First of all, it’s a disposable camera. Then there are the low rise jeans. Now, Gen Z’s latest “retro” obsession is the flip phone — the mid-1990s phone that’s suddenly become very popular with millennials.
Today, these smaller, lighter devices — some for as little as $20 at big box retailers like Walmart and Amazon — are popping up in TikTok videos of young people unboxing them and showing off their cases like generations before them , and shoot tutorials on achieving goals through a low-quality camera to create a carefree, blurry aesthetic.
But most of all, they love the ability to disconnect — or as much as possible 2023.
“I’m Team Flip Phone Revolution,” singer Camila Cabello tweeted Thursday, posing with a TCL flip phone, High quality. “Maybe I could write the theme song.”
Dove Cameron, the actress who rose to fame on Disney Channel’s “Liv and Maddie,” said in a November interview that she has switched to a flip phone. Spending too much time on her phone and social media “really sucks for me,” she said.
“I found a Matrix-y flip phone from the ’90s,” Cameron said. “I have a separate number and it’s really cheap and I think it could be really bad.”
Cameron said she unplugged and switched because she found her presence on social media “misleading”.feels common Among Gen Z — and its Impact is associated with anti-mental health crises.
As smartphones and social media became more common around 2012, rates of depression among teens rose, psychologists said. Rates of depression nearly doubled between 2004 and 2019, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Sammy Palazzolo, 18, a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has a new habit of using her phone on nights out with friends.
She and her friends listen to the latest tunes on their smartphones while they get ready. Then, when it’s time to leave, they leave those smart devices behind.
Instead, they spend their evenings in contact with each other only via their flip phones, taking pictures of them despite the primitive cameras these days. Their equipment is an important talking point.
“At parties, people would say, ‘Oh my god, is that a flip phone?'” Palazzolo said. “We’re going to talk to some new people, get to know some people, and everyone loves it.”
Reagan Boeder, 18, said she is trying to keep her sorority sisters on the bandwagon.
“I think people are going out with flip phones more and more because it’s so fun and nostalgic and it’s really a vibe,” Bode said.
Before switching phones, Palazzolo found that her nights out in college towns often resulted in tears over unwelcome things Post on social media or text from an ex, “The root cause is our phones.”
As old-fashioned technology began to make a comeback, they came up with an unconventional solution.
In December, she and three friends went to the local Walmart. For 18-year-olds, the journey from what model they should buy to finding the right cell phone plan is alien. Four hours later, Palazzolo bought the AT&T Flex for $49.99; her friends got a cheaper model for $19.99 through Tracphone.
Palazzolo’s TikTok encouraging others to buy a flip phone has over 14 million views and over 3 million likes, with hashtags including #BRINGBACKFLIPPHONES and #y2kaesthetic.
“It takes out all the bad things about college and brings all the good things about cell phones,” Palazzolo said. “It’s about connecting with people and taking photos and videos. The photos and videos on this are going viral.”
HMD Global, the exclusive licensee of Nokia, said Gen Z is an unusual demographic for the company. Both companies are based in Finland.
“This generation’s first phone wasn’t a Nokia, and they probably discovered our brand through social networks,” said Jackie Kates, head of marketing at HMD Global.
Generation Z are used to many features of smartphones, including apps like Instagram, Find My Friends or GPS. However, relying on these simple devices also has security concerns. Without “find me” tracking, Palozzolo said she gets close to her friends and uses the buddy system to keep track of who is where.
Palozzolo wanted to use a flip phone one high school summer because she thought it would be “cool.” “My parents said absolutely not, we need to be able to track you down,” she said.
Palazzolo is no stranger to “old fashioned” technology—she’s been bringing a digital camera to parties since her sophomore year in high school.
Even though Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro has a 48-megapixel camera, it misses out on the delayed gratification of waiting for photos to develop or download to your computer. Popular apps like “Hisptamatic” and “Dazz Cam” recreate digital and film camera photos and have thousands of downloads.
The disposable camera market is expected to grow by $1.23 billion by 2030. Celebrities like TikTokker Charlie D’Amelio and model Emily Ratajkowski have jumped on the 2000s digital camera bandwagon.
“I love photos on flip phones because they’re grainy and blurry,” Palazzolo said. “And I think it perfectly captures the vibe of being out at college.”
Perhaps one of the reasons Gen Z craves the 1990s and 2000s is the privacy and lack of curated imagery. It’s social media at its most casual — with candid photos and a photo dump of BeReal, a popular app that once a day asks users to take a live selfie and post it within two minutes.
“I never want to be that guy who’s on the phone all the time,” Boeder said. “Getting a flip phone made this possible.”
Back then, “people were more connected to each other than our phones and social media,” Boeder said. “It seems like people are just talking to each other more and everything is more authentic and spontaneous.”
HMD Global says that many people like the idea that less is available.
“We attribute this shift to the fact that many smartphone users are starting to realize that they are spending too much time on their devices, and there is a strong desire to disconnect and be ‘fully present’ to improve the quality of their social connections,” Cates said. .”
yes new The Nokia flip phone is still on sale — the Nokia 2760 Flip is available at Walmart for $19.99 from prepaid brands like Verizon. The 2780 is available at Amazon and Best Buy for $89.99.
International Data Corporation: 2022 foldable phone market It is expected to reach $29 billion by 2025 – a compound annual growth rate of 70%. Samsung has shipped more than 10 million units since the first-generation model, and will account for more than 88% of the global foldable smartphone market by 2022.
These aren’t your $30 flip phones at Walmart. The unlocked Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 starts at $1,799.99 and the Galaxy Z Flip4 starts at $999.99.
“Samsung chose to bet on its foldable smartphone; Omdia’s mobile device team principal analyst Zaker Li said:
Omdia attributes high prices for Samsung’s foldable phone to sluggish sales of its early models, but sales are ‘growing rapidly’ arrive 9 million units in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 309%.
Apple needn’t worry, though — Omdia expects foldable phones to account for 3.6 percent of the overall smartphone market by 2026. In contrast, Apple’s market share exceeds half of the entire smartphone market.