Have we reached Peak Astrology?
There’s a myriad of astrology apps crowding Apple and Android’s respective app stores. There are the apps that provide screenshot-worthy notifications, like Co—Star and The Pattern. If you want to find love, there are astrology dating apps. I’ve tried myself, but there’s also the pastel Gen Z-branded . For wisdom from prominent astrologers, try mainstay Susan Miller’s app or the newer from Chani Nicholas.
In terms of mobile apps, astrology may be an overly saturated market in 2021. Last year saw a dive in the number of astrology-themed apps that were added to Apple and Android’s stores. From 2016 through 2019, an average of 265 apps with “astrology” in their title or description were added to Apple’s App Store according to data from Adam Blacker, VP of Apptopia. In 2020, only 97 such apps were added. From 2016 to 2019 the average number of apps added to Android was 1,557; that number dropped to 930 in 2020.
So is this a signal that this astro “bubble” of sorts is going to burst? For trend experts and astrologers, the answer is no. Not even close.
Astrology has exploded in the mainstream in the last few years, something that both and touched upon in 2018 and 2019. Both cited the era of uncertainty and disillusionment as reasons for this resurgence, at least in part.
And that was before COVID.
The pandemic made uncertainty an every day occurrence in a way we’ve never seen before. Astrology, as a result, has thrived.
The pandemic made uncertainty an every day occurrence in a way we’ve never seen before. Astrology, as a result, has thrived. “At a time when uncertain consumers are seeking a more mindful retail experience that engages mind, body and soul, activations around spirituality and all things celestial hold lots of appeal,” said Laura Saunter, senior insight strategist at trend forecasting company .
There’s a certain comfort in relinquishing control to planetary beings. Astrology helps explain what we can’t — or at least shifts some of the responsibility. Saunter continued, “Increased awareness of events like Mercury in retrograde is also causing a spike in consumers looking to the stars to seek comfort and assurance during the supposedly turbulent period, often finding it an easy way to ‘blame’ the universe for any kind of mishaps or pitfalls they might face.”
We’re all looking for answers, especially young people. Jayne Charneski, consumer and audience expert and founder of , said she sees the astrology boom largely driven by Gen Z as well as millennials to some extent. Members of Gen Z were not only born and raised during a time of and a , they’re also , to say the least.
“That generation, I’ve been seeing increasingly turning to anything that really helps them make sense of the world,” said Charneski.
Charneski, who has interviewed thousands of young adults, also believes they’re a generation that wants the world to be a better place — and that they want to start with themselves.
“Their approach to wellness is so different and so personalized, so tech-oriented,” said Charneski. “I think astrology fits into that bucket of wellness.”
The overall wellness boon is another factor in this astrology increase. Even before the pandemic, the . “Self-care” had already entered our lexicon and been wanting to sell us rejuvenation and chill. Now, practically a year into a global crisis? The has only grown.
Saunter said the emergence of spirituality — and, as part of that, astrology — is a byproduct of the wellness industry’s rise. in line with Charneski’s musings on Gen Z, Saunter said today’s youth are looking at alternative solutions to overcome their fears in the face of the pandemic, not to mention other political and social strife and the climate crisis.
Millennials get in on the fun, too: “Astrology-themed collections, themed ranges and merchandising categories tap into this newfound interest while also helping burnt-out, time-poor Millennials to make easier, quicker choices that align with spiritual leanings,” said Saunter.
Of course, people have been interested in astrology and horoscopes for eons. What’s changed is technological innovation. “Interest was always there and technology is just making it spread into other things” like apps, said Charneski.
Astrologer , author of the upcoming , pointed out that astrology apps aren’t astrologers. In their work, Kat offers consultations with clients; they haven’t seen apps do that. “It’s a little bit like counseling, you’re interpreting your chart in collaboration,” they said. “It’s not something I see apps trying to replicate.”
The astrology market may be more saturated year after year, but it’s not going to go away soon — especially not post-pandemic. We’re in a fury of uncertainty now, but that won’t exactly change when the COVID vaccine is widely available. If anything, we’re hurtling toward even greater unknowns, which could bolster astrology’s appeal even more.
In the past year, we’ve all changed and been challenged. We’ve seen the shadows in ourselves and others, and no one can predict what the other side of the pandemic looks like. “No one knows what life is like here on out,” said Charneski. “We’re all emerging from this as different people.”
This leads Charneski to believe that astrology is here to stay.
Kat compared the astrology community to fandoms, or fan communities. Sometimes interest wanes, other times it holds constant. Just as in fandoms, what happens to astrology depends on the people within the community. “Whether astrology is going to stay as a subculture just depends on the community,” they said. Like Charneski, however, they don’t think interest will wane.
Saunter, however, fears we currently risk reaching “Peak Zodiac,” citing brands selling perfume horoscopes and telling consumers what to buy during Mercury retrograde as examples.
The future of astrology, Saunter predicts, will converge with the trend of DNA personalization. DNA testing is such as beauty, food, and hospitality, so it’s not a stretch that it’ll permeate others. “The rise of data-driven intimacy, coupled with growing interest in health and extending lifespans, will see a rise in demand for curated selections based on DNA profiles, extending outside of diets to beauty, skincare, wellness and even fashion,” said Saunter.
Regardless of whether a genetic element of astrology comes to fruition, it’s safe to say the practice itself isn’t going anywhere. While developers may have cooled off on generating more apps, outside forces like the pandemic have practically assured astrology will remain popular. If you don’t believe me, you can check with the stars.