First, they were disposable cameras. Then it was the low-rise jeans. Now, Gen-Z’s latest “old fashioned” obsession is the foldable phone — that phone from the mid-’90s that’s suddenly super popular among millennials.
Today, these smaller, lightweight devices — some available for under $20 at big box retailers like Walmart and Amazon — appear in TikTok videos of young adults unboxing, dazzling with their cases just as previous generations did, and filming tutorials on achieving their aesthetic. Carefree blur by low quality camera.
But most importantly, they love being able to separate — or as much as possible in 2023.
Singer Camila Cabello tweeted Thursday, “I’m Team Phone Revolution.”And classic. “Maybe I can write the theme song.”
Actress Dove Cameron, best known on the Disney Channel show “Liv and Maddie,” said in November interview It turned into a foldable phone. She said that spending so much time on her phone and looking at social media “is really bad for me.”
“I found a little ’90s Matrix-y flip phone,” Cameron said. “I got a separate number for that, it’s really cheap and I think it’s really very likely.”
Cameron said she unplugged and switched because she found her social media presence “misleading”. The feeling prevails Between Gen Xers – and what its The effect has been linked to an adolescent mental health crisis.
As smartphones and social media became more ubiquitous in 2012, so did rate of depression among adolescentsPsychologists say. Between 2004 and 2019 the rate of teen depression nearly doubled, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Sami Palazzolo, 18, a student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, has a new routine with her phone when she’s out at night with friends.
She and her friends listen to the latest music on their smartphones while they get ready. Then, when it’s time to leave, they leave those smart devices behind.
Instead, they communicate with each other only through their fold-out phones all night, snapping pictures on them though the now rudimentary camera. Their devices are a great conversation starter.
“At parties, people will say, ‘Oh my God, is this a foldable phone?'” Palazzolo said. “We’ll talk to some new people, meet some people, and everyone loves it.”
Regan Boeder, 18, said she’s trying to entice her sorority sisters into the trend.
“I think people are going to get more and more outgoing with foldable phones just because they’re so fun and nostalgic and honestly have a great vibe,” Boder said.
Before switching phones, Palazzolo found that her nights in her college town often ended in tears brought on by something unwelcome. A post on social media or a text from an ex says, “The root cause was from our phones.”
like old technology Starting back, they came up with an unorthodox solution.
In December, she and three friends went to the local Walmart. This process was unfamiliar to 18-year-olds, from which model to buy to finding the right phone plan. Four hours later, Palazzolo bought an AT&T Flex for $49.99; Her friends got cheaper models for $19.99 through Tracphone.
Palazzolo Tik Tok Encouraging others to buy foldable phones has racked up over 14 million views and over 3 million likes, with hashtags including #BRINGBACKFLIPPHONES and #y2kaesthetic.
“It eliminates all the bad things about the university and brings all the good things about the phone,” said Palazzolo. “It is communicating with people and taking pictures and videos. Pictures and videos are on fire.”
Gen Z is an unusual demographic for the company, said HMD Global who is the exclusive licensor to Nokia. Both companies are based in Finland.
“It’s a generation that didn’t have a Nokia phone as their first phone, and it’s likely that they discovered our brand through social networks,” said Jackie Cates, Head of Marketing, HMD Global.
Gen Z is used to many of the features that come with smartphones, from its many apps like Instagram, Find My Friends, or GPS. But there are also safety concerns that come with relying on these simple devices. Without the Find My tracking feature, Palozulu said, she and her friends stick together and use the buddy system to track their whereabouts.
Palozzolo wanted to use the foldable phone during a 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” technology — she’s been bringing a digital camera to parties since her sophomore year of high school.
And while Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro has a 48MP camera, it misses the delayed gratification of waiting for photos to be developed or downloaded to your computer. Popular apps like “Hisptamatic” and “Dazz Cam” recreate digital camera photos and movies and have thousands of downloads.
The disposable camera market is expected grow $1.23 billion by 2030. Celebrities like TikTokker Charlie D’Amelio and model Time to challenge the contract they have on the transfer I jumped on the 2000’s era digital camera trend.
“I love the photos on foldable phones because they are grainy and blurry,” said Palazzolo. “And I think that captures the feeling of going out in college perfectly.”
Perhaps one of the reasons Gen Z is so nostalgic for the 90s and 2000s is privacy and the lack of carefully curated visuals. It’s social media at its most casual – candid photo pranks and be realisticOnce a day, a popular app asks its users to take a real-time selfie and post it within two minutes.
“I never want to be that person who’s only on their phone all the time,” Boder said. “Having a flip phone made that even more possible.”
At the time, “people were more engaged with each other than with our phones and social media,” Boeder said. “It seemed like people were talking to each other more and everything was more real and spontaneous.”
HMD Global said a lot of people like the idea of it being less available.
“We attribute this shift to many smartphone users beginning to realize that they spend too much time glued to their devices and have a strong desire to disconnect and ‘be there’ to improve the quality of their social connections,” said Kates.
And yes, new Nokia Flip phones are still available – the Nokia 2760 Flip sells at Walmart from prepaid brands like Verizon for $19.99. The 2780 can be found at Amazon and Best Buy for $89.99.
In 2022, International Data Corporation He said The foldable phone market It was expected to reach $29 billion in 2025 – a compound annual growth rate of 70%. Samsung has shipped more than 10 million units since the introduction of the first generation model, which accounts for more than 88% of the global foldable smartphone market as of 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 at $999.99.
Samsung has chosen to bet on its foldable smartphones; said Zacker Lee, principal analyst at omdia Mobile Team.
Omdia attributed the higher price of Samsung’s foldable phones to weak sales relative to its previous models, but sales “increased rapidly” to 9 million units in 2021, up 309% year-over-year.
However, Apple has nothing to worry about – Omdia predicts that by 2026, foldable phones will account for 3.6% of the total smartphone market. In comparison, Apple’s market share is more than half of the entire smartphone market.