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These 5 apps are up-and-comers with Gen Z, report says

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Five social media apps that are becoming popular with Generation Z are described in a new report as ones to watch during the upcoming year.

The apps, identified by Zebra IQ, a market research firm that helps advertisers reach young consumers, help users express their creativity online or compete with friends. And if the apps continue to gain popularity, they ultimately could challenge popular Gen Z app TikTok, along with Facebook’s family of apps.

Gen Z, made up of people born from 1995 to 2010, includes an estimated 3 billion people globally. In addition to being a tremendous economic power, they are establishing the winners and losers online.

Here are the apps Zebra IQ identified:


Genies lets users create personalized digital avatars of themselves to use across social media and messaging services. The Los Angeles–based company has raised $36.1 million in funding, according to PitchBook, and has attracted celebrity users including pop stars Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and NBA star Russell Westbrook. It also has landed partnerships with brands like Gucci, New Balance, the National Basketball Players Association, and Frito-Lay. 


Teens and video game fans have flocked to this app to play games like Fortnite, Flappy Bird, and Minecraft while video chatting with their friends. Last week, the three-year-old app received $20 million in funding from investors including General Catalyst Riot Games and Electronic Arts, on top of the $8 million it had previously raised. The company said it planned to use the new funds to accelerate the app’s integration with other popular multiplayer games.


The mobile app gives users a set of editing tools and templates to create visually appealing stories on social media. Since its founding in 2018, it has helped users post more than a billion stories. The New York–based company, acquired by Squarespace for an undisclosed sum last year, offers three tiers of service, ranging from free to $99.99 annually. The free service offers users basic templates and standard fonts, filters, and stickers. Paying subscribers get access to premium tools, including the ability to add custom colors and logos.


Lomotif is trying to capitalize on the explosion of video across social media. The app helps users create their own mini–music videos with editing tools, music library, and a portfolio of GIFs. The app has garnered the attention of celebrities like Alicia Keys and Luh Kel, who promoted the app in a marketing campaign. Lomotif, based in Singapore, is backed by venture capital firms including Beijing’s China Creation Ventures, Singapore’s TNF Ventures, and StartX, a Palo Alto–based incubator.


The social video service is a TikTok rival that’s been rapidly gaining traction. The app, majority-owned by investor Proxima Media, gives users editing tools and video filters to make short videos of their dance challenges and comedy skits. The app, valued at $130 million in its most recent financing round last year, has been downloaded more than 250 million times and boasts 65 million active users. 

In July, the Los Angeles company hired 18-year-old TikTok star Josh Richards to serve as its chief strategist. It also lured TikTokers Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck as advisers. Celebrities including Cardi B, Alicia Keys, and Eminem have all posted on the service.

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