The first were disposable cameras. Then there were the low jeans. Now, Gen-Z’s latest “vintage” obsession is the flip phone — a phone that suddenly became very popular among millennials in the mid-1990s.
Today, these smaller, lighter devices — some of which sell for $20 at big-box retailers like Walmart and Amazon — are featured in TikTok videos where young people unbox them, dazzle with their work as previous generations did, and draw tutorials on how to achieve them. a carefree, blurry aesthetic through a low-quality camera.
But most of all, they love the ability to disconnect—or as much as possible In 2023.
“I’m team flip phone revolution,” said singer Camila Cabello, posing with a TCL flip phone., grape “Maybe I can write the theme song.”
Dove Cameron, the actress who rose to fame on the Disney Channel show “Liv and Maddie,” said in November. interview he switched to a flip phone. Spending too much time on her phone and looking at social media is “really bad for me,” she said.
“I found a slightly ’90s, Matrix-y flip phone,” Cameron said. “I have a separate number for that, it’s really cheap and I think it’s really bad.”
Cameron said he had pulled out and switched because he found his presence on the social network “misleading”. Sense prevails Among Gen Zers – and his impact has been linked to adolescent mental health crisis.
In 2012, smartphones and social media are more common rate of depression among teenagersPsychologists say. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, rates of adolescent depression nearly doubled between 2004 and 2019.
Sammy Palazzolo, 18, a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has a new routine with his phone when he goes out with friends at night.
He and his friends listen to the latest music on their smart phones as they get ready. Then when it’s time to leave, they leave those smart devices behind.
Instead, they communicate with each other throughout the night only through their flip phones, which they take pictures of, albeit with a now primitive camera. Their devices are a great conversation starter.
“In person, people are going to say, ‘Oh my God, is that a flip phone?'” Palazzolo said. “We get to talk to new people, meet some people, and everyone loves it.”
Reagan Boeder, 18, said she tries to get her sorority sisters involved in the trend.
“I think people are going to go out with flip phones more and more because it’s so fun and nostalgic and honestly the vibe” Boeder said.
Before switching phones, Palazzolo found that her nights on a college campus often ended in tears over an unpleasant incident. post on social media or in a text from the past “mainly because of our phones”.
ace grape technology started to come back, they found an unconventional solution.
In December, he and three friends went to a local Walmart. From deciding which model to buy to finding the right phone plan, the process was unfamiliar to 18-year-olds. Four hours later, Palazzolo bought an AT&T Flex for $49.99; friends got cheaper models for $19.99 through Tracphone.
Palazzolo TikTok encouraging others to buy flip phones has over 14 million views and over 3 million likes with hashtags including #BRINGBACKFLIPPHONES and #y2kaesthetic.
“It takes away all the bad things about college and brings all the good things about the phone,” Palazzolo said. “It’s about connecting with people and taking photos and videos. Photos and videos about it are fire.”
HMD Global, an exclusive licensee of Nokia, said Gen Z is an unusual demographic for the company. Both companies are based in Finland.
“This is a generation that didn’t have a Nokia as their first phone and most likely discovered our brand through social media,” said Jackie Kates, head of marketing at HMD Global.
Gen Z is used to the many functions that come with smartphones, from numerous applications such as Instagram, Find My Friends or GPS. But there are also security concerns associated with relying on these simple devices. Without the “Find Me” tracking feature, Palozzolo said he stayed close with his friends and used the buddy system to keep track of who was where.
Palozzolo wanted to use a flip phone one summer in high school because he thought it would be “cool.” “My parents said no, we should be able to watch you,” she said.
Palazzolo is no stranger to “vintage” technology—he’s been bringing a digital camera to parties since his sophomore year in high school.
While Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro has a 48-megapixel camera, it misses out on the delayed gratification of waiting for images to be processed or downloaded to a computer. Popular programs like Hisptamatic and Dazz Cam recreate digital and film camera photos and have thousands of downloads.
It is predicted that there will be a disposable camera market grow up $1.23 billion by 2030. Celebrities like TikTokker Charlie D’Amelio and model Emily Ratajkowski They jumped on the digital camera trend of the 2000s.
“I love photos on flip phones because they’re grainy and blurry,” Palazzolo said. “And I think it perfectly captures the vibe of being in college.”
Perhaps one reason Gen Z yearns for the 1990s and 2000s is the lack of privacy and carefully curated images. This is social media at its most casual – photo dumps with candid photos and BeReala popular app that asks its users to take a real-time selfie once a day and post it within two minutes.
“I never want to be the person on their phone,” Boeder said. “Having a flip phone made it even more possible.”
Back then, “people were more connected to each other than our phones and social media,” Boeder said. “It seemed like people were talking to each other more and everything was more authentic and spontaneous.”
HMD Global said that many people like the idea of being less available.
“We attribute this shift to many smartphone users realizing they spend too much time on their devices and wanting to disconnect and be ‘fully present’ to improve the quality of their social connections,” Kates said.
And yes, new Nokia flip phones are still available – the Nokia 2760 Flip is available at Walmart for $19.99 from prepaid brands like Verizon. The 2780 can be found at Amazon and Best Buy for $89.99.
International Data Corporation in 2022 he said is the market for foldable phones It was expected to reach $29 billion in 2025 – a 70% compound annual growth rate. Samsung has shipped more than 10 million units since the launch of the first-generation model, accounting 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, while the Galaxy Z Flip4 starts at $999.99.
“Samsung chose to bet on its foldable smartphones; The decision-maker is far ahead of its competitors in the number and sales of foldable smartphones,” said Zucker Lee, the company’s chief analyst. today mobile devices team.
Omdia attributed the high price of Samsung foldable phones to poor sales of its previous models, but sales “increased rapidly” tone 9 million units in 2021, 309% more than the year.
However, Apple need not worry – Omdia expects foldable phones to account for 3.6% of the overall smartphone market by 2026. For comparison, Apple’s market share is more than half of the entire smartphone market.
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