Our tribes’ social universe

As the apps market continues to become more saturated, it’s clear that Tribes are continuing to add to their already existing expansive list of apps. Amongst the apps that Tribes make use of, it’s clear that these programmes are used based on four needs that our Tribes experience; the manifestation of which is not limited to the use of apps but are still important nonetheless.These needs remain true across all ages but become either more or less prevalent as Tribes progress through their lives.

  1. SOCIAL CONNECTION – the need to interact with friends and family
  2. ENTERTAINMENT – the need to boost the mood or regulate energy levels
  3. HEALTH & WELLBEING – the need to look after yourself, ranging from managing finances to mindfulness
  4. EDUCATION – the need to expand individual skillset and learn more about the world

social networking apps still dominate, echoing tribes’ preference for intimate and in-the-moment conversations

Naturally social networking apps still play a prominent role in our Tribe’s day-to-day communications; they are still viewed as fab communication tools!

Facebook is still around but is no longer seen as the essential must-have app that it once was, with very few Tribes mentioning it as their favourite app. According to eMarketer, in 2018 2.2 million 12 to 17 year-olds and 4.5 million 18 to 24 year-olds in the UK will regularly use Facebook, 700,000 fewer than in 2017, as young adults turn to services such as Snapchat1.

Despite Facebook appearing on the majority of our Tribes’ phone screens, Tribes no longer see it as an app that brings them closer to the people who matter to them. This highlights how messaging services are evolving and bring different modes of communication into play that tap into Tribes need for social connection via real time photo or video sharing.

“WhatsApp because it’s simple and I like having long detailed conversations on it.”

– Sadia, F, 16


The majority of Tribes mentioned Snapchat as a popular and frequently used messaging service. One of the biggest drivers of Snapchat is the entertainment value that it brings with the multiple fun filters, story and discovery features. Snapchat is also known for being an app that supports the mundane everyday conversations among close friends and ties in with their values of living in the present moment thanks to the auto-deletion function. In a study carried out in the US by Cornell University’s Social Media Lab, being able to auto-delete snaps provided snaps with ephemerality that elevates the user experience while preventing embarrassing outcomes in the future2.

Despite Tribes regular usage of the app, Snapchat’s latest update was considered a major flop when Tribes were left disappointed by the new redesign; jamming Stories in between private messages disrupted the user experience with a new layout that didn’t add any new functionality. Note to the app world, you don’t need to make a drastic change with every update you develop!

 “Twitter and snapchat are the two apps which keep me up to date with all my friends but also celebrities which I want to follow. I like photos because I’m very nostalgic and I really enjoy looking through my memories”

– 1Debbie, F, 19, Mainstream, Pop:Socials

Snapchat: one of my faves because it doesn’t take a lot of effort to upload stuff and most people post stuff that’s going on in real time so nothing is photoshopped or edited out. I love features that they have such as filters and stickers.”

Jona , F, 17, Aspirant, Solo:Selectives

Snapchat is no longer in my top 3 as their latest update changed the layout and the way users’ content is seen and discovered on the app.”

PreciousC, F, 18

entertainment: vod services

When it comes to VOD services, it’s important to have the latest content at your fingertips; Tribes pay close attention to these services so that they can stay in the know. A minority of Tribes use the All4 app and commented on certain functionalities such as the ‘My List’ function that allows users to receive a notification when a new episode appears making the app feel more personalised. They preferred using All4 and BBC iPlayer on their iPads due to the nature of being able to watch shows on larger screens, but quick bursts of entertainment were generally watched on their mobiles while in bed!

“I like that All4 has the My List option and as new episodes appear I get a notification when I log into the app”

j.webster, F, 22, Aspirant, Short:Snaps

“I’ve been loving YouTube on my phone as I don’t have to get out of bed to get my laptop in the mornings.”

– FionaM456, F, 20, Mainstream, Short:Snaps

Other entertainment services like Netflix and Showbox were popular among Tribes, especially for those long train journeys when travelling to and from school or uni. The subscription packages provides them with the option to download videos offline so that they can watch it whenever, wherever they please, as data often comes at a hefty price. The only caveat with subscription packages is that some Tribes disagreed with the setup that having to pay for a service while being subjected to watch advertisements was somewhat over-stepping the line.

“Netflix is good but I do not like the new advertisement system. They have started showing clips from their other shows before you can watch what you want to, nowtv and prime video do this to and I hate it. When you pay for a service you shouldn’t have to sit through adverts for other shows that you have no interest in. Its very annoying. BBCiPlayer is good, I mostly use it on my xbox but I sometimes use it on the go too. It’s good for catching up on specific episodes but I don’t want full series on it like I would the other apps. Netflix is okay with shows but is lagging behind nowtv in how new everything is and how quickly new seasons are added.”

– FionaM456, F, 20, Mainstream, Short:Snaps


Games are still one of the best means for Tribes to switch off and relax when they feel like killing time. Not only is it a great way to have fun but these apps also bring Tribes closer to their friends where playing games online makes them feel more connected to friends and family they already know.

“Words with friends 2 – good way to feel in touch with friends and family who you don’t see much and gives you something to talk about, also just enjoy playing games.”

 njs99, F, 23, Mainstream, Short:Snaps

entertainment: music

Music plays an integral role in managing the Tribes moods to help them work through and communicate different emotions. Spotify was the most popular app seen on the Tribe’s battery usage. Spotify’s investment in curation and personalisation has seen it grow in popularity among Tribes who seek to discover the ‘new’ with minimal effort. Thanks to its expert algorithms, Spotify’s playlists have become the window to new music that users are keen to hear!

A minority of the Tribes also mentioned Soundcloud, Tubidy as well as podcasts that capture their attention.

“Castbox (I listen to podcasts a lot. So Castbox is good?) aaaaandsoundcloud (When I’m doing work I like to listen to mixes, one because I’m not in control of the songs but also because it allows me to time how much work I’ve done).”

Naomiepriscilla, F, 18

“My top three apps are Spotify, PayPal and depop– Spotify because (due to me purchasing premium) it allows me to download music so I can listen to it offline so therefore it doesn’t use any mobile data, and I listen to music pretty much constantly so this is a key app for me.” 

robyn.oc, F, 16


The generation of Tribes place real importance on all elements of wellbeing, from physical, to mental and emotional. Activities such as working out, yoga and meditation have increased in popularity in the last five years and show no sign of diminishing.

Generation Z are facing a multitude of challenges during their young adult years and some turn to apps to alleviate some of the stress they experience. Although mental health apps are relatively new in the market, there is a growing number of people relying on them to help them through depression and anxiety.

“Down Dog, because it is just so nice and simple to get a variety of yoga sessions whenever you want them.”

– Ruby, F, 23, Alternative, Pop:Socials

“An app which I downloaded recently was headspace, which is a mindfulness app and it has really helped with my anxiety and insomnia issues, there is a sleep exercise which helps me fall asleep every night, it’s fantastic.”

OliviaH, F, 20


For the majority of young people, the late teenage years and early adulthood are times of transition and change. Tribes know that their future is characterised by uncertainty but are using the resources they have and taking control of their spending habits with money saving apps that allow them to budget, save and track their finances. There is a growing awareness that having a regular income and access to savings is really important as a means to security and opportunity.

Tribes still enjoy shopping and eating out where Depop, Uber Eats and Deliveroo are extremely popular among this age demographic but compared to previous research carried out in 2017, Tribes are starting to budget and generate savings via new means.

Tribes are very rewards orientated and love winning some prize money or receiving offers on their favourite items. Certain apps like Trivia HQ tap into the quick-win mindset where the trivia quiz show dishes out monetary rewards for free. However other services like Paypal, Yolt and Chip have identified an underlying need for Tribes to save and organise their finances, which indicates that Tribes are leveraging various apps available in a bid to be more financially savvy (either through saving or earning money).

“I recently downloaded the Sweatcoin app, this app converts my steps into sweat coins which I can use to buy offers/rewards and free services. I wouldn’t call it hot but definitely underrated as I had never even heard of it until a friend sent me an invite link. However the app has proven to be beneficial. Using it on a daily basis optimises the amount of steps that is recorded on the phone and app.”

– Precious C. ,F, 18

“My newest fave app is Yolt! It combines by 2 bank account apps and allows me to tag certain transactions into groups e.g. travel or groceries vs income, so I can start seeing exactly what I’m spending my money on each month! I’m trying to save for a house next year so I’m hoping this helps! It’s been really easy to use so far (I will whatsapp photos!)”

j.webster, F, 22, Aspirant, Short:Snaps

Landing into the fires of a post-financial crisis world and a world dominated by social media, Tribes have lost some of the naivety of previous generations of teens and equip themselves by using all the resources they can to create a more stable future for themselves.


Although YouTube can be seen as a provider of endless entertainment, it’s interesting to look at the impact that YouTube has had on our Tribes’ skills. While millennials have long enjoyed the benefits of YouTube content when they were in their teens – this generation view YouTube as a platform that contains actionable, educational information (that’s completely free!), encouraging them to give new skills a try.

As the world becomes more globalised, Tribes recognise that knowing more than one language gives them both an advantage over their peers as well as an opportunity to immerse themselves in other cultures. The language-learning app Duolingo, appeared on more than a few screens, demonstrating their innate curiosity to understand the wider world. Whilst self-discovery happens on a daily basis another way that many of our teens aim to continue this journey is via travel.

“YouTube is basically good for procrastinating and entertainment when you’re waiting for a train or something. I love video essays and fact based videos, and they really help the time go faster.”

– Chloe835, F, 21, Leading edge, Short:Snaps

“Duolingo, because it has a nice and fun range of ways for me to continue my French learning.”

– Ruby, F, 23, Alternative, Pop:Socials


 “I recently downloaded HQ Trivia, which is an app that hosts live quizzes every day, where you can win real money – a friend recommended it to me, and I enjoy the adrenaline and zero-risk nature of it.”

– Eve L

“I would have to say that it would need to be Monzo – I decided to take the plunge with it and I have to say that I have never looked back – Its defiantly a hot app. It gives you instant notifications on your spending which means you can see how much you just spent on a coffee or just to see how much you have spent shopping. The app is super easy to use and contains a lot of info all in one place. Its the bank of the future!”


“My 3 favourite apps just now are HUJI the photo app that makes everything look like it was taken on a disposable camera which is super cute. Instagram because it’s a classic and Duolingo because I’m trying to learn Italian again!”


“Top 3 favourite apps: Netflix – my absolute life saver when commuting, Instagram – my go to browse, Youtube – probably one of my most frequently used. The last app I downloaded was the tamagotchi app, I bloody loved tamagotchis but after having it for 5 mins I deleted it cause I just knew it wasn’t the genuine experience I was looking for, ah well”

– Holly-Mae

“Fave apps are probably insta, whatsapp and snow! Insta and Whatsapp for keeping in touch with my friends, and insta for keeping track of fandoms and TV shows and stuff (also cool photographers). Snow for the filters and awesome background filters. Spellmania, spelling game for boring train rides. Tbh it’s better than I thought it’d be, not hot but waayyyy away from being a flop!” 


“Main apps I use screenshot below, 3 favourite apps atm: Guns of Boom (fun online FPS game), eBay (bargains for the stuff I want), Family Guy Quest For Stuff (fun game)”

– Mav544

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