A few days before Christmas I went to a bookstore and was impressed that most products highlighted at the front were mostly from the past. Yo-yos and books about yo-yos, old games, Ancient games etc.
Anyone knows that products get re-launched from time to time but we are seeing a major revival of products from the past. Why is that happening?
One might argue it is due to the large number of baby boomers. That is partially true. In an age where anxiety and frustration is high in the population, where people in a mall start running when they hear a noise, already thinking that some type of attack might be happening,when we spend more time feeding fear than feeling empowered, we as a society seek comfort in the past, in things to which we had an emotional connection and a time when we felt safe. A place and time were we knew how to navigate. The brain re-lives those moments and that empower us to move forward, to keep going.
It also validates our social identity and reinforce our values and the value we put into things.
I call this trend Nostalgia Wave
But this trend is not exclusive to baby boomers. It reaches millennials as well.
You can find evidence in the sheer number of vinyl records sold in 2016. A 28 year high. A industry that brought $416 million in sales. A vinyl record today is not something cheap either. During my teenager years I could get one for $10 bucks. Now, on average an album costs $40.
New vinyl records are released every day not only from old bands like the Monkees but from new artists like Justin Bieber.
Why, with all the technology available and clear sound would people go buy vinyl labels? When you can hear music from any device anywhere, you choose a media that needs a physical player? Because now we live in an age where most things are filtered in social media, where you add a selfie smiling and having fun when you are really feeling frustrated and bored. You do that and know others do too. Where do you anchor what is real? You listen to a vinyl record and they are not perfect. You can relate to that and lets face it, it makes it unique. Records have hisses and cracks, they are raw and this generation longs for real, for flaws. These records add texture to the experience.
Everything we have access today seems to be free and shareable. With a record you have a tactile experience. You can smell, open the wrapper, choose and turn to the side you want. It is a total different and real experience.
You can have a million songs in your device but that is not the same as collecting them. With vinyl records, you are a collector. Collecting is part of our nature. We like to collect what we value.
Then there is the spectacular revival of instant cameras during 2016 Christmas. Bought by Millennials like no other gear. They are not as expensive as they used to be and no, you don’t have to shake the paper for the photo to appear.
Why are Millennials so attracted to these cameras?
Because you can touch. Yes, touch and keep. Here is the tactile experience this generation longs for all the time. In this digital age, everything is somewhere, in some device or cloud. Sometimes is hard to find, sometimes it seems like it doesn’t belong to us as individuals. A printed photo is a very special moment that you want to keep and show. All other moments can go on your phone. Not the special ones, shared with special ones and that you can touch, feel and put in a special place.
This is just like before if you are a boomer but it is a new feeling if you are a Millennial and it is a good feeling. A very special memory, captured in an instant with a paper proof to keep. You can touch, look and feel that moment with your hands.
The nostalgia wave will be here for a while. Because it create peace, lowers anxiety, puts us in a safe place and give some of us a new experience.
Businesses that understand this trend can incorporate some of these aspects and give the consumer a different experience.