Millennials’ Most Essential Mobile App? It’s Not A Social One.

September 1, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Demographics & Audiences | Digital | Email | Mobile Phone | Social Media | Tablet | Youth & Gen X

The mobile application that Millennials (18-34) are most likely to say they can’t go without isn’t Snapchat or Instagram. Not even close. In fact, it’s Amazon, according to a report from comScore [download page]. Indeed, more than one-third (35%) of 18-34-year-olds surveyed for comScore’s study indicated that Amazon is one of their top-3 “most essential” apps.

That’s despite Amazon not even appearing in the top 10 apps by unique visitors among 18-24 or 25-34-year-olds.

The result is one of several surprising findings for this demographic.

While one might expect that social apps would figure prominently, the second-most “essential” app is actually Gmail (30%). And the social app that Gmail nudged for the second spot is also a fairly unlikely one, given recent reports: Facebook (29%).

Facebook’s continued popularity with the 18-34 group is likely due more to older than younger Millennials: recent estimates from eMarketer suggest that 18-24-year-olds are now using Snapchat more than Facebook, and Piper Jaffray survey results indicate that Facebook’s popularity wanes among younger Americans.

As for Snapchat? It’s not even on the list of 18-34-year-olds’ top 10 “most essential” apps, per comScore’s report. This again may be due to its heavy youth skew, although that has changed quite dramatically in the past year or so as more older adults join the platform.

Meanwhile, Instagram, another youth favorite, sneaks in as the 10th “most essential” app.

What’s interesting to note is that messaging apps are as well-represented in Millennials’ top 10 as social networking apps: Facebook Messenger takes the 4th spot (18%), while WhatsApp is in the 9th spot (11%). (That’s excluding YouTube, which is in fifth.)

Google Owns 3 of Adults’ 5 Most Essential Apps

Looking at survey results for all adults, Facebook comes out on top as the most essential app, cited by 37% of respondents.

Notably, Google is very well placed: Gmail comes in second (34%), while Google Maps is 4th on the list (24%) and Google Search 5th.

The degree to which these apps are considered “essential” differs quite significantly by age group.

For example, considerably more 35-54-year-olds name Facebook their “most essential” app (45%) than do 18-34-year-olds (29%).

And while Google Search is the “most essential” for only 11% of 18-34-year-olds, it’s the top of the list for the 55+ bracket, cited by almost 4 times as many (39%).

Top-Indexing Apps, by Generation

Different age groups also gravitate to different apps, with social and entertainment apps more appealing to younger groups and news apps more so to older adults.

In its analysis of the top 50 apps by unique visitors in each age segment, comScore reveals that the top-indexing apps are:


  • iFunny (361)
  • GroupMe (301)
  • SoundCloud (300)


  • Venmo (199)
  • Shazam (165)
  • Tinder (161)


  • Checkout 51 (138)
  • iHeartRadio (134)
  • Walmart (128)


  • Fox News (219)
  • Solitaire by Mobilityware (174)
  • Verizon Cloud (147)

The full report is available for download here.


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