Millennials and Gen Zers in the United States may not think the “laughing” emoji 😂 is cool anymore, but a majority of emoji users around the world disagree, according to a new study.
The “laugh out loud” 😂face is officially the world’s most popular emoji, according to researchers from Adobe (ADBE) who surveyed 7,000 users across the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea.
The “thumbs up” 👍 emoji came in second, followed by the “red heart” ❤️ emoji. The flirtatious “wink and kiss”😘 and “sad face with a tear” 😢 emojis respectively rounded out the top five.
The software maker on Thursday released the findings from its 2021 Global Emoji Trend Report ahead of World Emoji Day on Saturday.
Of course, TikTok users have had it out over the “laugh out loud” 😂 emoji, which Gen Zers argued is cliché and uncool.
“I use everything but the laughing emoji,” 21-year-old Walid Mohammed told CNN Business earlier this year. “I stopped using it a while back because I saw older people using it, like my mom, my older siblings and just older people in general.”
Adobe’s latest Emoji Trend report also examined the three most misunderstood emojis in the world. The “eggplant” 🍆 symbol edged out the “peach” 🍑 and the “clown” 🤡 emojis respectively as the most confusing for users.
The vast majority of emoji users (90%) believe the modern-day hieroglyphs make it easier for them to express themselves. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said emojis simplify communicating across language barriers. And 67% said they think people who use emojis are friendlier, funnier and cooler than those who don’t.
A slight majority of respondents said they are more comfortable expressing emotions through emojis than talking on the phone or in-person. More than half of global emoji users (55%) said using emojis in communications has positively impacted their mental health.
Seventy-six percent of those surveyed said emojis are an important communication tool for creating unity, respect and understanding. And 88% said they feel more empathetic toward people who use emojis.
“I am encouraged by this particular statistic,” Adobe typeface designer and font developer Paul D. Hunt wrote in a blog post about the study. “Emoji sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.”