Paying for Apps: The Difference Between Millennials and Generation Z

Millennials and Generation Z App Usage

Generational differences have always been a hot topic. A few years ago, Millennials were at the center of this attention. Today, however, the spotlight is gradually shifting to those born after 1996—Generation Z. To older generations, Millenials and Gen Z can seem basically the same.  As always, however, the devil is in the details. What makes these two groups similar and how can we spot the differences?

As it turns out, one of the biggest differences between Millennials and Generation Z is related to money. Namely, how representatives of these two generations value, spend, and save their dollars.

Intrigued, we decided to ask StopAd users—many of whom represent one of the two generations—about what influences their purchasing decisions and what factors they usually consider before buying apps.

Here’s what we found out.

Both Millennials and Generation Z Willingly Pay for Apps

Unlike Generation X and Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation Z have been raised in a highly technological environment. Consequently, they feel perfectly fine paying for what they can’t physically see and touch—software, apps, cloud storage, etc. They do understand that IT products require resources to be developed and supported, which is not always the case with older people.

Given that Millennials already make the largest and most powerful consumer group on the market (and Generation Z is obviously the next in turn), software and app companies can sleep with a peaceful mind: there are millions of people willing to pay for what they create.

Millennials Are Brand-Loyal, Generation Z Easily Switch from Brand-to-Brand

We have good news for brands: if Millennials have chosen you and stayed with you for a while, chances are high they will remain loyal for years. There is some bad news though: Generation Z is not the same. Unlike Millennials who don’t switch from brand-to-brand given half a chance, Generation Z preferences can change in a heartbeat. If your app is one of the most used apps by Millennials, you can relax. If your app is considered one of top Gen Z apps, prioritize

surprising and delighting your Generation Z customers; otherwise, he or she will quickly find an alternative. Or two. Or even three.

Generation Z doesn’t get too attached to things they own or the software and apps they use. For instance, they might be completely satisfied with the image editor they use now, but it will never stop them from trying out another five different apps. Millennials, in their turn, will need a significant reason to switch from one app to another.

Hilariously, both Millennials and Generation Z say they may delete an app simply because its icon is ugly or don’t match with other icons on a home screen.

Millennials Pay for Apps that Help Make or Save Money, Generation Z Pays for Whatever They Like

Another interesting learning is about the kinds of apps Millennials and Generation Z are ready to pay for. As our own surveys as well as multiple researchers confirm, Millennials are more likely to buy apps that can in some way help them save or make money. This includes budget planners, ad-blockers, etc.

Younger Gen Z users are more likely to invest in entertainment. Without much hesitation, they pay for image editors, games, and whatever they find interesting or funny.

Both Millennials and Generation Z Have High Expectations and Demands


One more thing Millennials and Generation Z have in common is that once they pay, they expect to get a lot for their money. This can be explained by the fact that whatever app is purchased, there are usually a few alternatives that are completely free. Understandably, when people choose the one that costs money, they expect it to be much better than free alternatives.

If for some reason high expectations are not met, the reaction of Millennials and Generation Z won’t be the same. While Millennials tend to give brands a second chance, Gen Zs will most likely switch to another brand and never look back.

Millennials Believe in Brands, Generation Zs Believe in High-Quality Products and Services

Multiple surveys confirm that Millennials are more likely to buy something or pay for an app if it’s an already established brand. If by good fortune the values this brand promotes are close to a Millennial, that’s a perfect shortcut to a Millennial consumer’s heart.

Generation Z is different. In most cases, their purchasing decisions are not based on how popular a certain brand is. They will not overpay just because of a big name. If they like something, if it looks high-quality, and meets their needs—they’ll buy it. No matter if this product or service is offered by a no name company. Obviously, this is good news for aspiring brands and small companies.

Millennials and Generation Z have a lot in common, but they’re also distinct. Although both are tech-savvy and particular about quality, they have a varying level of financial skepticism. Millennials are highly concerned and even freaked out about their financial health, while the vast majority (or 89%) of Gen Zs are rather optimistic about their financial future.

Do you represent one of the two generations? If so, do you relate to our findings? Which of them are true for you?