerns, pain points, and aspirations? What they are willing to pay for? ect. 

Personalized experience 

Yes, it’s something millennials also want to have. But people belonging to this generation (or to the preceding ones) treat personalization as a benefit or something that only adds value to an application. At the same time, generation Z expects that it would be a default characteristic of any digital product they use. 

What exactly does this mean for app developers? First of all, such features as saving log-in information and geolocation are non-negotiable. You just have to include them. Secondly, using machine learning algorithms in app development becomes the necessity because only AI technologies can provide the level of personalization that can satisfy the needs of Gen Z.

Creativity

Study shows that about 51 percent of Gen Zers believe they are more creative than other generations. And while such self-assessment might be biased, the general statement is still true. Most of them indeed spend their free time online doing some creative activity, for example, photo editing or creating memes, gifs, etc. You may also see how this impact the way generation Z communicates. Even when it comes to chatting, emoji play an important role in the way these people convey and perceive the text.

Generation Z

Source: Into Z Future by JWT Intelligence in partnership with Snap Inc.

That’s why the ability to express themselves is one of the most important things Gen Zers seek in digital products. Interestingly, there are no clear priorities in terms of the forms of art they prefer. Representatives of generation Z are more generalists, being good at several creative activities like writing stuff, playing music, making illustrations, and so on. So if you want to develop a Gen Z-friendly mobile app, be sure to include some creative tools in it.

Examples of mobile apps Gen Zers just love

TwitchTwitch 

It’s a game-streaming service with 15 million unique daily viewers. The engagement level is quite high as well (about 106 minutes per session). What’s the secret? Twitch is a niche platform gathering a community of avid gamers. It’s highly tailored to the needs of its audience. And, yes, a person who doesn’t play computer games will unlikely use Twitch. But can we say the app isn’t successful? I bet your answer is “no”.

SnapchatSnapchat

Snapchat is the most favorite application of generation Z and we see two main reasons for that. First, as already mentioned, it offers better control over the shared content while allowing its users to stay connected with their friends. Secondly, the app contains a decent set of creative tools which Gen Zers rank top for creating art ahead of other social media like Instagram and Facebook.

TikTokTikTok

It’s an iOS and Android app that allows users to create short 15-second video clips with music in the background. In addition to a wide variety of video editing features (e.g. filming reaction to a video, filming a video aside of another video, filming lip-sync videos), TikTok analyzes users’ interests with the help of AI technology and delivers a truly personalized experience.

Conclusion

Building a mobile app for generation Z will probably be a challenge for app creators since they have to rethink the way users interact with technologies. On the flip side, Gen Zers are digital natives, they hang out online a lot, and developing a product they’ll like is a great chance to earn billions of dollars.

Want to create a mobile app for Gen Z and looking for professional developers?

Ivanna is a Content Marketing Manager of GBKSOFT passionate about tech advancements, marketing, and startups. Her dream is to make the virtual world a better place with the help of a written word.


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