(WBBM NEWSRADIO) – Members of Generation Z and people from other demographics are increasingly using retro-style cell phones – sometimes referred to as “dumbphones” – in hopes of tuning out social media and other distractions.
Some Gen Z members are seeking refuge in lower-tech devices as a strategy to distance themselves from all the chatter online, says Jennifer Jolly, USA tech columnist and founder of Techish.
"A lot of the people within that group are calling them 'weekender phones.' So, they use their smart phones during the week but transfer over to a phone that makes calls, texts, maybe does voice memos, on the weekend," Jolly said.
Other groups using the retro phones include the 60-and-over crowd and parents "trying to find a smarter choice for their kids" that are not connected to social media, she said.
The re-emergence of dumphones started about five years ago, she said, when some Nokia models were adopting nostalgic features. Jolly said there has been a 48 percent market uptick since 2021, mostly overseas.
“But we’re seeing a big shift in a contingency of young people in the United States reverting back to these minimalist phones as well,” she said.