New apps offer recommendations from one's friends

Young consumers are feeling overwhelmed by the number of options available in any one category and want help navigating the vast selection to ease their decision making. Rather than assessing choices on their own and reading reviews from strangers, new apps offer more curated recommendations from people they know and trust.


Deciding what to watch and eat is made easier thanks to The Spoke, an app that relies on user recommendations, particularly ones that others choose to follow. Users can search for movies and TV shows across the streaming services they use, such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO Now, and for bars and restaurants by location. The Spoke creates weighted scores based on recommendations from friends and other users, with more weight given to the preferences of one’s connections. As young adults consider it especially important to have similar taste as their friends in TV shows/movies and food/restaurants, the app leverages this to offer options they know they'll like.


Seven in 10 young adults aged 14-34 are more likely to buy a product/service if a friend endorses/promotes it, as found in our Social Status Report. The Bill Gates-funded app Likewise makes it easy for people to get recommendations from friends by gathering this information in one place. Users provide suggestions for TV shows, movies, books, restaurants, and travel destinations; they can also create themed lists in each category. People can follow their friends to see their updates, as well as search by category and put out requests for suggestions.


The app MASSE brings word of mouth recommendations into a digital, shoppable space, aiming to make people feel more confident in their purchasing decisions by collecting recommendations from people in their network, who are more trustworthy than influencers since they aren’t paid by brands. Users first create a profile and ask for recommendations in different product categories, including fashion, beauty, and home. Their connections respond with an item in MASSE’s catalogue of products, sourced from brands including Jet and Sephora, or they can provide recommendations from brands outside those in the app. Alternatively, users can browse what’s popular among their connections.